ABC - Politics News

Prostock-Studio/iStockBY: MOLLY NAGLE, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- It's the $100 million question: With a steady polling lead, a massive cash advantage and only nine days left to spend it, should Joe Biden go big or should he play it safe, following the hard-learned lessons of 2016?

In the final weeks of the general election, the Biden campaign has kept a steady focus on their six core battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida -- all states Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. That focus is expected to continue as Election Day draws closer.

But Biden's campaign is entering the home stretch in a position to spend, compared to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which burned through $1.4 billion of the more than $1.6 billion raised over the last two years.

The former vice president's campaign reported having $162 million in cash on hand by mid-October -- nearly four times the $43 million in cash on hand the Trump campaign reported. Overall, Biden and the Democratic party report having $331 million in cash on hand by Oct 14, compared to Trump and the GOP's $223.5 million.

The cash advantage is not lost on Biden's team.

"The resources that we have, have given us an opportunity to continue with an expansive map," Biden campaign national state director Jen Ridder said. "When I started in May, we laid out a 17-state battleground map and I expected it to shrink, and instead we've been able to keep all of the states on the map, but really know where our focus is."

The campaign is now signaling a last-minute push in some of those 17 states they've identified as opportunities to not just win back what was lost in 2016, but expand their pathway to 270 electoral votes and beyond.

Two of the states are Georgia and Texas, where polls this week show a tight race, and neither candidate polling above 50% in in Texas. That's led some allies in the Lone Star State to express frustration that the campaign hasn't done more to capitalize on their competitive position in the state a Democrat hasn't won since 1976.

"It would be so helpful to have the top of the ticket make an investment in Texas," former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who endorsed Biden in March, told ABC News.

"Pennsylvania is an illustration of the law of diminishing returns: You can grow another hundred million in Pennsylvania and I don't know that it's going to move much more than the last hundred million did. You could invest 15 million, 10 million in Texas, and it would be catalytic," the former Texas congressman added.

While Biden himself has not yet visited the states during the general election, they haven't been ignored: The former vice president is set to visit Georgia on Tuesday, where he will give his "closing argument" for the 2020 race in Warm Springs. His running mate Sen. Kamala Harris traveled to the state on Friday, and a source familiar with her travel expects Harris to also make a trip to Texas soon. Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, and Jill Biden have both made visits to the states as well.

"We have some good opportunities in states ... like Georgia and Texas," Ridder said.

That statement could set off alarm bells for some nervous Democrats, still haunted by the ghost of Clinton's 2016 campaign. But 2020 is not the same election: Biden is polling at 50% in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to FiveThirtyEights' polling average -- three states the president narrowly won in 2016 with less than 80,000 votes. Still Biden's campaign insists that the expansion won't come at the expense of their core battleground states.

"We're still entirely focused on those top six and that's the key to our path. But, you know, this election cycle is proving that we might have opportunities elsewhere and If we can spend a little extra time and a little extra money to push them over the edge I think we're willing to take that opportunity in the next 10 days," Ridder continued.

Biden's team is spending in those states. According to ad spending data from media research firm CMAG, Biden has so far invested $3.6 million in the expensive state of Texas, and $2 million in Georgia in the final two weeks of the campaign -- on par with what the campaign will put into Wisconsin and Ohio respectively in the same time frame.

Those totals are in addition to the more than $15 million Biden's campaign was investing on national ads in the 14 days leading up to the election, also likely to get eyeballs in the state.

All told, in the final month before Election Day, the campaign will put in $6 million in Texas and $5.6 million in Georgia on ads as of now.

"I think Texas is in the realm of possibility," ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd said. "I would advocate if they can step it up -- step it up in Texas."

"People forget that Donald Trump only carried Texas by nine in 2016, Beto O'Rourke only lost Texas by 2.5% in 2018 and Texas -- in the registration and all the things that have been happening in Texas in the last two and four years, have all moved towards the Democrats," he continued.

Both states have seen high early voting turnout as the election inches closer: According to the United States Elections Project, between early in-person voting and vote by mail, more than 2.5 million ballots have been cast in Georgia and nearly 7 million have been cast in Texas -- more than 70% of the total ballots that were cast in that state in 2016.

While early voting can provide the campaign with some data on possible trends in the final stretch, the high level of engagement can also pose a new challenge for Biden's team on how and when to go big -- a challenge not seen in 2016.

"If the presidential campaign is going to invest, every single day matters because of vote by mail. Every day is Election Day," said Amanda Renteria, who served as national political director for Clinton during her 2016 presidential run.

"That piece puts a lot more pressure than I think we had in 2016, it puts a lot more pressure on the Biden campaign, because ... every day lost might be votes on that day that we missed."

But even with their cash stores, Renteria said the campaign has the added challenge of thinking beyond Nov. 3 when making their investments, given the possibility that a definitive winner does not emerge on election night.

"The traditional idea is you can spend all your money and not worry about the day after the election. That's just not the case here. There's a very real concern that you will have court cases afterwards. And you have to have the resources to be able to fight those," she added.

Still, O'Rourke argues Texas could play a pivotal role on election night if investments are made in the state.

"Texas will know the vote total on election night, by the way, Pennsylvania will not. Pennsylvania will take days to know their results. Texas could end this race for -- help him win on election night, and it can help us down ballot secure political power for the next decade in Texas. So this is a really important state on a number of levels."

ABC News' Soorin Kim contributed to this report.

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Philip Rozenski/iStockBY: ALEXANDRA SVOKOS, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- As Coloradans vote this fall, they're deciding on more than just the president and other elected officials -- they're also being asked to vote on a ballot measure, Proposition 115, which seeks to ban abortion in the state after 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Colorado is one of seven states without a gestational limit on abortion, with or without exceptions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

If Prop 115 is approved and enacted, a person who performs an abortion after that point is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and subject to a fine ($500 to $5,000), according to the measure's language. A licensed practitioner would lose their license for at least three years. The patient would not be charged with a crime.

The ballot measure includes only one exception: if "an abortion is immediately required to save the life of a pregnant woman," including physical disorders, illnesses and injuries. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

Proponents of the proposal say it is to prevent the abortions of potentially viable fetuses. Opponents say it puts pregnant people's lives and wellness at risk, while there are also concerns about the disproportionate impact a ban could have on already marginalized communities.

Singular exception frightens some doctors

Dr. Rebecca Cohen, an OB-GYN in the Denver area, pointed to the language in the ballot measure requiring a pregnant person's life be at "immediate" risk.

"As a practicing physician, it's unethical for me to allow a medical situation to progress to the point that someone's life is immediately in danger," she told ABC News.

Dr. James Monaco, a Colorado cardiologist who has cared for patients in high-risk pregnancies due to cardiac issues, wrote in an opinion piece for The Colorado Sun that if passed, the proposition "will result in unnecessary maternal deaths."

He expanded in a piece for the Colorado Times Recorder that if a pregnant person with severe heart disease has a 50% chance of death, doctors would have to question, "Is a 50% chance of death 'immediate?'"

The exception also does not mention the health of the fetus. That means if a pregnant person gets a diagnosis that the fetus will likely either be stillborn or only live a few hours or days, that person then potentially has to carry the fetus to term and go through labor -- which includes an emotional and financial toll on top of the physical risks of labor and pregnancy.

The Coalition for Women and Children, also known as the DueDateTooLate campaign, which supports the proposition, says that in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, pregnant people would turn to "perinatal hospice."

"Perinatal hospice involves a multidisciplinary team" to "accompany the family through the pregnancy and birth allowing them to fully embrace and celebrate the abbreviated life of their baby," according to the campaign.

"These 22-week-old human beings have most of the characteristics that we associate with being human being," Dr. Tom Perille, head of the medical advisory team of the Coalition for Women and Children and president of Democrats for Life of Colorado, told ABC News, referring to studies on fetal behavior among twins. "And we think that for these fetuses and for these families, perinatal hospice offers a more life-affirming, compassionate approach to the care of these individuals than does late abortion."

To this point, Cohen said Coloradans already have the option for perinatal hospice -- if they so choose.

Perille said the decision to not include an exception for rape came out of research and discussions with providers that victims of rape typically seek abortions before 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Abortions after 22 weeks are extremely rare

Only 1.2% of abortions in the United States were performed after 21 weeks of pregnancy, according to the CDC's latest data.

