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Trump and Biden hit the Midwest as Texas shatters early voter turnout records

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Early voter turnout in Texas continued to shatter records on Friday, as the number of early voters surpassed the state's total number of voters in 2016. Over nine million people voted in the state as of Friday, the last day of early voting.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris visited the state to campaign. "Today is the last day of early voting in Texas and you all have been doing your thing," she said in Fort Worth.

Meanwhile, President Trump and Joe Biden both campaigned in the Midwest as they headed into the final weekend before Election Day. Mr. Trump's rally in Rochester, Minnesota, was limited to 250 people due to coronavirus restrictions, and he spoke for only 30 minutes.

Biden, meanwhile, had his busiest day so far of the general election, holding rallies in three states and returning to Iowa for the first time since he came in fourth in the caucuses in February. "Back at the state fair," he said, at the top of his remarks in Des Moines.

Biden is hitting the campaign trail in Michigan on Saturday with former President Obama. The pair will be in Flint and Detroit, as Biden hopes to recapture the state that Mr. Obama won in 2008 and 2012 but went red for Mr. Trump in 2016.

People hold signs outside of the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center of Montrose in Houston on the last day of early voting October 30, 2020.  JULIA BENARROUS/AFP via Getty Images

Tina Knowles-Lawson tells crowd at Harris rally: "If we win Texas, it's game over"

Kamala Harris finished her day of campaigning in Texas at the University of Houston, where she appeared with Beyonce's mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson. "If we win Texas, it's game over," Knowles-Lawson said.

Harris told the crowd that George Floyd's family was in attendance. A campaign aide confirmed to CBS News that Harris met with three of Floyd's cousins who live in the Houston area. 

Houston's Harris County clerk tweeted Friday that 86,734 people voted in person and 3,572 mail ballots were returned that day. A total of 1,435,221 people voted early in the county, surpassing the 1,338,898 total turnout in 2016. In 2018, Democrats swept every election in Harris County, Texas' largest. 

Timothy Perry and Caroline Linton 


Ruth Bader Ginsburg's granddaughter appears in voting ad

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's granddaughter appeared from We Demand Justice and Move On encouraging Americans to vote. 

"Her final wish was that her seat on the Supreme Court not be filled until after the election," Ginsburg's granddaughter Clara Spera says in the ad. "It's up to us to make her voice heard at the ballot box. To keep fighting the battle she waged for women's equality and justice for all. My grandmother changed the course of history. Now it's our turn. Vote by Tuesday."

By Caroline Linton

Trump's Minnesota rally is less than 30 minutes long

President Trump's third rally on Friday was less than 30 minutes long, a departure from his usual 90 minute to 2-hour rallies. Mr. Trump criticized Democratic Governor Tim Walz and Democratic Attorney General for limiting the rally to 250 people.

"Remember what your governor did this evening. And it's a small thing but a horrible thing to thousands and thousands of people that are outside they could be here. We could all be together, a horrible thing that they did," Mr. Trump said.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Rochester International Airport in Rochester, Minnesota on October 30, 2020.  MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The rally was held in Rochester, Minnesota, on the airport runway. The temperature was just under 40 degrees. 

Mr. Trump insisted Ellison treated pro-Trump Minnesota residents as "second-class citizens." 

Although Minnesota has not gone red since 1972, Hillary Clinton won the state by less than 2 percentage points. Mr. Trump has long insisted the state is in play in 2020 for Republicans. 

By Caroline Linton

Trump's Minnesota rally limited to 250 people

Mr. Trump's Minnesota rally was limited to 250 people due to coronavirus restrictions, which Mr. Trump mentioned at his earlier rallies in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Waterford Township, Michigan. 

Mr. Trump said that Governor Tim Walz told them "we can only have 250 people" at the Rochester, Minnesota event. 

"So they were hoping I'd say, oh well, we can't do that, let's turn around," Mr. Trump said in Green Bay. "No, we're going to go. It's going to be very interesting. Even if we see 250 people, to be honest with you, everyone understands you can't play those games."

The Trump campaign had planned a rally in Nevada earlier this week, but they were forced to move it over the border to southern Arizona due to coronavirus restrictions.

