U.S. races

Both par­ties bring out big names to woo vot­ers.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOHN WAG­NER

Lu­mi­nar­ies from both ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties hit the cam­paign trail Satur­day in a late push to drive up turnout for Tues­day’s midterm elec­tions in key bat­tle­grounds that will de­ter­mine con­trol of Congress and dozens of gov­er­nor­ships.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den is­sued du­el­ing warn­ings about the dire con­se­quences of the other’s party emerg­ing with con­trol of Congress.

Ap­pear­ing in Ohio, Bi­den as­serted that Repub­li­cans want to strip in­sur­ance cov­er­age from peo­ple with pre­ex­ist­ing health con­di­tions and “evis­cer­ate” Medi­care and So­cial Se­cu­rity, two of the coun­try’s pop­u­lar en­ti­tle­ment pro­grams.

Bi­den also sought to frame the elec­tion as a ref­er­en­dum on Trump’s lead­er­ship, re­lay­ing that for­eign lead­ers with whom he con­tin­ues to speak have been taken aback by many of the pres­i­dent’s ac­tions.

“The very char­ac­ter of our coun­try is on the bal­lot on Tues­day,” Bi­den said in Parma Heights, Ohio, where he ap­peared along­side Demo­cratic Se­nate and gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates. “Folks, all the world’s look­ing.”

Ap­pear­ing in Mon­tana a few hours later, Trump as­serted that the real dan­ger would be a takeover of Congress by “rad­i­cal Democrats.”

“This elec­tion will de­cide whether we build on the ex­tra­or­di­nary pros­per­ity that we’ve achieved or whether we let the rad­i­cal Democrats take con­trol of Congress and take a gi­ant wreck­ing ball to our econ­omy and to the fu­ture of our na­tion,” Trump said.

Trump also ac­cused Demo­cratic lead­ers of push­ing for “so­cial­ist” health care and want­ing to “erase” U.S. borders and “in­vite car­a­van af­ter car­a­van” of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants into the coun­try.

A day af­ter ac­knowl­edg­ing that Repub­li­cans could lose the House on Tues­day, Trump largely fo­cused on Se­nate and gu­ber­na­to­rial races.

Democrats need to net 23 seats to take con­trol of the House, and they need to gain two seats to win the ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, where the map is more fa­vor­able to Repub­li­cans.

Trump’s ap­pear­ance in Mon­tana was his fourth on be­half of Repub­li­can Matt Rosendale, who is seek­ing to knock off Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Trump has trained his sights on Tester in part for his role in sink­ing Trump’s nom­i­na­tion of Ronny Jack­son to lead the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs in April. Tester, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the Se­nate Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, re­leased a list of al­le­ga­tions that cre­ated a por­trait of a long his­tory of pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct by Jack­son.

“I’ve never for­got­ten it, and hon­estly, it’s one of the rea­sons I’ve been here so much,” Trump told his crowd. “Jon Tester tried to ruin him.”

Dur­ing the rally, he also plugged the re-elec­tion of Rep. Greg Gian­forte, RMont., who gar­nered na­tional head­lines for as­sault­ing a re­porter last year. “He is fan­tas­tic,” Trump said of Gian­forte, adding that he is “very re­spected in Wash­ing­ton.”

Upon leav­ing Bel­grade, Mont., Trump was headed to an­other rally in Florida, which also has a mar­quee Se­nate race this year.

In Florida, Trump is also try­ing to

bol­ster the for­tunes of Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial hope­ful Ron DeSan­tis, a can­di­date he en­dorsed dur­ing the GOP pri­mary, who has been lag­ging in polls be­hind Demo­crat An­drew Gil­lum. If elected, Gil­lum would be the state’s first black gover­nor.

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, mean­while, was dis­patched to Wis­con­sin on Satur­day in a bid to help the re-elec­tion bid of em­bat­tled Gov. Scott Walker, and was to later join Trump in Florida.

“This race is as close as it can be. It’s a dead heat,” Pence told a crowd in Hud­son, Wis. “Ev­ery vote counts.”

The flurry of ac­tiv­ity came on the heels of high-pro­file ap­pear­ances Fri­day by for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Trump, who has urged sup­port­ers to act as though his name is on the bal­lot Tues­day. Obama plans to be back on the trail on Sun­day, seek­ing to give a boost to Democrats in In­di­ana.

Un­der­scor­ing Repub­li­can jit­ters about los­ing the House, a su­per PAC backed by House Repub­li­can lead­ers an­nounced Satur­day that it is com­ing to the aid of Rep. Don Young, RAlaska, who has rep­re­sented his state’s at-large con­gres­sional dis­trict since 1973.

The Con­gres­sional Lead­er­ship Fund said it would con­duct a “hyper-tar­geted” get-out-thevote ef­fort on Young’s be­half to re­lay the mes­sage that the “ex­treme, lib­eral agenda” of House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “would be a dis­as­ter for Alaska.”

While fly­ing be­tween ral­lies Satur­day, Trump sought to make im­mi­gra­tion a wedge is­sue in the race for a Se­nate seat from Ari­zona. In a tweet, he said that Repub­li­can Rep. Martha McSally would pro­vide “Bor­der Se­cu­rity” and as­serted her Demo­cratic op­po­nent Rep. Kyrsten Sinema “doesn’t even think about it.”

“If it were up to Sinema - drugs, crime and il­le­gal traf­fic will be flow­ing into Ari­zona at an ever in­creas­ing pace.” Trump wrote. “Vote for Martha!”

In one of two ral­lies on Fri­day, Trump ac­knowl­edged to a crowd in West Vir­ginia that Repub­li­cans could lose con­trol of the House but sounded op­ti­mistic about his party’s prospects in the Se­nate.

“We’re do­ing re­ally well in the Se­nate, but could hap­pen,” Trump said of los­ing the House. “And you know what you do? My whole life - you know what I say? Don’t worry about it. I’ll just fig­ure it out.”

Dur­ing a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view Satur­day, Pelosi said she is con­fi­dent Democrats will win con­trol of the House on Tues­day. “I speak from the ground. I’ve trav­eled all over the coun­try,” Pelosi said. “The en­thu­si­asm is some­thing that I’ve never seen be­fore.”

Obama stumped Fri­day in Ge­or­gia for Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial hope­ful Stacey Abrams, tout­ing her as “the most ex­pe­ri­enced, the most qual­i­fied can­di­date in this race.” That was a re­tort to Trump, who had called Abrams — who would be the na­tion’s first black fe­male gover­nor — “not qual­i­fied.”

Abrams, who faces Repub­li­can Brian Kemp, Ge­or­gia’s sec­re­tary of state, on Tues­day, has been the ben­e­fi­ciary of a string of prom­i­nent visi­tors, in­clud­ing me­dia mogul Oprah Win­frey. “I think it is a sig­nal of how im­por­tant Ge­or­gia is to Amer­ica,” Abrams said on MSNBC.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, shown cam­paign­ing last week in Madi­son Wis., has called for more ci­vil­ity and dig­nity in pol­i­tics and has sought to frame the elec­tion as a ref­er­en­dum on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s lead­er­ship. In Ohio Satur­day, the for­mer vice pres­i­dent said: “Folks, all the world’s look­ing.”

Speak­ing at a cam­paign rally in Boze­man, Mont., Satur­day, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said that if Democrats take over Congress, they’ll “take a gi­ant wreck­ing ball to our econ­omy and to the fu­ture of our na­tion.”

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