The most common reason patients seek an abortion at that stage, Cohen said, "is because they have new information about the pregnancy." That includes ultrasounds and tests at and after the 20-week mark that demonstrate serious issues in the development of the fetus.

Some patients are pushed past the 22-week mark by seeking further testing and opinions, or by restrictions on abortions in other states that necessitate traveling to Colorado (and getting the funding together for travel, health care, housing and possibly child care).

Patients may also face health conditions themselves, like exacerbated cardiac issues or the development of cancer or seizures, Cohen said.

"So many people that are voting to decide the outcome of this proposition will never need abortion care later in pregnancy," Cohen said. "They may never know someone who needs abortion care leader in pregnancy. But what we see is that this really does affect people who need this care the most."

Perille posited that pregnant people should be able to determine fatal fetal diagnoses before 22 weeks, so would still be able to choose to have an abortion before that point.

"The bottom line is as far as screening goes, it could be done well before 22 weeks, and so in countries that have this [restriction], in states that have this, it's very rare for women to discover these kinds of abnormalities after 22 weeks," he told ABC News.

The right to abortion after the first trimester is threatened in many places across the United States. Currently, around two dozen states ban abortion after 20 weeks, according to Guttmacher, some with exceptions. On Thursday, Mississippi asked the Supreme Court to review its 15-week abortion ban (which is not in effect), which could have major impacts on rights to abortion overall or after the first trimester, should the court choose to react.

Potential toll on already vulnerable communities

The United States already has a high maternal mortality rate compared to the rest of the developed world, and that risk is especially high among Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women, CDC data shows.

Over 20% of the Colorado population is Hispanic or Latino, according to Census data. That population faces barriers to health care, including language, insurance coverage and financial status -- which becomes more dire if you have to drive several hours or fly to another state to access abortion care.

Currently, to access later abortion care, a person in Colorado has to travel an average 15 miles one way, according to Guttmacher Institute research. If this measure is enacted, that would increase to 445 miles.

"When you're talking about white, privileged folks that have the economic means, they can get onto a flight," Karla Gonzales Garcia, policy director at Color Latina, a group that supports reproductive rights in Colorado, told ABC News. "If you have your documentation, you're not going to be afraid to go and get onto a flight."

All considered, Garcia said, if passed, the measure "is just exacerbating all the issues that our communities already face."

"This ballot initiative is racist in its core because they are assuming the people that need to have an abortion later in pregnancy would be able to get on a plane [or] drive to another state and spend the money that they need to in order to have a safe abortion, while leaving behind the most marginalized among us," she said.

Voters will decide the fate of the proposal on Nov. 3.

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abcnews.comBY: ADIA ROBINSON AND ADAM KELSEY, ABC NEWS

(PHILADELPHIA) -- With just over a week remaining until Election Day, both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns are once again honing in on the perennial battleground state of Pennsylvania as the potential linchpin to the White House.

President Donald Trump narrowly won the Keystone State in 2016 by 44,000 votes, less than 1% of the total ballots cast across the commonwealth. That tight margin, combined with its status as Democratic nominee Joe Biden's home state, has many on the left optimistic that it and its 20 electoral votes can be flipped this cycle.

ABC's "This Week" traveled to Pennsylvania in the campaign's homestretch as part of its "Six for the Win" series, to learn about voters' priorities in one of the most economically and geographically diverse regions of the country and to discover whether Biden's campaign has been successful in its effort to steal back support from Trump.

Tanya Siletsky, 60, who lives in the Philadelphia suburbs, voted for Trump in 2016 and said she still supports all of the his policies "100 percent." Nothing the president has said or done over the last four years has given her pause, she noted.

"Things that he brings up are exactly what me and my friends talk about in our kitchen, where we're sitting around having drinks and talking about politics and government," Siletsky told "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz. "He's exactly spot on."

But there are plenty of voters expressing buyer's remorse. Morgan and Katie Harris, who also cast ballots for Trump four years ago, told Raddatz that they changed their minds about the president.

"It's the noise of everything," Morgan Harris said. "I kind of feel like my voice some days is lost in just the noise and the polarization."

"I'm just hoping that that Joe can maybe tone the noise down, if nothing else, and maybe just at least bring some professionalism back, some calm," he added. "Don't tweet. Just the basics."

This past week, both Biden and Trump made campaign stops in Pennsylvania. On Saturday, the former vice president spoke to drive-in rallies in Bucks and Luzerne Counties in the state's eastern half, while Trump held an event in Erie on Tuesday. The Biden campaign also deployed its most prominent surrogate, former President Barack Obama, for events in Philadelphia Wednesday.

"The degree of incompetence and misinformation -- the number of people who might not have died had we just done the basics," Obama lamented during a roundtable in the city Wednesday, criticizing Trump and the administration's reaction to the coronavirus. "The degree to which it has impacted low income communities so disproportionately. That's something that I'm not just confident that it can be fixed."

Katie Harris pointed to those issue as well, plus race relations, as key factors in her decision this year.

"With George Floyd's death, with COVID -- he had many opportunities, again, to come together and say, 'Look, let's let's figure this out together. Let's be a unifier,'" she said. "And time and time again, he's given these opportunities to act presidential and he doesn't."

Retiree Judy Ortola also reported that the coronavirus pandemic turned her away from the president. Democrats are leaning into the administration's pandemic response in an effort to win over senior voters, particularly in the swing state of Florida, home to an abundance of retirees. Thus far, polling shows that the message is working.

"When the virus initially hit neighbors, friends here in my community, we made over a thousand masks for the hospitals, nursing homes, friends, and it was a lot of work," Ortola told Raddatz. "And then (Trump) had the disrespect to not even wear a mask."

Ortola added that she's unsure, however, that others in her community have changed their minds about the president, something that bothers her.

"I don't know how you can support him anymore," she said. "You just don't treat people the way he treats people."

Voter Miguel Rivera, a Puerto Rico native who has lived in Pennsylvania for 25 years, shared that he doesn't like what he's heard from Biden and explained that his and others' votes weren't necessarily related to traditional party affiliations.

"There's a lot of people in Florida, in Philadelphia, voting for the Republican Party," he said. "That doesn't mean necessarily that they are Republican, but that the candidate that is there is the one that promises a brighter future for them, that's all."


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Official White House Photo by D. Myles CullenBY: JOHN SANTUCCI, KATHERINE FAULDERS, RICK KLEIN, AND JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- Five individuals in Vice President Mike Pence's orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus, including his chief of staff Marc Short and political aide Marty Obst.

"Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process," Devin O'Malley, press secretary for the vice president, said in a statement.

Sunday morning, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that in addition to an outside political ally of Pence's four of his staffers have tested positive. One senior level source stressed that the three of the staffers have been quarantining since the middle of this past week.

Among those three staffers who tested positive and were in quarantine is Pence's "body man," a position that often represents an individual who is the closest aide to the office holder.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows did not want to immediately reveal that Short and other members of staff close to the vice president had tested positive for the coronavirus, sources told ABC News.

Defending this Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Meadows said, "Sharing personal information is not something that we should do, not something that we do actually do unless it's the vice president or the president or someone that is very close to them where there is people in harm's way. Listen. Any time that there is someone in harm's way, we have an obligation to let people know to contact trace. We have done that."

O'Malley said both Pence and wife Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Saturday and a pool report indicated the tested negative again on Sunday morning.

Pence has been crisscrossing the country on the campaign trail for weeks. He made visits to Lakeland and Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday. On Friday, he spent time in his home state of Indiana, where he voted in person in Indianapolis, before holding rallies in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He will continue his schedule, O'Malley said, despite the close contact with Short.

"While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel," he wrote in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise essential workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 should take their temperature before work, wear a face mask at all times and social distance "as work duties permit."

Pence is scheduled to hold a rally in Kinston, North Carolina, on Sunday evening.

President Donald Trump, upon disembarking Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, was asked about Short's positive test.

"I did hear about him just now and I think he's quarantining. I did hear about him," the president said. "He's going to be fine but he's quarantining. Thank you very much."

Short has served as Pence's chief of staff since March 2019.

Obst, a top political aide to the vice president, tested positive last week, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. He is an outside adviser and not a government employee.

He was spotted at a fundraiser at Trump Doral attended by both Pence and President Trump on Oct. 15. While he was traveling with the VP last week, he wasn't in close proximity to him, sources say.

Obst did not respond to a request for comment. The vice president's office did not immediately respond.