Supporters of US President Donald Trump arrive for a "Make America Great Again" rally at the Rochester International Airport in Rochester, Minnesota, on October 30, 2020.  KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images
By Caroline Linton

At least 7 Pennsylvania counties don't plan to count ballots until after Election Day

There are now seven counties in the battleground state of Pennsylvania that plan to wait until November 4, the day after the election, to count their mail-in ballots. 

All but one, Monroe County, have more registered Republicans than Democrats and supported President Trump in 2016. There are over 550,000 registered voters in the counties combined.

Officials in two of the counties, Franklin and Monroe, said that on Election Day they'll begin some pre-canvassing activities, like opening the outer mail ballot envelopes, but will wait until the following day to tabulate the ballots inside them. 

The seven are Beaver, Cumberland, Franklin, Greene, Mercer, Monroe and Montour Counties. 

County commissioners defended their delays by pointing to staffing issues.

"We have a very small staff and traditionally, we are pretty busy administering the actual election on Election Day," said Montour County Chief Clerk Holly Brandon. "It made sense to us to have our sole focus on election day activities on Tuesday and canvassing the absentees and mail-ins on Wednesday." 

By Zak Hudak

Biden returns to Iowa after making 136 trips to the state during primary season

Joe Biden returned to the unexpectedly toss-up state of Iowa on Friday, the first time back since he made 136 trips during the Democratic primary season. "Back at the state fair," he exclaimed at the top of his remarks in Des Moines.

Biden's remarks were mostly his standard stump, with a few Iowa specific references thrown in. Biden took aim at the president's farm bailout. "I love this quote from him. He says because of his bailouts, our farmers do better now than when they actually had a farm…where is this guy from? Who does he think he is?"  

While President Trump won Iowa by 10 points in 2016, the state is now considered a toss up. 

Joe Biden Hosts Drive-In Get Out The Vote Event In Iowa
Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, speaks during a drive-in rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.  Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After his Des Moines event, Biden traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota. Although Minnesota has not gone red since 1972, Mr. Trump has insisted the state is competitive, and Biden has a 7 point lead, according to the CBS News Battleground Tracker. 

Adam Brewster and Caroline Linton 


At Michigan rally, Trump makes false claims about the coronavirus

Speaking at a rally in Michigan on Friday, Mr. Trump made false claims about the coronavirus.

"You know our doctors get more money if you die from COVID, I mean our doctors are very smart people, so you know what they do is say, 'I'm sorry but everybody dies of COVID,'" Mr. Trump falsely claimed.

Mr. Trump said that there would be a vaccine in "a couple of weeks" and promised seniors would be the first to receive the vaccine, along with doctors and frontline workers. He also said the vaccine would be free. 

"Without it, we are still rounding the corner. We have it but without it we round the corner," Mr. Trump said. Nearly 230,000 Americans have died from the virus.

At one point, Mr. Trump pointed out Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham, who was attending the rally.

"I can't recognize you, is that a mask? No way are you wearing a mask, I've never seen you wear one before," Mr. Trump said to Ingraham. "You're being very politically correct."

By Grace Segers

Harris says "everything is at stake" while campaigning in Texas

Senator Kamala Harris campaigned in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday during her first trip to the battleground state since joining the Democratic ticket. Harris spoke about immigration and voter suppression saying, "we vote because everything is at stake."

"Let's talk about it in terms of these 545 babies who right now have been orphaned because of a failure of the U.S. government to reunify them with their parents," Harris said, referring to a recent status report by the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that said 545 parents remained "unreachable" after being separated from their children by U.S. immigration officials in 2017 and 2018.

Election 2020 Harris
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., acknowledges supporters after speaking at a campaign event Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, in Fort Worth. LM Otero / AP

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Tuesday said some deported parents "have chosen" to remain separated from their children.

Over 3 million people have registered to vote in Texas since the 2016 election, giving it one of the highest upticks in newly registered voters across the country. Texas' population has grown by 3.85 million since 2010, 2 million of whom are Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau. 

On Friday, early voting in the state surpassed total turnout during the 2016 election. Harris said of the early surge: "Today is the last day of early voting in Texas and you all have been doing your thing."

