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The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden prepare to make final pitches to voters

The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden prepare to make final pitches to voters
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Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail: 

LEADING THE DAY:

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The 2020 election is in eight days and the candidates will be criss-crossing the country over the next week to make their final pitch to voters in the race for the White House.

Where the candidates are choosing to spend their ultravaluable final hours on the campaign trail tells us a lot about the state of the race, both in terms of offensive opportunities and defensive plays.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE’s campaign is playing a lot of defense, although a lot of that is due to the fact that the president won most of the swing states that were up for grabs in 2016.

Trump held three rallies across Pennsylvania on Monday, underscoring the importance of the Keystone State, which is viewed by many analysts as a potential tipping point state for the Electoral College.

On Tuesday, Trump will hit the other two former “blue wall” states he turned red in 2016 — Michigan and Wisconsin. 

A new University of Wisconsin poll out Monday found Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE stretching his lead across all three states. 

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The president also has a campaign stop in Omaha tomorrow, which will double as a play for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and neighboring Iowa. Trump carried the Hawkeye State by 9 points in 2016.

The president will end the week on a southwest swing through Arizona and Nevada. The polls are bleak for Republicans in Arizona, which Trump won narrowly in 2016.

Nevada represents an offensive play for Trump. Over the weekend, the president campaigned in New Hampshire, another state Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Federal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work Biden soars as leader of the free world MORE carried in 2016. Trump’s campaign is also spending heavily on the airwaves in Minnesota, where it’s seeking to end the longest drought in the country for a GOP presidential candidate. 

Trump and his campaign criticized Biden on Monday for having no scheduled appearances, while touting the president’s numerous upcoming rallies. 

However, Biden made a surprise stop in Chester, Pa., on Monday in an effort to appeal to voters in the swing state. The former vice president made a stop at voter center and took questions from reporters. 

Biden announced that he will be campaigning in Iowa, Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin, previewing what will likely be a busy final campaign stretch for the campaign. 

"I think we're going to win Michigan, Wisconsin, 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, a fighting chance in Iowa,” Biden told reporters. 

Biden will have some reinforcements on the campaign trail this week as well. Former President Obama is slated to visit Orlando, Fla., home to the critical I-4 corridor, on Tuesday. Meanwhile, vice presidential nominee Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Biden can rebuild trust in our justice system by prioritizing prosecutorial reform Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence MORE will travel to Arizona on Wednesday, visiting Tuscon and Phoenix. 

These are all states that show Biden with a promising lead in the polls. They are also important to his path to 270 electoral college votes.

POLL WATCH:

A new batch of polling shows Biden widening his lead over Trump in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, while the two candidates remain deadlocked in Georgia, a red state that is rapidly emerging as a new battleground for Democrats. Here’s a look at the latest polls:

  • Biden has a 10-point advantage in Michigan, according to a new poll from the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that shows the former vice president leading Trump 52 to 42 percent. 
  • The same UW-Madison poll also found Biden ahead of Trump 52 to 44 percent in Pennsylvania, an 8-point lead that’s twice as big as the one he held in a similar poll from September.
  • In Wisconsin, the UW-Madison poll has Biden up by 9 points. He garners 53 percent support Trump’s 44 percent.
  • A new poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released on Monday shows Biden and Trump statistically tied in Georgia, with Biden scoring 47 percent support to Trump’s 46 percent. Biden’s slated to visit the state on Tuesday in an eleventh-hour effort to turn the state blue.

It’s not all bad for Trump. A new poll from The New York Times and Siena College released on Monday found the president leading Biden by 4 points in Texas, 47 to 43 percent. That’s still relatively narrow given Trump’s 9-point margin of victory in 2016 and the fact that the state hasn’t gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976. But the 4-point lead gives Republicans at least some reassurance as Democrats begin making a more aggressive play for the state. 

Jonathan has more on the UW-Madison polling in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin here. You can read more about the AJC’s Georgia poll here. And Max has some more on the NYT/Siena College Texas survey here.

FROM THE STATES:

Former Rep. Jason LewisJason LewisRep. Angie Craig defends Minnesota House seat in race clouded by legal confusion Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Klobuchar 'feeling good' about Democrats taking control of Senate MORE (R-Minn.), the Republican nominee for Senate in Minnesota, was rushed into surgery on Monday after he was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening internal hernia. The operation was “successful and minimally invasive,” his campaign said in a statement, adding that the Minnesota Republican could be released from the hospital “in the next couple days.”

For now, we don’t know much more than that. But the emergency surgery came just eight days before the Nov. 3 election, in which Lewis is challenging incumbent Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Democrats expand Senate map, putting GOP on defense MORE (D-Minn.). Smith is already the favorite to win the race, and Lewis’s medical emergency and subsequent recovery will almost certainly keep him off the campaign trail for at least part of the next week. 

Smith hasn’t said much about Lewis’s current condition, although she wished him a “successful surgery and speedy recovery” in a tweet on Monday.

The Hill’s Max Greenwood has more on that here and here.