The trusted adviser, who ran Pence's campaign in 2016, has kept up a steady stream of tweets and retweets on Twitter in recent days and weeks, though he does not appear to have mentioned his own diagnosis.

This is the second time someone close to Pence has tested positive for the virus. Katie Miller, Pence's press secretary and wife of Trump adviser Stephen Miller, tested positive for COVID-19 in May.

Both Mike Pence and the second lady tested negative for coronavirus in the days after President Donald Trump tested positive and was hospitalized at the beginning of October.

Earlier this month, in an interview with CNN, Short said the vice president was tested "every day."

At least 34 people connected to the White House tested positive for the virus earlier this month, including the president and first lady Melania Trump, as well as press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior adviser for policy Stephen Miller and outside advisers Kellyanne Conway and Chris Christie.

ABC News' Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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Official White House Photo by Tia DufourBY: LAUREN KING, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- With nine days to go until Election Day, and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, voters have turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots early.

More than 56 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 remained on defense as polls show him trailing nationally and in several battleground states key to his reelection hopes. The president will have a campaign rally in New Hampshire to top off a weekend of many rallies across battleground states and Biden will speak during a virtual "I Will Vote" concert.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to North Carolina Sunday evening to speak at a rally despite a two of his top deputies testing positive for the coronavirus: chief of staff Marc Short and political aide Marty Obst.

ABC News has also learned at least one additional staffer in the vice president's office has tested positive in the last few days and several staffers are now quarantining. Devin O'Malley, press secretary for the vice president, said both Pence and wife Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Saturday.

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.

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 25, 12:41 pm

Trump arrives in New Hampshire for rally


Air Force One touched down in New Hampshire a short time ago and was making its way over to the crowd of people waiting for the president's campaign rally.

Oct 25, 12:16 pm

5 in Pence's orbit test positive for the coronavirus


Five individuals in Vice President Mike Pence's orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus, including his chief of staff Marc Short and political aide Marty Obst.

Devin O'Malley, press secretary for the vice president, announced Saturday in a statement that Short tested positive.

Sunday morning, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that in addition to an outside political ally of Pence's four of his staffers have tested positive. One senior-level source stressed that the three of the staffers have been quarantining since the middle of this past week.

Oct 25, 10:31 am

Foreign efforts to undermine US election


ABC News Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas said Russia appears to be "seeking direct access" to American voters to sow division and unrest.

Senior national security officials alerted the American public Wednesday that Iran and Russia have both obtained voter data in their efforts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election.

Thomas said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that those efforts appear to be aimed at creating problems before the election and possibly just after Election Day "if we don't quickly know a result."

On Friday, U.S. officials told ABC News that systems containing election-related information from two counties in two separate states were successfully hacked by the Russian effort. While the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have seen no evidence that data has been altered, FBI and Homeland Security officials expressed concern that Russia "may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies and actions, or to delegitimize SLTT government entities."

Iran is "aggressively pursuing the same goal," Thomas said Sunday.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Wednesday that Iran was separately behind a series of threatening emails that were found to be sent this week to Democratic voters, which he said was "designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump."

Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for the Iranian Mission to the U.N., denied the allegations to ABC News.

Oct 25, 9:42 am

Talking with Pennsylvania voters


ABC's "This Week" Co-anchor Martha Raddatz talked with voters from the battleground state of Pennsylvania, a must-win for Trump.

The president won the state in 2016, with a slim margin, and there are "worrisome signs" this year.

Tanya Siletsky is the kind of supporter the Trump campaign hopes will help him win the battleground state.

"I would say no," she said on "This Week" on whether anything has given her pause about Trump. "All his policies I agree with 100%."

Oct 25, 9:18 am

Trump, Biden favorability unchanged as 2020 race heads into final week: POLL


After two contentious debates and more than $1.5 billion in advertising, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden enter the closing week of a bitter campaign with their favorability ratings relatively unchanged since at least the summer, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.

Trump's favorability is significantly underwater in the new survey, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos' Knowledge Panel, with more than half of Americans -- including more than half of men (53%), Americans over 65 (53%), and independents (57%) -- viewing him unfavorably. The president's favorability deficit stands at minus-22 in the poll, similar to where he stood on the eve of the 2016 election.

But unlike four years ago, when both Trump and  headed into November deeply unpopular – Trump's favorability at 38% to 60% and Clinton's at 42% to 56% in the final ABC News/Washington Post poll -- Biden is seen significantly more favorably.

-ABC News' Kendall Karson

Oct 25, 9:02 am

Back on the campaign trail


The candidates are fanning out across the country again Sunday with rallies, concerts and get out the vote events.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has the earliest start with drive-in church service event in Detroit. She'll continue with afternoon canvas kickoff events, where she'll speak to volunteers and organizers, in Detroit and Troy, Michigan. Then she has an evening drive-in rally in Pontiac before she and her husband Doug Emhoff deliver a taped message during the virtual "I Will Vote" concert.

Joe and Jill Biden are also scheduled to speak during the virtual concert at 8 p.m.

Trump will speak at an afternoon rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

Vice President Mike Pence will speak at a campaign rally in Kinston, North Carolina.

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Official White House Photo by Joyce N. BoghosianBY: KENDALL KARSON, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- After two contentious debates and more than $1.5 billion in advertising, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden enter the closing week of a bitter campaign with their favorability ratings relatively unchanged since at least the summer, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.

Trump's favorability is significantly underwater in the new survey, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos' Knowledge Panel, with more than half of Americans -- including more than half of men (53%), Americans over 65 (53%), and independents (57%) -- viewing him unfavorably. The president's favorability deficit stands at minus-22 in the poll, similar to where he stood on the eve of the 2016 election.

But unlike four years ago, when both Trump and Hillary Clinton headed into November deeply unpopular – Trump's favorability at 38% to 60% and Clinton's at 42% to 56% in the final ABC News/Washington Post poll -- Biden is seen significantly more favorably.

Biden's standing is near even at 44% to 43%, roughly where he's been for several months in this and similar surveys. The Democratic nominee, though, still has shortfalls, with more men (49%), independents (48%), and white Americans (53%) viewing him unfavorably rather than favorably.

On the other side, while Trump remains broadly unpopular, core blocs of Trump's base aren't nearly as critical of him. Fewer than half of white Americans (48%) and whites without a college degree (38%) have a negative attitude about the president.

In another key difference from 2016: Only 10% of Americans said they dislike both Trump and Biden, which is about half the number who said the same about Trump and Clinton.

Biden has sought to cast the election as a referendum on Trump and his leadership. Helping his case is broad disapproval of Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the most significant challenge of his presidency.

Over eight months of polling on the virus, which upended the entire 2020 election, Trump's low approval on the issue has mostly held steady, except for a week in mid-March when it peaked above 50%.

In the latest survey, more than 6 in 10 Americans (61%) disapprove of the president's response to the pandemic, while only 38% approve. It's a stark reality for Trump, as his rival has stayed disciplined in making the coronavirus a focus of the race.

"COVID-19 dwarfs anything we've faced in recent history, and it isn't showing any signs of slowing down," Biden said during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, the day after the final debate. "He's quit on your family. He's quit on America. He just wants us to grow numb and resign to the horrors of this death toll and the pain it's causing so many Americans."

Meanwhile, Trump has sought to paint Biden as a liberal extremist and dragged the rest of the Biden family into the campaign, raising questions about improper foreign business dealings.

The president focused his attacks on allegations that Biden improperly profited from business endeavors that his son, Hunter Biden, has undertaken in Ukraine and China. Those attacks do not appear to have changed broad perceptions of the former vice president.

Those controversial endeavors abroad, including in China and Ukraine, did garner criticism from some ethics experts, who said the dealings created an appearance of a conflict. But no evidence has emerged to suggest that Hunter Biden's private business deals influenced his father's actions or U.S. foreign policy during his time in office, and the elder Biden has said it did not.

Partisan attacks from both sides have done little to change minds.

Trump's grip on Republicans remains intact, with his favorability and approval for his handling of the pandemic in the mid-to-high 70s (74% and 79%, respectively).

For Biden, an overwhelming 90% of Democrats have a favorable view of him. Fewer independents view him favorably (39%), similar to Trump (36%) among this group.

As the country reckons with setting a new daily record for coronavirus cases on Friday, with more than 83,000 infections, concerns over contracting the virus hold firm among 78% of Americans, including just over one-third (36%) who said they're very concerned.

Just over 1 in 5 Americans said they're not concerned about becoming infected.

