President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden have one last chance to make their case to voters in critical battleground states on Monday, the final full day of campaigning in their long, bitter race for the White House.
The candidates are seeking to lead a nation at a crossroads, gripped by a historic pandemic and a reckoning over race.
President Trump will hunt for support in four battleground states while Biden will focus on Pennsylvania and Ohio on Monday.
Trump, aiming to avoid becoming the first incumbent president to lose re-election since fellow Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992, will hold rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and two in Michigan.
The president is banking on a surge of enthusiasm from his most loyal supporters, and will wrap up his campaign with a post-midnight rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan- the same place he concluded his 2016 presidential run.
Biden, meanwhile, will devote most of his time to Pennsylvania, where a win would leave Trump with an exceedingly narrow path. Biden will also make a stop in Ohio, a show of confidence in a state where Trump won by 8 percentage points four years ago. Running mate Kamala Harris will also spend most of Monday with Biden in Pennsylvania.
He will rally union members and members of the African-American community in the Pittsburgh area before being joined for an evening drive-in rally in Pittsburgh by singer Lady Gaga.
Former President Barack Obama will hold a get-out-the-vote rally in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday before closing out the Biden campaign in the evening with a rally in Miami.
Biden has wrapped up the campaign on the offensive, traveling almost exclusively to states that Trump won in 2016 and criticizing the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has dominated the late stages of the race.
During a gruelling five-state swing on Sunday, Trump claimed he had momentum. He promised an economic revival and imminent delivery of a vaccine to fight the pandemic. As expected, he lashed out at his rival, Biden.
“The Biden plan will turn America into a prison state locking you down while letting the far-left rioters roam free to loot and burn,” Trump thundered Sunday at a rally in Iowa, one of the five he held in battleground states.
Trump again questioned the integrity of the U.S. election, saying a vote count that stretched past Election Day would be a “terrible thing” and suggesting his lawyers might get involved.
Americans have already cast nearly 60 million mail-in ballots that could take days or weeks to be counted in some states – meaning a winner might not be declared in the hours after polls close on Tuesday night.
Trump has repeatedly said without evidence that mail-in votes are prone to fraud.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” Trump told reporters. Some states, including Pennsylvania, do not start processing mail-in votes until Election Day, slowing the process.
Democrats have pushed mail-in voting as a safe way to cast a ballot in the coronavirus pandemic, while Trump and Republicans are counting on a big Election Day in-person turnout.
Trump denied an Axios report that he has told confidants he will declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he is ahead, even if the Electoral College outcome is unclear.
“The president’s not going to steal this election,” Biden told reporters when asked about the Axios report.
A record-setting 92.2 million early votes have been cast either in-person or by mail, according to the U.S. Elections Project, representing about 40% of eligible voters.
Rita Osakwe/Agency Reports