Biden, Trump campaigns push in battleground states

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Image: President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of concentric circles made up of blue and red stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

With only nine days until Election Day, the campaigns for both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are ramping up their public events in battleground states in their final full week on the trail. Both candidates are vying to win votes in those crucial states.

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Read highlights below:

Large audience, few masks at Trump's New Hampshire rally

Biden spokesperson on in-person events: We're trying to keep communities safe

A top aide to Joe Biden’s presidential bid defended the campaign’s in-person event schedule as compared to President Donald Trump’s more robust travel during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the Democrat is pushing forward “aggressively” while still keeping communities safe.

“We are campaigning incredibly hard," deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told "Meet the Press" Sunday. "Vice President Biden has visited all of these battleground states multiple times. He was in Pennsylvania yesterday,” she noted.

“We have been very aggressively campaigning, but here’s the difference between what we are doing and what Donald Trump is doing: We’re doing it safely. We’re taking into account the safety of these communities that we’re visiting.”

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Meadows says Pence won't quarantine because he is 'essential'

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Vice President Mike Pence will not quarantine after multiple aides tested positive for Covid-19 because he is "essential."

Meadows was pressed about Pence continuing to campaign even after four of his aides, including his chief of staff and top political adviser, tested positive for the virus in recent days.

A Pence spokesman said the vice president and his wife tested negative for the virus, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines stipulate that a person who has come into close contact with infected individuals should quarantine for 14 days.

Meadows said Pence, who is continuing to campaign on Sunday, is considered "essential personnel," adding that Pence will social distance and wear a mask.

"I spoke to the vice president last night at midnight," Meadows said. "And I can tell you that what he's doing is wearing a mask, socially distancing. And when he goes up to speak, he will take the mask off, put it back on. But he — he's wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing because the doctors have advised him to do that."

Supreme Court sides mostly with Republicans in last-minute voting cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has faced a stream of last-minute appeals over election procedures since the spring, and most of the time it has rejected calls to allow less restrictive voting measures despite the pandemic.

That has generally meant that Republicans prevailed in seeking to block changes that would make it easier to vote, especially in casting mail-in ballots. Of 11 election-related cases filed as emergency appeals since April, Republican interests won in eight.

The court rejected Democratic efforts to lift an age eligibility requirement for mail ballots in Texas, or allow curbside voting and waive the witness requirement for mail ballots in Alabama, or suspend the witness requirement in South Carolina. And it put a hold on lower court orders that would have made it easier to get initiative measures on the ballot in Idaho and Oregon.

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'This is not magic': Democrats work to make inroads in the South for the first time in decades

Despite the political convention that Republicans hold a secure grip on the South, Democratic candidates are polling competitively in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas — which together account for eight Senate seats and possibly the balance of power in the chamber.

They could also help usher in additional Electoral College votes for Biden, though many experts remain skeptical whether Democrats can achieve a blue wave.

Georgia races have grown increasingly tight in the past few years, which is why it remains the main target for Democrats. Since losing the state’s race for the governorship by only 50,000 votes, Stacey Abrams and her voter rights organization, Fair Fight, have helped register more than 800,000 new voters in the state.

Read more here.

These 8 Latino Democratic candidates could be historic firsts in Congress

From becoming the first Afro-Latina or LGBTQ congresswoman to the first Native American veteran in Congress, these eight Latino Democratic candidates running for House seats could make congressional history in November.

Read more about the candidates here.

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Melania Trump to vote on Election Day

Melania Trump will vote on Election Day, the first lady’s chief of staff told NBC News.

President Trump cast his early vote in person in Palm Beach County Saturday. 

In key states, Trump's hard-sell pitch to seniors may be falling short

Eleven days out from the election, President Donald Trump held a last-minute campaign event in one of the most reliably red areas of Florida, whose voters have become a question mark hanging over his campaign — one that could help make or break his re-election bid.

The Villages, a sprawling retirement community home to one of the whitest and oldest populations in the country, has consistently supported Republican candidates for years, breaking for Trump by nearly 40 percentage points in 2016.

But the president's decision to campaign here came amid his struggle to hold on to older white voters, like the ones he addressed at this Friday stop, who have grown uncomfortable with his rhetoric and his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Polling this year has shown an increasing number of seniors abandoning Trump. An October NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that trend accelerating: Trump was hemorrhaging support among registered senior voters, with 62 percent supporting Biden and only 35 percent supporting the president.

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