On the same day the nation set a new high for cases, Trump claimed at a rally in The Villages in Florida, the largest retirement community in the country, "We are rounding that turn."

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs' KnowledgePanel® October 23-24, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 551 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.8 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-26-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents. See the poll's topline results and details on the methodology here.

ABC News' Lucien Bruggeman contributed reporting.

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Official White House Photo by Tia DufourBY: LIBBY CATHEY AND EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- With 10 days to go until Election Day, and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, voters have turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots early.

More than 54 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 remained on defense as polls show him trailing nationally and in several battleground states key to his reelection hopes. He has three rallies across battleground states Saturday -- in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Biden, maintaining a lead in national polls -- his largest of the election, according to FiveThirtyEight's average -- has deployed his top surrogate, former President Barack Obama, to stump for him in Miami Saturday.

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.

Latest headlines:

  • Trump says COVID-19 cases are up 'because we test'
  • Biden says Trump 'cares more about the stock market than he does you'
  • Trump votes early in Florida

Here's how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

Oct 24, 7:50 pm
Pence holds 1st rally of day, doesn't mention surging COVID cases


Vice President Mike Pence held his first rally of the day in Lakeland, Florida, running well over an hour late, and started his remarks by telling voters that the state will support "Florida resident" President Donald Trump this year.

"You said yes to President Donald Trump in 2016," he said, making his case in one of the most critical states of the election. "And I know that Florida is going to say yes to Florida resident President Donald Trump in 2020."

Pence told voters, "We’re gonna give the American people the kind of health care reform that's built on freedom and free markets," despite the fact the Trump administration has offered no comprehensive health care plan of its own to replace the Affordable Care Act.

This rally was held outdoors and hundreds of people were in attendance though a majority were not wearing masks and there was no social distancing. Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force, did not talk about any of the coronavirus surges happening right now across the country, only touting Trump’s response and past outbreaks.

"We dealt with the outbreak in the Northeast and out in the Pacific Northwest," Pence said. "We dealt with it across the Sunbelt, because of the compassionate care of the people of this state and all across this region. Because of our incredible doctors and nurses and first responders."

Florida recorded 5,557 cases on Wednesday, its most cases in a single day since Aug. 15.

-ABC News' Justin Gomez

Oct 24, 4:52 pm
Trump on the election: 'Nothing worries me'


As President Donald Trump arrived in Ohio for his second campaign rally of the day, he told reporters "nothing worries me" about the election.

"I think we’re doing just very well, you look at the numbers in Florida. We're way ahead where we were four years ago, right? Way ahead where we were four years ago and I think I can say that everywhere else," the president said.

Trump said he voted "straight Republican" when he went to vote early in Florida Saturday morning.

-ABC News' Elizabeth Thomas

Oct 24, 3:40 pm

Obama slams Trump: 'He hasn't shown any interest in doing the work'

Former President Barack Obama campaigned in Miami Saturday at a drive-in rally for his former vice president, Joe Biden.

“Donald Trump, I knew he would not embrace my vision. I knew he wasn’t going to continue my policies. But I did hope that for the country’s sake, he’d show at least a little bit of interest in taking the job seriously,” Obama said.

"He hasn’t shown any interest in doing the work," Obama said, and he accused Trump of "treating the presidency like a reality show."

"The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done. At least 220,000 Americans are dead. More than 100,000 small businesses have closed. Half a million jobs are gone right here in Florida," Obama said. "You think he's hard at work coming up with a plan to get us out of this mess?"

Obama said Biden as vice president "was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. He made me a better president. He's got the character and experience to make us a better country," Obama said. "That's what you need right now -- somebody who cares about you and is thinking about you."

Oct 24, 3:14 pm

Trump says COVID-19 cases are up 'because we test'

In response to former Vice President Joe Biden, who warned of a "dark winter" due to the pandemic, President Donald Trump said Saturday, "we gotta have spirit."

The U.S. on Friday saw its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. "If we tested half cases would be half," the president argued, despite the fact that cases would still exist even if undetected.

Trump expressed his exhaustion with hearing about COVID-19 cases, repeating the word "COVID" 10 times in a matter of seconds, mocking the coverage of the pandemic.

"That's all I hear about now. That’s all I hear ... COVID COVID COVID COVID COVID COVID, a plane goes down, 500 people that they don't talk about it. COVID COVID COVID COVID, by the way, on November 4 you won't hear about it anymore," he said to his roughly few thousand supporters gathered in the sun not socially distanced. Not many wore masks even though some people had masks dangling from their necks.

The presidential race is in a dead-heat contest in North Carolina, where Biden has 49% support among likely voters in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll in the state, while Trump has 48% support.

Trump narrowly won North Carolina in 2016.

-ABC News' Will Steakin

Oct 24, 1:51 pm

Trump says COVID-19 cases are up 'because we test'


President Donald Trump addressed supporters in Lumberton, North Carolina, where he attacked North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper.

"Get your governor to open up your state,” Trump said. "This guy should be defeated."

In response to former Vice President Joe Biden, who warned of a "dark winter" due to the pandemic, Trump said Saturday, "we gotta have spirit."

“I had it -- here I am!” he said.

Trump said children with COVID-19 have "a very strong immune system" and kids should "go back to school in North Carolina." Trump said "seconds" after being told his 14-year-old son, Barron, tested positive for COVID-19, he was told that the teenager "no longer has it."

The president said "cases are up in the United States -- that's because we test." The U.S. on Friday saw its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. "If we tested half cases would be half," the president argued.

The roughly few thousand supporters gathered in the sun were not socially distanced. Not many wore masks even though some people had masks dangling from their necks.

North Carolina’s presidential race is in a dead-heat contest in a state that’s backed Democratic presidential candidates just twice in the last half century.

Biden has 49% support among likely voters in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll in the state, while Trump has 48% support.

Trump narrowly won North Carolina in 2016.

Oct 24, 1:13 pm

Long lines at NYC early voting locations


New Yorkers, many clad in face masks, are waiting in long lines Saturday to cast their early ballots on the first day of in-person voting.

Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center are among the venues transformed into voting centers.

Oct 24, 12:45 pm
Biden says Trump will accept election results: 'I'm not worried about any coup'
Former Vice President Joe Biden said on the "Pod Save America" podcast that Trump will accept the results of the election and he's "not worried about any coup."

"I guarantee you, he'll accept the results, and he'll be out in -- there's no one gonna stick with him," Biden told hosts Dan Pfeiffer and Jon Lovett in an interview taped Friday and posted Saturday morning.

-- John Verhovek

Oct 24, 12:26 pm

Biden says Trump will accept election results: 'I'm not worried about any coup'


Former Vice President Joe Biden said on the "Pod Save America" podcast that Trump will accept the results of the election and he's "not worried about any coup."

"I guarantee you, he'll accept the results, and he'll be out in -- there's no one gonna stick with him," Biden told hosts Dan Pfeiffer and Jon Lovett in an interview taped Friday and posted Saturday morning.

Oct 24, 12:15 pm

Biden: 'This president cares more about the stock market than he does you'


The election "may come down to Pennsylvania," former Vice President Joe Biden said at a drive-in event in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

"And I believe in you, I believe in my state," said Biden, a Scranton native.

Biden then turned to attack President Donald Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Yesterday while he is telling us everything is alright, we saw the highest number -- 85,000 new cases in one day," Biden said.

At a Friday night rally, Trump told his supporters the virus is "going away."

Biden warned of a "dark winter ahead unless we change our ways."

"All because this president cares more about the stock market than he does you," Biden said.

Oct 24, 11:27 am

Biden tests negative for COVID-19

Former Vice President Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Saturday, marking his 14th negative test since the president announced he was diagnosed.

Oct 24, 10:42 am

Trump votes early in Florida

President Trump voted early at the Palm Beach County Library in West Palm Beach, Florida, Saturday morning as his supporters lined the streets outside holding American flags and Trump signs.

Some Trump supporters were heard shouting, "Four more years!"

The president voted on a paper ballot. No one was in the room with him at the time.

After casting his ballot, Trump briefly spoke to reporters, calling it an "honor to be voting in this great area."

Trump said his vote was "very secure."

Asked who he voted for, the president said, "A guy named Trump."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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SDI Production/iStock

By JENNI GOLDSTEIN, ABC News

(FLORIDA) -- Convicted felons in Florida who are voting for the first time under Florida’s Amendment 4 could potentially swing the November election. Under this Amendment, a person convicted of a felony in Florida as of 2018 is eligible to vote after completing all terms of his or her sentence.

