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Biden, Trump campaigns push in battleground states

Election news, voting results and polls.
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.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from October 26, 2020.

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Read highlights below:

Harris to campaign in Texas, but Trump won't visit before election

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is expected to campaign in Texas on Friday, likely making stops in Houston and in the Forth Worth area, a source familiar with the planning told NBC News.

Harris had originally planned to visit Texas last weekend but had to cancel after her communications director tested positive for Covid-19.

This news comes on the same day a Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler poll shows Biden leading Trump in Texas 48% to 45% (within the margin of error).

Meanwhile, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also served as Trump’s secretary of energy, told reporters on a campaign call that Trump would not be in Texas before Election Day.

Trump "will be in battleground states," Perry said. "Texas is not a battleground state."

 

Trump struggles to stay on message during 90-minute New Hampshire speech

Trump on Sunday meandered his way through a roughly 90-minute campaign speech before a rally in New Hampshire on Sunday, touching on everything from his concerns about voting in Pennsylvania to negotiations over a new Air Force One.

"We have plenty of time today," Trump said. "Is there any football game? We don't watch football as much anymore."

Speaking about his recovery from Covid-19, the crowd began chanting "Super Trump." The president suggested he may not have needed substantial medical assistance when fighting the illness.

"Maybe I didn't need it but I'm happy I took that Regeneron," Trump said. "Regeneron. Superman."

The president attacked Joe Biden, at one point playing a video reel of comments Biden has made over time. But he also took aim at some of his other favorite Democratic punching bags, including his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Health experts raise concerns about Pence events after aides test positive for Covid

Health policy specialists questioned White House officials' claim that federal rules on essential workers allow Vice President Mike Pence to continue to campaign and not quarantine himself after being exposed to the coronavirus.

Campaigning is not an official duty that might fall under the guidelines meant to ensure that police, first responders and key transportation and food workers can still perform jobs that cannot be done remotely, the health experts said.

A Pence aide said Sunday that the vice president would continue to work and travel, including for campaigning, after his chief of staff and some other close contacts tested positive. Pence tested negative on Sunday and decided to keep traveling after consulting White House medical personnel, his aides said.

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NYPD investigating videos of officer who said 'Trump 2020' over patrol vehicle speaker

The New York City Police Department is investigating after videos shared over social media Saturday night appeared to show an officer using his patrol vehicle's speaker to say “Trump 2020.”

The department’s official NYPD News Twitter account shared one video posted of the incident and said that the Brooklyn South Investigation Unit was looking into the matter. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea also commented on the matter, calling the incident “one hundred percent unacceptable.”

“Law Enforcement must remain apolitical, it is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs,” Shea tweeted.

Read more here.

Biden to attend virtual concert after Trump rallies in New Hampshire

With nine days to go until Election Day, Joe Biden is spending a quiet Sunday in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Democratic presidential candidate attended church near his home with two of his granddaughters. It’s a Sunday constant for Biden, who makes sure to attend most of the time he’s home.

Sunday evening, Biden will speak at a star-studded virtual get-out-the-vote concert. Jill Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will also speak at the event, and a handful of celebrities — including John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi and Cher — will appear and perform. The concert is part of the campaign’s push to get voters to head to the polls early. Harris is spending Sunday campaigning in Detroit, a key base of Democratic support in pivotal Michigan for the Biden campaign.

Biden has had a relatively thin schedule in the final stretch of the campaign, visiting just three states in the past seven days, including Tennessee for the final presidential debate. This week, he’s slated to deliver his closing message with a speech in Georgia, a traditionally red-leaning state where Democrats feel they have an opening due to Trump’s struggles in the polls.

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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