With eight days to go until the US election, President Donald Trump addressed boisterous rallies in Pennsylvania on Monday, while Democrat Joe Biden made a low-key appearance in the state considered crucial to the chances of victory for both men.
"We win Pennsylvania, we win the whole ballgame," Trump told a rally in Martinsburg, his third and final event of the day, as he predicted a win in the state despite trailing Biden in most opinion polls.
Biden made a small-scale appearance in the city of Chester, near Philadelphia, meeting with about a dozen campaign volunteers and speaking with reporters. Biden said he was "not overconfident about anything" and "with the grace of God" he would win Pennsylvania, the state where he was born.
"I think we're going to win Michigan, I think we're going to win Wisconsin. I think we're going to win Minnesota. I think we have a fighting chance in Ohio. I think we have a fighting chance in North Carolina. We have a fighting chance in Georgia," Biden added, referring to other election battleground states.
Biden also stepped up his criticism of Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed about 225,000 people in the United States, saying: "The bottom line is, Donald Trump is the worst possible president, the worst possible person to lead us through this pandemic."
More than 62 million Americans have already cast ballots ahead of the Nov. 3 election, a record-breaking pace that could lead to the highest US voter turnout by percentage in more than a century.
Surging coronavirus cases in many parts of the country have dominated the campaign, along with news of a COVID-19 outbreak within Vice President Mike Pence's staff. Pence, who campaigned in Minnesota, tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday, his office said, after multiple senior aides tested positive over the weekend.
Despite Biden's solid lead in national opinion polls, the contest appears tighter in the most critical battleground states that could decide the outcome. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from Oct. 20 to 26 gave Biden a narrow advantage over Trump in Pennsylvania.
A state where a majority of voters can swing toward either major party, Pennsylvania has been heavily courted with frequent visits by both candidates. Trump went from Allentown to Lititz and then finally to Martinsburg, all towns outside the large suburban hubs where the race may be decided. Trump also planned multiple stops in Michigan and Wisconsin this week, as well as visits to Arizona, Nebraska and Nevada.