ABC’s Lionel Moise spoke with Tampa resident Pastor Clifford Tyson, who voted in a Presidential election for the first time in 42 years. 

Lionel Moise’s full report can be heard on the ABC News "Perspective" podcast

“It felt wonderful because I had my 90-year-old father with me, also I had my 26-year-old son,” said Tyson.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot initiative in 2018. Previously, the state of Florida disenfranchised everyone who had a felony conviction.

“Florida used to have the worst system in the country when it came to felony disenfranchisement,” said Julie Ebenstein, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s voting rights project. According to Ebenstein, when Amendment 4 was passed, about 1.6 million convicted felons in the state were not allowed to vote.

“Politicians in Florida, unfortunately, in 2019 passed a law that interpreted all terms of sentence to include payment of legal financial obligation,” said Attorney Ebenstein.

Just like in many other states, people are charged fees and fines when they are convicted of an offense. The ACLU along with several other groups sued to block the financial requirement, but in September of 2020 a federal appeals court ruled that felons are required to pay all expenses before they can vote.

Those willing and able to pay those fines and fees sometimes find it difficult to do so.

“It's one thing to be able to say to folks, ‘Hey, you got to pay back your fines and fees in order to vote.’ It's another thing when those folks show up and say ‘How much do I owe?’ The state says, ‘Oh, well, we can't really tell you because there are 67 counties and it's really complicated,’” said Neel Sukhatme, an associate professor of law at Georgetown University and the co-founder and director of the non-partisan group Free Our Vote

Sukhatme argues that regardless of your political background, convicted felons should have accurate information on how much they owe in fines and fees.

The Free Our Vote team gathered and cross-reference data sets from across the state. This includes the Clerk of Courts, Department of Corrections and voter registration records. The goal was to make Free Our Vote into a clearinghouse, where those convicted of felonies could get the information they needed on what specific payments they owed and where they could resolve them.

It was a life-changing moment for Pastor Tyson when found out his balance in Hillsborough County was zero dollars. He is now trying to encourage others to carry out their civic duty and exercise their right to vote.

“They live to vote and die trying to vote. My vote is just as important as theirs. My rights are just as important to me. I made some mistakes back in those days, I lost that right. But I paid my dues to society,” said Pastor Tyson.

According to Florida Department of State spokesperson Mark Ard, the state does not separately track registered voters who had their voting rights restored under Amendment 4. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition estimates that since it passed, 67,000 people with prior felony convictions were able to register to vote.

Florida is a closely watched state as the November election approaches. 29 electorates are up for grabs. 

“It’s Florida, six hundred votes can make the difference in national Presidential elections. But I hope that those who are now registered, who passed the registration deadline, will go to the polls and cast their ballot and will join in the Democratic process in a very exciting time to be involved,” said Attorney Ebenstein.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

 

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Official White House Photo by Shealah CraigheadBY: MEREDITH DELISO, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- A lawyer for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner threatened legal action against the Lincoln Project over New York City billboards that depict the pair as showing "indifference" toward the toll of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter shared by the anti-Trump Republican group.

One of the ads, erected this week in Times Square, depicts a smiling Trump gesturing toward the numbers of New Yorkers and Americans who have so far died from COVID-19. In an adjacent ad, her husband is pictured along with the quote, "[New Yorkers] are going to suffer and that's their problem," attributed to him.

Their lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, called the ads "false, malicious and defamatory" in a cease-and-desist letter the Lincoln Project posted on Twitter Friday.

"Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement, Ms. Trump never made any such gesture, and the Lincoln Project's representations that they did are an outrageous and shameful libel," the letter said. "If these billboard ads are not immediately removed, we will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages."

Nuts! pic.twitter.com/XxxkG43z3W

— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) October 24, 2020


An hour after sharing the letter, the Lincoln Project responded that the "billboards will stay up" and called the White House advisers "entitled, out-of-touch bullies."

Jared and Ivanka have always been entitled, out-of-touch bullies who have never given the slightest indication they have any regard for the American people.

We plan on showing them the same level of respect.

Our full statement: pic.twitter.com/M3K5nOE5qd

— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) October 24, 2020


"The level of indignant outrage Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have shown towards The Lincoln Project for exposing their indifference for the more than 223,000 people who have lost their lives due to their reckless mismanagement of COVID-19 is comical," the group said in a statement.

The image of the president's eldest daughter appears to have been taken from a controversial social media post she made in July, in which she posed with a can of Goya beans.

The quote attributed to Kushner was pulled from a September Vanity Fair article. In it, a source alleged that Kushner said that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "didn't pound the phones hard enough to get PPE for his state…. His people are going to suffer and that's their problem."

On Thursday, the Lincoln Project posted photos of the new billboards on Twitter, saying, "It's a good morning in Times Square for Ivanka and Jared."

In another post, the group said, "There must be accountability for the lying and deaths -- this is just the start."

ABC News reached out to Kasowitz for comment.

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Official White House Photo by Shealah CraigheadBY: SOO RIN KIM, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump's reelection team kicked off 2020 with what seemed like an unbeatable cash advantage, boasting a massive fundraising operation, bolstered by the joint efforts of the Republican Party.

Fast-forward 10 months and they've burned through a whopping $1.4 billion of the more than $1.6 billion raised over the last two years, struggling to keep up with former Vice President Joe Biden, more than what former President Barack Obama's reelection campaign and the Democrats had raised and spent by the end of the 2012 cycle.

By mid-October, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party reelection team were left with $223.5 million in the bank. The Trump campaign itself only had $43 million entering the final three weeks of the presidential election.

The revealing figures, released as the two presidential candidates debated on stage Thursday night for the last time before Election Day, came after the campaign blew through $63 million in the first two weeks of October alone -- a critical time when it only brought in $44 million. The vast majority of the money spent during that time -- nearly $45 million -- went to television and online advertising, according to the latest disclosure report filed to the Federal Election Commission, as Biden and pro-Biden efforts ramped up his ad spending.

By comparison, the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party had a total of $331 million in the bank by mid-October -- with the Biden campaign boasting $162 million of that.

At the debate, Trump acknowledged his Democratic challenger has raised "tremendous amounts of money" but said "every time you raise money, deals are made," a similar rhetoric he has maintained during the 2016 election as he poured more than $66 million of his own money into his first White House bid. Back in 2015, he said "by self-funding my campaign, I am not controlled by my donors, special interests or lobbyists," but later took in six-figure donations during the general election. The president's massive reelection campaign this year, has been funded entirely by similarly small and big donors, with no contribution from the president himself.

Trump's money fortunes have changed dramatically in just a few months: his campaign, the Republican National Committee and their two joint fundraising committees started out $180 million ahead of the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee this spring.

Republican National Committee spokesperson Mike Reed, however, maintained that the Republican Party in a "very strong financial position," comparing Trump's reelection cash on hand to that of presidential campaigns from previous elections around this time, including Trump's 2016 campaign.

"Because we have been breaking fundraising records for years, we were able to build the largest ground game operation in history," Reed said in a statement to ABC News. "This is something the Democrats simply cannot match, no matter how much late money they raise."

Trump campaign spokesperson Samantha Zager also emphasized the Trump campaign had a lead over the Biden campaign on its "massive ground game, travel to key states, and ads on digital, TV, and radio.

"As Hillary Clinton proved when she outspent us 2-to-1 in 2016, no amount of money can buy the presidency -- voters have to be enthusiastic about casting their ballot for a candidate, and that's only happening for President Trump," Zager wrote in a statement to ABC News.

But some of the expenditures have raised eyebrows, including hundreds of millions that have gone to alleged "pass-through" vendors that have been accused of masking the ultimate recipient of the money. A portion of those expenditures have been the subject of a Federal Election Commission complaint.

So where has the president's money gone?

Over the last two years, Trump's team has spent the largest portion of that cash on advertising -- more than $204 million on television and radio airtime and at least $286 million on various online, digital and text ads. Another significant chunk -- $208 million -- has gone to the campaign and the Republican Party's direct mail operation, a more traditional form of advertising.

Nearly $90 million was spent just to obtain or rent donor lists. Another $21 million was spent on fundraising consulting. And another $56 million spent on campaign merchandise and donor gifts, including hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on purchasing Donald Trump Jr.'s two books, "Triggered" and "Liberal Privilege."

