Trump, Biden plan dueling appearances in Tampa
President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are each planning appearances in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, a rare crossover of their campaign activities in the final sprint before Election Day.
The Trump campaign announced Wednesday that Trump would headline one of his signature rallies in Tampa on Thursday afternoon. The Biden campaign said earlier this week that the former vice president would travel to Broward County and Tampa to deliver remarks at two drive-in events.
Biden will speak in Tampa on Thursday evening, indicating he is unlikely to be in the city at the same time as the president.
Florida is one of several battleground states won by Trump in 2016 where the incumbent president is focusing his energy this week, underscoring the degree to which he is on defense against Biden.
Polls show a tight race between Trump and Biden in the Sunshine State, with the RealClearPolitics average of polls putting the president with a mere 0.4 percentage point advantage over his Democratic challenger. A Florida Atlantic University poll released on Tuesday — one week before Election Day — showed Biden with a 2 percentage point advantage over Trump, a result within the margin of error.
Trump and Biden have taken starkly different approaches to their campaign events during the pandemic, and their appearances in Tampa are certain to stand in contrast. Trump has continued to hold large rallies with crowds of thousands of people, many of them not wearing masks, despite the pandemic; Biden has opted for events with smaller audiences that allow for social distancing.
Biden and Trump have seen their paths cross before, with both candidates spending time in different parts of Pennsylvania on Monday.
Florida, like other states, has seen a surge in early voting over previous years, with nearly 6 million voters in the state having already cast their ballots in the 2020 elections.
Trump has traveled to Florida, which is also his home state, frequently during his reelection campaign. The president cast his ballot in Palm Beach County over the weekend after headlining a pair of rallies in Florida. Biden has also devoted time to the battleground and has dispatched other surrogates — including former President Obama — to make the case for a Biden presidency to Florida voters.
Updated at 1:40 p.m.