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Trump and Clinton play electoral college hopscotch across U.S

November 5, 2016 6:49 PM
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WILMINGTON, N.C. — Donald Trump is spending Saturday hopscotching the country, attempting to capi­tal­ize on a tightening race against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The Republican presidential nominee is campaigning here in the battleground state of North Carolina, as well as Florida, Colorado and Nevada — and said his campaign plans to travel to Minnesota, a traditionally Democratic state where polls showing him trailing by about five points.

“We’re going to Minnesota. We’re going up to Minnesota, which traditionally has not been Republican at all, and we’re doing phenomenally, we just saw a poll,” Trump said. The Republican Party of Minnesota said he will rally in the state Sunday afternoon.

Trump added: “We’re going to Colorado where we’re doing phenomenally well. We’re doing well everywhere. We’re doing well in places that they don’t believe. They’re saying, what’s going on?”

But Trump’s campaign announced that it was canceling a Sunday rally in Wisconsin, a state where Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, stumped with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) on Saturday but where polls show Clinton with a sizable advantage.

And Trump will be greeted by some unwelcome news when he arrives Saturday afternoon in Nevada, where polls show he holds a slight edge over Clinton. Early voting totals in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, show that 52,000 more people voted early this year than in 2012, ballots cast by an electorate that likely favors Clinton.

Clinton’s team has spent months mobilizing in Las Vegas, helped by the powerful Culinary Workers Union. Friday night, local media reported that voters at one Las Vegas polling place waited in line for two hours to cast ballots.

Clinton’s campaign did receive a setback Saturday as the Supreme Court overruled an action by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that kept Arizona from implementing a ban on third-party collection ballots. Democrats wanted to strike the new provision, arguing it hurt minority voters who most often had their ballots collected by others and turned in. The high court gave no explanation for its ruling and there were no dissents, but in the past has been reluctant to change the rules close to an election.

On Friday, a federal judge in North Carolina ordered three counties there to restore voter registrations that were canceled, agreeing with an NAACP lawsuit that it was too close to Election Day to do so.

A downpour Saturday forced Hillary Clinton to cut short what may be her last campaign speech in Florida, where she holds a slim lead. Clinton can win without the state’s 29 electoral college votes, but a victory in Florida is her safest and fastest way to the 270 needed to win.

“You’re a hardy bunch, standing out in the rain!” a hoarse Clinton shouted, as she tried to be heard above the drumming rain at an outdoor rally.

Rally-goers huddled under umbrellas and plastic tarps, or stood dripping as Clinton spoke.

“You must get out! Let’s vote for the future. Let’s vote for what we want for our country!” she said to close a boiled-down, seven-minute version of her usual stump speech.

Clinton was introduced here by Sybrina Fulton, whose son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighbor in 2012 in a racially charged case that helped propel a movement for criminal justice reform.

Before Saturday morning’s rally, Clinton shook hands and snapped selfies with activists, volunteers and people who were voting early at a West Miami community center, where women danced and men played the drums.

She also visited Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, where Trump has tried to make inroads by tapping into Haitian anger about the Haiti policy of Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Bill Clinton will also campaign in Florida, where the campaign is banking on a large turnout among Latino voters.

The former secretary of state will also campaign in Pennsylvania Saturday.

Pence spent the morning in Michigan, where he made an appeal to voters as a fellow Midwesterner who has seen the region hemorrhage jobs. He then traveled to Wisconsin to appear with Ryan, who supports but has tangled with Trump. Pence and Ryan showed nothing but affection for one another onstage. Ryan called Pence the “heart of the conservative movement.”

Trump was joined in North Carolina by his wife, Melania. Although she had previously campaigned rarely alongside her husband, this was her second appearance on the trail this week.

“We need a president who will deliver the change you all have been waiting for. This is your last chance, your last chance to make a real difference,” Melania said, introducing the GOP nominee in Wilmington.

In North Carolina, Trump, as he had in the previous few days, remained disciplined and kept close to his scripted stump speech. But earlier in the day at a rally in Tampa, he returned to his freewheeling ways, referring to himself as “Mr. President” when talking about things he believe could happen if he wins on Tuesday and casting off talk of one of his favorite targets, Obamacare, because it was “boring” and he would repeal it anyway.

“We don’t need Jay-Z to fill up arenas. We do it the old-fashioned way folks,” Trump said, poking at Clinton for hosting a rally with the rapper and his wife, singer Beyoncé, in Cleveland Friday night.

Trump, who has shown a penchant for profanity during the election cycle and said on a 2005 tape that he could grab women “by the p---y” because he was “a star,” chastised Jay-Z for using curse words during the performance.

“Can you imagine if I said that? So he used every word in the book,” Trump said. “I won’t even use the initials because I’ll get in trouble.”

The nominee implored black and Hispanic voters, who polls show heavily favor Clinton, to cast ballots for him, citing signs in the crowd that read: “Blacks for Trump” and “Cuban women for Trump.”

At one point Trump waded into the crowd and returned to the stage with a baby wearing a shirt and hat printed with the American flag.

The Republican nominee also falsely said President Obama “screamed” at a protester in North Carolina Friday. The president defended the right of the man, who was a Trump supporter, to protest.

Trump returned to an old theme: That people would get tired of winning if he were to be elected.

“We will win at trade, we will win at the borders,” Trump said. “We’re gonna win so much you’re gonna get sick and tired of winning. You’ll say please, Mr. President, take it easy we’re sick and tired of winning.”

Robert Barnes and Sarah Parnass in Washington contributed to this report. Gearan reported from Florida and Zezima from Washington.


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