Reed said the RNC's voter contact operation, including field, data and digital spending, have been a major part of its spending, and that by the end of the cycle, the RNC alone will have spent $300 million on those efforts. "We are knocking over four million doors a week with our 2.5 million strong volunteer army, and reaching millions more on the phones," Reed said.

More than $5 million of campaign cash has also gone to Trump's various hotels, resorts and other buildings over the last two years, according to the records. Just in the last four months, Trump Victory, which raises money from some of Trump's most generous donors spent nearly $900,000 at Trump-branded properties for facility rental and catering. Critics say political spending at Trump properties, including that from the president's own campaign, is a conflict of interest, but the campaign and the Republican Party have maintained that there's nothing wrong with the practice since they pay market rates for venues and report the expenditures as required by law.

Another pricey line-item: legal bills. The president's team has mobilized an army of attorney's preparing for any potential post-Election Day legal battles, which could be costly. Over the past two years, the Trump campaign, the RNC and the shared committees have spent $41 million on legal matters, including battling several big-name legal challenges such as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and the congressional impeachment proceedings.

At least $55 million has been spent on payroll and other associated fees over the last two years, roughly the same amount spent on payroll by former President Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012. This includes more than $600,000 -- or more than $24,000 a month -- to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and $372,000 -- or roughly $20,000 monthly -- to Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh. DNC Chairman Tom Perez receives about $17,500 a month, while Biden's deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield is paid about $9,000 a month.

Questions about staff payments

But it's difficult to glean just how much some of the president's top team members are making. Much of the payments are shrouded in secrecy by a host of obscure LLCs that are hard to connect to specific individuals that receive payments under general descriptions like "consulting," "services" or "research," which is common among many campaigns and groups across the aisle.

For example, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien hasn't received direct payments from the Trump campaign, but a firm connected to him named has. Revolution Strategies received more than $310,000 from the campaign for "political consulting" over the last two years.

Stepien's predecessor, Brad Parscale, received more than $17 million through his firm Parscale Strategy for digital and political consulting over the last two years, but it's unclear how much of that went into his pocket.

Parscale's firm, in particular, was subject of a FEC complaint in July, accusing the Trump campaign of obscuring nearly $170 million worth of campaign spending over the last two years through so-called "pass through" vendors," including Parscale's firm.

In the complaint, Campaign Legal Center claimed Parscale Strategy and American Made Media Consultants -- two companies set up and run by campaign leadership including Parscale -- appeared to provide a variety of services to the campaign, but really served as "clearing house" firms that dole out contracts and payments to various subcontractors and vendors without revealing the ultimate recipients of the donor money. The lack of disclosure of the campaign's payments to subcontractors, Campaign Legal Center wrote in the complaint, is a violation of the FEC rule that requires campaigns to itemize disbursements to its ultimate vendors.

"Trump declared his 2020 candidacy on his first day of office and has been raising money ever since," said Brendan Fischer, the director of federal reform at Campaign Legal Center, a Washington-based nonpartisan group. "But it is difficult to assess how the Trump campaign has burned through the money raised because it has disguised hundreds of millions of dollars of its spending."

American Made Media Consultants, which was set up and run by campaign leadership in 2018, is the single biggest recipient of the Trump reelection effort's money, receiving much of the massive advertising and paid media expenditures -- a whopping $453 million over the last two years, mostly for media placement and advertising, including $68 million in just the first two weeks of October.

On the accusations against Parscale Strategy and American Made Media Consultants, Fischer said, "This scheme flies in the face of transparency requirements mandated by federal law, and it leaves voters and donors in the dark about where the campaign's funds are actually going."

At the time the complaint was filed, Parscale told ABC News that "This is just political theater 100 days out." The Trump campaign, on the role of the two vendors and the payments, told ABC News at that time that the campaign complies with all campaign finance laws and regulations.

It's unclear if the Federal Election Commission has taken any action on the complaint.

ABC News' Will Steakin and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

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Boogich/iStockBY: CRISTINA CORUJO, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- With the election approaching and early voting underway, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are relying on the Puerto Rican vote in swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania.

For years, voter participation among Puerto Ricans in the mainland hasn't necessarily been high compared to its overall population, according to a 2016 research brief from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York.

A complex electoral system combined with the economic and educational standing of many mainland Puerto Ricans has had a lot to do with lower turnout figures, experts told ABC News.

"People with higher income and higher scholarship tend to participate more in politics than those with less," said Carlos Vargas-Ramos of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Despite historically low numbers of participation, voter turnout among Puerto Ricans in presidential elections has increased recently -- in 2012, nearly 53% voted, up from a low in 2000 of about 46%, the data shows. According to a report produced by the University of South Florida, that figure rose again in 2016 to almost 55%.

While migration can be linked to this increase, experts said spending more time in the U.S. mainland has a significant effect on turnout.

"In political science, it's clear that people who go out and vote tend to be people who have spent a prolonged period of time in a residence," Vargas-Ramos added.

According to the 2016 report, in 2012 about 51% of Puerto Ricans who'd lived at the same address for at least five years voted, compared with 13% of Puerto Ricans who'd live at their current residence for less than a year.

"They have a better understanding of the electoral system compared to those who recently arrived from the island," Vargas-Ramos told ABC News.

Residents still in Puerto Rico can vote in presidential primaries but not general elections, despite being U.S. citizens.

Historically, the island has had three local political parties -- the Popular Democrat Party, which favors ties with the mainland U.S., the New Progressives, who are pro-statehood, and the Puerto Rican Independence Party, which favors independence. The majority of individuals living on the island don't affiliate themselves with a mainland political party.

Migration and voting

The population of Puerto Rico was declining before Hurricane Maria struck in September 2017.

From 2010 to 2017, over half a million left the island, with an estimated 135,000 more fleeing after the storm, according to the Center For Puerto Rican Studies.

"Hurricane Maria just accelerated what was already going on," said Elizabeth Aranda, coauthor of the report "Understanding Puerto Rican Voting in the United States."

Puerto Rico's economy began seeing signs of a recession in 2006, and the island effectively declared bankruptcy in 2016 when President Barack Obama signed a law halting debt payments on more than $100 billion.

"It's been one continual recession," Aranda added. Jobs have been lost, government budgets have been cut, schools have been closed.

"People have continued to come here for jobs for a better quality of life," Aranda said, referring to the mainland.

Both Aranda and Vargas-Ramos agreed that the more time Puerto Ricans spend in the U.S., the more politically involved they'll become.

"The longer they're in the U.S., the more likely they will register to vote and affiliate with a particular political party," Aranda told ABC News.

Types of Puerto Rican votes


In 2017, more than 5.6 million Puerto Ricans lived on the mainland, according to the Pew Research Center. As of 2019, 3.1 million people live on the island, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.

While both presidential candidates have addressed issues linked to the island recovering post-Maria, such measures appeal much more to those who recently left the island than to second- or third-generation Puerto Ricans.

"Sadly," Vargas-Ramos explained, "that gives you an idea of the lack of knowledge of the presidential candidates from Puerto Ricans in the United States, when the only way to motivate them to go out and vote is address issues on the island."

It's when Puerto Ricans who left the island "start to see themselves more entrenched in American society" that they start to identify more with mainland issues than those more prevalent among those island dwellers, Aranda said. "There's a point at which people would maybe pivot, and if they don't pivot, then maybe they balance both."

As the number of people leaving the island is expected to increase amid the ongoing economic crisis, further aggravated by the pandemic, the power of the Puerto Rican vote will continue to increase, experts told ABC News.

"I do think that as Puerto Ricans make inroads in their local communities, and then maybe at the state level, that's going to drive them to the polls, for sure," Aranda said. "I think that there has to be a concerted and deliberate intentional effort on behalf of the political candidates to do outreach to the Puerto Rican community, to understand what their needs are, both now and in the future."

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Vladimir Vladimirov/iStockBY: MEREDITH DELISO, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- Mask-wearing, social distancing and good hand hygiene will continue to play their part in minimizing COVID-19 risk as millions head to the polls during a global pandemic. But voters can also expect to encounter new protocols, tools and, in some cases, polling sites to help keep people safe.

"No one should have to choose between their fundamental right to vote and their health," Hannah Klain, a fellow with the nonpartisan law and policy institute Brennan Center for Justice, told ABC News.

Here's a look at some of the safety measures in play this election season.

