By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — With eight days to go until Election Day, and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, voters are turning out in record numbers to cast their ballots early.
More than 59 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 election, reflecting an extraordinary level of participation and interest despite unprecedented barriers brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the final weeks of campaigning, the president has continued to press as polls show him trailing nationally and in several battleground states key to his reelection hopes.
After a weekend traversing the country to campaign, the president delivers remarks Monday on American workers in Pennsylvania and holds two rallies there. Biden, meanwhile, has no public events on his schedule. He will spend Tuesday in Georgia, with Sen. Kamala Harris expected in Texas this week and former President Barack Obama being deployed again to Florida.
Vice President Mike Pence, head of the coronavirus task force, is still on the campaign trail for a Minnesota rally Monday despite being exposed to COVID-19 over the weekend. The White House insists he’s an essential worker while some health officials warn he should be in quarantine as a precaution.
Polls indicate a huge pre-Election-Day edge for Biden and a sizable Trump advantage among those who plan to vote on Nov. 3. Trump has sowed doubt in the mail-in ballot process — and imminent election results — for months.
All 50 states plus Washington, D.C., have some form of early voting underway. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s guide to voting during the COVID-19 pandemic here.
Oct 26, 10:30 am
Trump to battleground Pennsylvania, Pence to Minnesota
Trump and Pence are ramping up their already aggressive campaign schedules — traveling through nearly a dozen battleground states over the next week — in a final effort to boost their standing in the polls ahead of Nov. 3, doing so as coronavirus cases surge across the country, during an election that has largely become a referendum on the Trump administration’s handling of it.
Trump departed the White House this morning for Allentown, Pennsylvania, where his campaign says he’ll deliver “victory remarks” on the American worker before two back-to-back afternoon rallies in the Keystone State — key to his pathway to keeping the White House. Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, and polls show Biden with a big boost from suburban women there.
Still, some Trump supporters in Pennsylvania were seen waiting in the rain for hours ahead of the president’s arrival.
Pence, too, is maintaining his aggressive campaign schedule despite an outbreak of coronavirus among his aides with five reporting testing positive over the weekend including his chief of staff Marc Short. Due to the close nature of Pence’s working relationship with Short, the Centers for Disease Control guidelines require him to quarantine to reduce the risk of asymptomatic spread — despite testing negative again Monday morning, according to his office.
Pence’s press secretary Dan O’Malley said over the weekend that the vice president would keep to his commitments “in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”
Pence, head of the coronavirus task force, is scheduled to travel to Hibbing, Minnesota, Monday for an afternoon rally.
The White House has not confirmed whether the vice president will preside over the Supreme Court confirmation vote of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Senate this evening in the wake of the outbreak, but Pence indicated at a Florida rally on Saturday that he would be in attendance.
Oct 26, 9:18 am
Biden plays on expanded map as Trump tends to base
It’s either brilliant or delusional — a sign of changing realities or political hubris. There’s no way to know which for at least another eight days.
Biden’s campaign is seeing an expanding map and looking to play all over it during the final stretch of the race.
Biden will spend Tuesday in Georgia, with Sen. Kamala Harris expected in Texas this week and former President Barack Obama being deployed again to Florida. Democrats are playing in a battleground map of 17 states — when all they needs to do is flip the right three.
Those key three are where Trump is spending his Monday and Tuesday, with a crush of rallies that both defy social-distance guidelines and remain the kind of events that only he could pull together.
Trump’s focus is falling on the trio Democrats have stressed over for four years running: Pennsylvania, where he will have three rallies Monday, then Wisconsin and Michigan Tuesday, with the president campaigning primarily in GOP strongholds inside those states.
One school of thought will always second-guess any time spent by either candidate anywhere else. But Biden is flush with both cash and eager surrogates, and is watching early turnout numbers blow past expectations while new COVID-19 spikes keep the race focused on where he wants it.
Trump still has to worry about a crumbling coalition of states the GOP considered safe. He never wanted to have to campaign in Ohio or Florida at this stage of the race, to say nothing of Nebraska — where he will squeeze in a trip Tuesday — or South Carolina, where Vice President Mike Pence will be that same day.
Polling and pandemic realities confirm something smart political minds have long said: 2020 is not 2016. But the thought that pursuing close to 400 electoral votes could make the path to 270 even a little harder will haunt some Democrats until the end of this long race
-ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein
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