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Trump on defense, courting voters in two must-win states; Dems driving massive early voting numbers
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Trump on defense, courting voters in two must-win states; Dems driving massive early voting numbers

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President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at Miami International Airport to travel to an event in Fort Myers, Fla., Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Miami.

Trump on defense, courting voters in two must-win states

Backed into a corner and facing financial strains, President Donald Trump fought to defend his sagging reelection bid Friday in a state Republicans haven't lost in nearly three decades. With Election Day looming, Democrat Joe Biden pushed to keep voters focused on health care in the Midwest.

Trump was campaigning in Florida and Georgia, neighboring Southeastern states he carried four years ago and must win again to extend his presidency. His decision to devote Friday evening's prime-time slot to Georgia in particular highlighted the serious nature of his challenge in the 2020 contest's closing days: Far from his original plan to expand into Democratic-leaning states, Trump is laboring to stave off a defeat of major proportions.

No Republican presidential candidate has lost Georgia since George H.W. Bush in 1992. And earlier in this week, Trump courted voters in Iowa, a state he carried by almost 10 points four years ago.

At his first of two stops Friday in Florida, the president planned to speak directly to seniors who have increasingly soured on his handling of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the president’s campaign released new numbers late Thursday suggesting he is likely the first incumbent president to face a financial disadvantage in the modern era.

Trump’s campaign, along with the Republican National Committee and associated groups, raised $247.8 million in September, well short of the $383 million raised by Biden and the Democratic National Committee. To open October, the Trump effort officially had $251.4 million in the bank, according to a campaign spokesman, compared to $432 million for Biden.

The president was fighting for momentum on the campaign trail a day after he and Biden squared off in dueling televised town halls that showcased striking differences in temperament, views on racial justice and approaches to the pandemic.

The former vice president planned to continue challenging Trump's record on the pandemic and his years-long unfulfilled promises to create a stronger and more affordable health care system in battleground Michigan. Biden was scheduled to make two appearances in the Detroit area.


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