Enabling social distancing

Social distancing will continue to be enforced at polling sites, such as through markers on the ground, to help keep voters spaced 6 feet apart while they wait in line to cast their ballot.

Experts advise that a long line may not mean a long wait time, just that the polling site is enforcing social distancing and managing crowd size.

Some counties, including in Texas, North Carolina and Nevada, are implementing online wait-time technology so you can see the anticipated wait at your polling site and avoid peak times.

Expanding car voting

Curbside voting is not a new practice, with states like Virginia offering the car service for elderly and disabled voters. It may be a more popular option this election in states and counties where it's offered. Some states, including North Carolina, have expanded curbside voting to anyone who wants to use it.

This year, Harris County in Texas created a drive-thru voting option using portable voting machines to provide a "safer, socially-distant alternative to walk-in voting." As of Wednesday, more than 70,000 voters had voted across 10 locations, according to the county clerk. Voters with disabilities are also eligible for curbside voting at all polling sites in the county, which includes Houston.

Stadiums as polling places

Madison Square Garden in New York, Fenway Park in Boston and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, are just some of the stadiums debuting as polling places this election. The venues allow for ample social distancing, and, for those that are outdoors, optimal ventilation.

Plastic everywhere

Plastic partitions at check-in are among the Bipartisan Policy Center and Cleveland Clinic's recommendations for safe voting. And so far, plexiglass between voters and poll workers is a common sight at polling places across the country.

Plastic sheets between voting booths are also being installed at some polling sites to help protect voters.

Rethinking ballot markers

"Ballot-marking procedures should be established to minimize viral transmission," the Brennan Center and the Infectious Diseases Society of America advised in their guidance for healthy in-person voting.

That might look like Q-tips, finger covers or other disposable devices. Harris County has opted for disposable plastic finger covers that voters can use while touching voting machines this election.

Voters may also want to bring their own supplies, such as a pen or stylus for touchscreen machines, the organizations recommend. Just make sure to verify with an election official before using your own supplies, they note.

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Михаил Руденко/iStockBY: PIERRE THOMAS, JACK DATE, MIKE LEVINE AND ALEXANDER MALLIN, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- Russian state actors have conducted a campaign since at least September against a wide variety of targets, including dozens of "government and aviation networks," ABC News has learned. Russia successfully compromised network infrastructure in some government agencies, according to government officials.

U.S. officials told ABC News that systems containing election-related information from two counties in two separate states were successfully hacked by the Russian effort. A new Homeland Security Alert states, "As this recent malicious activity has been directed at [state, local, territorial and tribal (SLTT)] government networks, there may be some risk to elections information housed on (those) government networks."

While the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have seen no evidence that data has been altered, FBI and Homeland Security officials expressed concern that Russia "may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies and actions, or to delegitimize SLTT government entities."

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Russia and Iran had "taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to our elections," and that voter registration information had been obtained by both countries. Ratcliffe made the announcement during an unusual evening announcement at FBI headquarters, alongside FBI Director Christopher Wray, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and CISA Director Christopher Krebs.

The FBI and CISA said in an alert that there is no evidence to date to suggest that the Russians have "intentionally disrupted any aviation, education, elections or government operations or that integrity of elections data has been compromised."

Separately, sources say that Iran is also engaging in efforts to penetrate elections-related systems. According to a DHS bulletin about Iranian activities, "Actors are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread obtained U.S. voter-registration data, anti-American propaganda, and misinformation about voter suppression, voter fraud, and ballot fraud."

Though Ratcliffe focused on Iran's efforts to send spoofed emails designed to intimidated voters in the U.S., officials maintain that Russia remains a more potent threat, using a range of efforts to undermine confidence in the democratic process.

The Kremlin denied it is meddling in the U.S. election following the new allegations from the DNI on Wednesday.

Separately, sources say that Iran is also engaging in efforts to penetrate elections-related systems. According to a DHS bulletin about Iranian activities, "Actors are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread obtained U.S. voter-registration data, anti-American propaganda, and misinformation about voter suppression, voter fraud, and ballot fraud."

Though Ratcliffe focused on Iran's efforts to send spoofed emails designed to intimidated voters in the U.S., officials maintain that Russia remains a more potent threat, using a range of efforts to undermine confidence in the democratic process.

The Kremlin denied it is meddling in the U.S. election following the new allegations from the DNI on Wednesday.

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3dfoto/iStockBy JOHN VERHOVEK, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- As new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in many parts of the United States, former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign is rolling out a new ad during tonight's World Series game that features an Arizona small business owner who criticizes President Donald Trump's response to the pandemic, saying the continued spread of the virus makes her fear for her own life.

"Every day seems to be getting a little worse, and I don't think [Trump] has a way to get this under control. I mean, I'm afraid of dying. I'm afraid of not seeing my kid grow up," says Dina, a salon owner in Arizona, in the 60-second ad that will debut nationally on Friday night during Game 3 of the World Series.

"Looking at the numbers rising every day, knowing somebody who died, that kind of thing just starts hitting home really hard. This is serious," adds Dina, who's previously appeared in ads supporting Biden's campaign. "It starts at the top. It starts with Donald Trump. Even when Sept. 11th happened, I felt like we were united as a country. It is not like that now. He has divided all of us."

The ad comes the day after Biden and Trump clashed during the final presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee, over the federal government's response to the pandemic, and after Biden's speech this afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware, laying out how his administration would work to reduce virus spread.

"As many as 210,000 avoidable deaths," Biden said on Friday, referring then to Trump, "but there's not much he would do differently? The United States is 4% of the entire world's population, yet we make up 20% of all the deaths worldwide. If this is a success, what does failure look like?"

The recent uptick in cases includes a record number of new cases in nine states reported on Thursday. Trump has repeatedly sought to portray a much rosier picture of the nation's battle with a virus that has claimed over 220,000 American lives.

"It will go away, and as I say, we're rounding the turn. We're rounding the corner. It's going away," Trump said at Thursday's debate.

The new ad is the third that the Biden campaign, which smashed fundraising records this cycle, is running during this year's World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.

Biden is set to campaign in Pennsylvania on Saturday, while Trump, continuing a torrid pace on the trail as well, is scheduled to hold three rallies in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, a state that has seen a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

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yorkfoto/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- With 11 days to go until Election Day and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, voters have turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots early.

More than 50 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.

The candidates faced off in the final presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle from Belmont University in Nashville Thursday evening -- their last chance to pitch themselves to tens of millions of voters in primetime before Nov. 3.

In the final weeks of campaigning, the president has remained on defense as polls show him trailing nationally and in several battleground states key to his reelection hopes. He has two rallies in Florida today.

Biden, maintaining a lead in national polls -- his largest of the election, according to FiveThirtyEight's average -- stayed off the trail ahead of the debate, a pattern for the former vice president. On Friday, he's scheduled to deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on COVID-19 and the economy.

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.

Here's how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

Oct 23, 6:22 pm
Trump rallies at The Villages in Florida amid slipping support among seniors


In a telling sign of concern in Trump circles over slipping support among seniors, Trump held a rally this afternoon at The Villages, a sprawling mecca for retirees in a conservative pocket of central Florida -- a state he narrowly won in 2016 but is key to a 2020 victory.

"Eleven days from now, we're going to win the state of Florida. We're going to win four more years in the White House. I think Joe Biden proved last night that he's not capable of being president of the United States," Trump said, slamming Biden for painting a bleak picture of the pandemic at the final debate.

"Last night he said America is entering a dark winter. Isn't that really inspirational?" Trump continued. "He's trying to scare people basically. ... But we're not entering a dark winter. We're entering the final turn and approaching the light at the end of the tunnel."

Trump claimed that the virus is "rounding the corner beautifully" -- just one day after the U.S. set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases.

The president also teased that he'll be voting in person on Saturday in West Palm Beach. Though the president has voted via an absentee ballot in the past, he told the crowd of supporters he prefers to vote in person.

"I'm old fashioned, I guess. I like to get in line. And if I have to stand there for two hours -- maybe they'll move you up a little bit -- but I like to vote," Trump said. "Get out and vote."

Oct 23, 4:35 pm
Harris appeals to HBCU grads, Black men at back-to-back events in Atlanta


Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., met with students of Historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, and participated in a panel discussion focused on Black men this afternoon in Atlanta at The Gathering Spot, a black-owned social club and co-working space that caters to young Black professionals.

