Trump kicks off weekend of rallies in key state of Pennsylvania.

The Irish Times

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US president Donald Trump will campaign in the key state of Pennsylvania ton Saturday as he kicks off a weekend of back-to-back rallies as election day approaches.

Both Mr Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden are fanning out across the country in a bid to appeal to last-minute voters with just three days of campaigning remaining.

Mr Biden is scheduled to appear in Michigan on Saturday, along with former president Barack Obama, with whom he served for eight years in the White House when he was vice-president. He will then campaign in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania on Sunday and Monday.

Both candidates held events in the upper-midwest on Friday, as Democrats try to win back some of the ground Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016 when a trio of midwest states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – delivered the Republican candidate the White House.

With just three days to go until election day early voting numbers have shattered records, in part reflecting the fact that many states have dramatically expanded early voting options compared to previous years. More than 84 million people have cast their vote already, prompting expectations of record turnout numbers.

In Texas more than nine million people have voted with one day of early voting remaining – more than the total number who voted in the state in 2016.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris campaigned in Texas on Friday, reflecting hopes by her party that it could flip this Republican-leaning state for the first time since 1976. Sweeping demographic changes that have seen an influx of new residents to the suburban areas around the state’s biggest cities, such as Dallas and Houston, have changed the political hue of communities around Texas.

One of the areas with the biggest turnout so far is Harris County, which encompasses the greater Houston area and is expected to favour Democrats. However, turnout is also up in rural counties where Donald Trump is popular.

‘Fantastic’

Speaking on Friday, Mr Trump predicted he would do “very well” in Texas.

“Texas is looking very strong...Florida is looking great...Ohio is looking great. North Carolina is fantastic, actually,” he said as he left Washington for a multi-state tour.

“We think Pennsylvania’s looking fantastic but that’s a late vote,” he said, a reference to the fact that absentee ballots will be accepted up to three days after election day in the state.

Mr Trump struck an upbeat tone about his election prospects despite polls consistently showing his Democratic opponent ahead nationally and in swing-states, albeit by smaller margins.

“I think we’re going to take back the House [of Representatives] Senate races that are being closely watched.

Mr Trump continued his attacks on Mr Biden at his rallies on Friday, leading to chants of “lock him up!” at an event in Michigan.

He descried the former vice-president as a “die-hard globalist who cares nothing for the working people” and “a cheerleader for Nafta” – the US-Mexico-China trade deal which he said sent “your auto jobs all over the place, but particularly Mexico”.

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