Biden marks Iowa rise from caucus collapse to fall contender

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz.

A rally headlined by President Donald Trump is in the works at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport for 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“We’ve signed a contract with the (Republican National Committee) and their lawyers are reviewing it now,” Floyd County Commission Chair Scotty Hancock said Friday evening.

The RNC will rent the airport for $3,000 a day for two days with setup on Saturday and the event on Sunday.

Tickets are available on DonaldJTrump.com under the events page

“This is going to be a huge economy booster for our area,” Hancock said. “Our community is an important one and a visit by the President of the United States shows that. We should all get together and support this visit.”

The Rome airport has been host to annual Republican Party rallies in years past and Vice President Mike Pence flew in to the airport for a private event at Barnsley Resort in August 2019.

According to an Associated Press evaluation of FAA records, Trump will be in Sterling Heights, Michigan, as well as Rome and Miami-Opa-locka, Florida, on Sunday. Then he’s scheduled for Melbourne, Florida, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Monday.

President Trump is running a tight race against Democratic challenger Joe Biden — even in Georgia, according to recent polls. In 2016, neither Trump nor Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton visited Georgia right before the election. However, within the past week both presidential candidates have visited the state.

Buddy Childers, who served Floyd County for 30 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, said he can’t recall when the last sitting president of the United States visited Floyd County. Jimmy Carter visited when he was campaigning for the post, Childers said, and he wasn’t sure if Woodrow Wilson visited while he was in the White House — although he lived here for a time.

Northwest Georgia’s 14th Congressional District candidate Marjorie Greene posted on her Facebook page that the Republican Party is seeking volunteers.

“We need people who will volunteer to help at the Trump rally in planning for Sunday here in Rome,” Greene wrote. “Please contact (Floyd County GOP chair) Luke Martin and give him your name and phone number to volunteer! Let’s have the greatest rally in Georgia for President Trump!”

Another post on the Floyd County Republican Party page called for “anyone interested in being a potential volunteer for this event, please email Luke Martin at lam422@gmail.com or Layla Shipman at laylas36@gmail.com.”

Election is Tuesday

The Associated Press reported that more than 73 million Americans have already voted and Trump and Biden are trying to energize the millions more who will vote on Tuesday.

While the Election Day vote traditionally favors Republicans and early votes tend toward Democrats, the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed more than 227,000 people in the United States — has injected new uncertainty.

Trump and Biden appeared in Tampa hours apart on Thursday. They’re visiting the western end of the state’s Interstate 4 corridor, an area known for rapid residential growth, sprawling suburbs and its status as an ever-changing, hard-fought battleground during presidential elections.

“You hold the power. If Florida goes blue, it’s over,” Biden told supporters Thursday.

Trump was celebrating a new federal estimate that the economy grew at a stunning 33.1% annual rate in the July-September quarter — by far the largest quarterly gain on record — making up ground from its epic plunge in the spring, when the eruption of the coronavirus closed businesses and threw tens of millions out of work.

“So glad this great GDP number came out before November 3rd,” Trump said in a tweet, predicting dire consequences if Biden is elected.

But economists warned that the economy is already weakening again and facing renewed threats as confirmed viral cases surge, hiring has slowed and federal stimulus help has largely run out.

Biden, in a statement, criticized Trump over the report. “The recovery is slowing if not stalling,” he said, “and the recovery that is happening is helping those at the top but leaving tens of millions of working families and small businesses behind.”

The visits come as Biden has framed his closing argument to voters on responsible management of the COVID-19 pandemic and Trump promises that the nation is on course to “vanquish the virus” even as it sets records for confirmed new infections.

Biden heads later in the week to three more states Trump won in 2016: Iowa, Wisconsin and then Michigan, where he’ll hold a joint Saturday rally with former President Barack Obama. Biden’s campaign also announced he will visit Minnesota Friday hours before Trump holds a rally in one of the few Clinton-voting states Trump is hoping to pick up this year.

Trump is betting on the GOP’s vast field and data operations, and efforts known as “poll flushing” — monitoring precinct lists for who has and has not yet voted — to provide a late boost of votes on Election Day. The Republican National Committee, which has more than 3,000 field staff and claims more than 2.5 million volunteers, will use that information to reach out to Trump supporters to ensure they get to the polls.

Nowhere may those efforts be more important than in Florida. Without the battleground state’s 29 electoral votes, Trump’s path to victory is exceptionally difficult.

Trump is banking on local news coverage of his visit to overcome a substantial advertising deficit stemming from a late cash crunch. Biden and his allies are outspending Trump and his backers by more than 3-to-1 in Florida — about $23 million to about $7 million — in the final push to Election Day, according to data from ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG.

Biden, meanwhile, is pouring tens of millions of dollars into a torrent of online advertising that will deliver his closing message of the presidential campaign, highlighting his promise to govern for all Americans while blasting Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed national campaign coverage to this report.

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