Harris first met with HBCU students, including many from the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of Black colleges in the city. Harris, herself a graduate of an HBCU -- Howard University  -- gave brief remarks about the value of an HBCU education.

"It's about being in an environment where every message you receive challenges you to be great, because it knows your greatness. It's not something you have to prove," Harris said.

Harris made an appeal to students to get out the vote for the Biden-Harris ticket, promising a multimillion-dollar investment in HBCUs and talking about the history of suppressing the Black vote.

"We need to vote to honor the ancestors, people like the late great John Lewis, right?" she said. "There's a reason to vote, which is that there's so much at stake in the outcome of this election.”

Harris then moved to another part of the building for a panel discussion focused on Black men in which she touted aspects of Biden’s Build Back Better plan intended to support Black communities, including increasing the minimum wage and low-interest loans for minority-owned small businesses.

-ABC News' Averi Harper

Oct 23, 3:50 pm
Biden slams Trump's handling of COVID-19, outlines his own plan


In afternoon remarks on COVID-19 and the economy, Biden slammed Trump for what he called his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and predicted a “dark winter ahead” as the virus resurges in parts of the country.

“My fellow Americans, last night, we saw the president of the United States lie to the American people, and repeatedly lie, about the state of this pandemic,” Biden began, reading from a teleprompter for the speech. “As I told him last night, we're not learning to live with it, we're learning to die with it.”

Biden then laid out his plan to beat COVID-19 which includes, he said, enacting a national testing strategy, asking Congress for another relief bill to sign by the end of January, building a national core of contact tracers and appointing a supply commander to ensure the U.S. can manufacture critical supplies at home.

He also emphasized universal masking saying he would ask every governor to mandate mask wearing in their states and turn to local officials if they refused, along with making mask-wearing a mandatory practice  in federal buildings and on interstate transportation.

Oct 23, 2:57 pm
Trump departs for Florida eyeing senior vote


The president departed the White House South Lawn this afternoon for the battleground of Florida, a state he narrowly won in 2016, to court the senior vote first with a rally in The Villages, a sprawling mecca for retirees in a conservative pocket of central Florida.

Underpinning Trump's success in 2016 was, in part, an army of seniors that made up a large slice of the electorate and backed him by 7 percentage points over Hillary Clinton, according to national exit poll data. Older voters are among the most likely to vote and have sided with Republican nominees in every presidential election since 2004, reinforcing Trump four years ago and helping tilt key battleground states in his favor.

But this cycle, Biden is cutting into Trump's coalition, making significant gains with older voters across the U.S., particularly in must-win states for Trump. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found the two men running even among likely voters 65 and older nationally.

Trump is leading Biden by 8 points among likely voters over 65 in Florida, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll -- a margin slashed by roughly half compared with 2016 when he carried this demographic by 17 points in the state.

Sources told ABC News Trump campaign aides have grown weary of the president's declining support among older Americans, a group they know is critical to his reelection chances.

-ABC News’ Kendall Karson and Will Steakin

Oct 23, 12:51 pm
Harris defends Biden’s fossil fuel comment made during debate


Upon landing in Atlanta, Sen. Kamala Harris was asked to give her response to workers in the energy sector who might be worried about Biden's remark at the debate that his administration would transition out of the oil industry over time and end federal subsidies for fossil fuels.

"Let’s be really clear about this. Joe Biden is not going to ban fracking," Harris said. "He is going to deal with oil subsidies but that’s -- you know the president likes to put everything out of context, but let’s be clear what Joe was talking about was banning subsidies but he will not ban fracking in America."

Harris' defense of her running mate comes as Trump and his campaign have seized on the comment, claiming Biden has said in the past he would ban all fracking. The former vice president insists he said he would ban fracking on federal lands, not altogether.

It also comes as Trump and Biden court the battleground state of Pennsylvania, key to a pathway to the White House.

The comments are significant as Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. More natural gas was fracked from Pennsylvania wells in 2019 than in any prior year, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

-ABC News' Averi Harper

Oct 23, 12:06 pm
GOP candidates on the trail


Here’s where the candidates on the Republican ticket are campaigning today:


President Donald Trump:


Trump is slated to travel to Florida this afternoon for a campaign rally at The Villages, a massive Republican retirement community, at 4:30 p.m. Later on, he’s scheduled to host a second campaign rally in Pensacola at 8 p.m. as he aims to secure the battleground state he narrowly won in 2016.

The president is also expected to early vote in West Palm Beach on Saturday, according to the White House.

Vice President Mike Pence:


The vice president is scheduled to campaign in the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, kicking off the day at an afternoon rally in Swanton, Ohio, at 1p.m. before heading to West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, for a 4:30 p.m. rally.

Oct 23, 11:44 am
Biden backtracks on transitioning away from oil


In the final moments of the debate, Biden made what both he and Trump referred to as a “big statement” when the former vice president said, "I'd have a transition from the oil industry, yes.”

Trump and his campaign immediately seized on the comment.

"He's going to destroy the oil industry,” Trump said. “Will you remember that, Texas?... Will you remember that, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?"

Biden went on to say the oil industry pollutes "significantly" and that he would stop giving the oil industry federal subsidies.

As he departed Nashville Thursday, Biden emphasized to reporters the transition from oil would happen over time and ultimately create new jobs.

While the Trump campaign told reporters the plan "would kill millions of jobs and cripple our economy," Trump delivered on a promise he made on the debate stage, when he posted a video of spliced news clips on Twitter late Thursday -- with the caption, "Here you go @JoeBiden" -- to rebut Biden's claim that he never said he wants to end fossil fuels and ban fracking.

Trump might be right that Biden's words on energy and oil could frighten voters already jittery on the economy, but ABC News’ Deputy Political Director Mary Alice Parks notes that if the president is really worried about holding Oklahoma or Texas at this stage, his nerves themselves are telling.

Oct 23, 11:21 am
Five key takeaways from the final presidential debate

After the second presidential debate was canceled following Trump's coronavirus diagnosis and subsequent hospitalization, both he and Biden returned to the stage Thursday night for their final opportunity to draw direct contrasts with one another before Election Day.

For 90 relatively-civil minutes, the pair sparred over a range of topics including the pandemic, health care, election security, immigration, their personal financial entanglements and climate change, among other things, guided by moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News.

The closing arguments arrived, however, on a day in which the number of early votes cast this year eclipsed the number of early votes total in 2016 -- still with days to go until Nov. 3. Over 50 million Americans have already voted, which leaves a winnowing group of persuadable individuals for Trump and Biden to win over.

Though there was some doubt about whether the event would take place after Trump repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates’ attempt to hold a virtual second debate prior to its eventual cancelation -- and later its decision to mute the candidates' microphones during portions of Thursday's discussion -- the debate moved forward without delay and largely absent of the repeated interruptions that marred the first.

Click here to read five key takeaways from the final presidential debate.


-ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett and Adam Kelsey


Oct 23, 10:47 am
Trump still searching for Biden who isn’t


He's trailing in the polls, running low on cash and watching campaign aides scramble to avoid blame for impending defeat.

For all that, Trump still might have the campaign where he wants it. If that's the case, he still needs his opponent to be someone and something that he isn't quite -- or hasn't yet been, in the minds of voters who still mostly like him.

The second and final debate was a study in contrasts from the first.

One thing that didn't change, though, was Trump's attempts to make Biden out as a corrupt and incompetent extremist. The plays that worked against Hillary Clinton and may have worked against Bernie Sanders have shown few signs of effectiveness against Biden.

Biden sought to bring the conversation back to bigger issues and called Trump "confused": "He thinks he's running against somebody else."

The former vice president gave Trump some of what he wanted late in the debate when he said he would "transition from the oil industry."

It's an easy and obvious line of attack for Republicans who want and need to frame Biden as a puppet of the far left. But redefining Biden will remain difficult -- even if the president found a way to stay on message from here.

-ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein

Oct 23, 10:10 am
Pence votes in-person in Indiana


Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence cast their ballots in-person this morning back home in Indiana.

They were originally scheduled to early vote the week of the vice-presidential debate but that was rescheduled to today.

Afterward, they both gave a thumbs up to the cameras.

When a local reporter asked Pence if there was anything he’d like to say, he answered: "Great honor. And great to be back home again. Thank you."

Pence has campaign stops today in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He holds two rallies in Florida on Saturday.

-ABC News' Justin Gomez


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