According to CBS News polling, President Trump leads Biden in Texas by only 2 percentage points. 

"Now we know this is no time to let up on the pedal," Harris said Friday.

By Audrey McNamara

Western Wisconsin helped put Trump over the top in 2016. Here's how some voters there feel about him now

In 2016, a total of 206 counties across the country that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 swung away to support Republican nominee Donald Trump in 2016. Wisconsin has 23 of these counties. 

More than a dozen of these counties are in western Wisconsin. Communities lining the banks of the Mississippi River helped turn Wisconsin Republican in the first presidential election since 1984. 

These rural, overwhelmingly White and sparsely populated counties in the state's western edge are highly  sought, in large part, for their lack of partisan loyalty at a time when Americans sit increasingly entrenched in Democratic and Republican camps. 

Read more here

—   Adam Brewster and Nicole Sganga


Trump expresses confidence about his prospects in Texas and other swing states

Speaking to reporters before heading to Minnesota, Mr. Trump said that he was confident that he would win Texas and several other swing states.

"Texas is looking very strong. I will tell you that if you look around Florida, it's looking great. Florida's looking really great. Ohio is looking great. North Carolina is looking fantastic, actually. We think Pennsylvania's looking fantastic," Mr. Trump said.

He also indicated that he may spend election night in the White House, claiming that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had shut down the city and so he may not be able to go to his hotel nearby to watch the election results.

"The mayor shut it down. So, we have a hotel - I don't know if it's shut down if you're allowed to use it or not," Mr. Trump said.

By Grace Segers

Biden supports denuclearization in op-ed for South Korean news agency

Joe Biden on Thursday contributed an op-ed to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea's leading news source, expressing his commitment to a denuclearized, and reunified Korean Peninsula. 

Biden wrote that, as president, he would "stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops."

"I'll engage in principled diplomacy and keep pressing toward a denuclearized North Korea and a unified Korean Peninsula, while working to reunite Korean Americans separated from loved ones in North Korea for decades," reads the op-ed

The piece is unprecedented for Yonhap, which said in a note above the op-ed that it "marks the first of its kind to a South Korean media company in the year of the U.S. presidential election." 

Biden has repeatedly contrasted his vision for the peninsula with the actions of President Trump. During the second and final presidential debate earlier this month, the Democratic candidate said Mr. Trump has made friends with autocratic leaders, including Kim Jong Un.

"He embraces guys like the thugs in North Korea and the president in China and Putin and others," Biden said. Throughout his presidency, Mr. Trump has praised the North Korean dictator, and said at the most recent debate that it was not a bad thing to have a "good relationship" with him.

Biden said that logic was akin to saying "we had a good relationship with Hitler before he invaded Europe, the rest of Europe." The former vice president said he wouldn't meet with Kim until he agreed to draw down his nuclear capacity.

By Audrey McNamara

Labor unions reach out to infrequent Florida voters in final stretch of campaign

Florida-based union members who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic are making their final push to get out the vote for Joe Biden days before the election. 

They're targeting infrequent voters — who in some cases haven't cast a vote since 2008 — and hoping that sharing their personal stories will help get more of them to the polls. With over 7.3 million votes already cast in Florida, where polls show Biden and Mr. Trump are virtually tied, hospitality and fast-food workers are trying to have one more conversation with some of the 7 million Floridians who are registered but haven't voted yet. 

"I tell them please go out to vote. If you don't want to go to vote, vote for me, because I need it for my kids. I need it for my life," said Francesca Clerizier, a 51-year-old mother of six who'd lost her job at Disney before joining UNITE HERE as a canvasser. 

High numbers of voters who did not cast a ballot in the last election are turning out in battleground states this year. In Florida, 25.8% of Democrats who have voted early in Florida so far did not vote in 2016, according to the Democratic elections data firm TargetSmart. 

Read more here

By LaCrai Mitchell

Biden and Obama to campaign together in Michigan on Saturday

Biden and former President Obama will appear at two campaign events together in Michigan on Saturday, demonstrating the importance of the state to his campaign. Mr. Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, but Biden is hoping that he can win back the state this year, as well as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

CBS News' Battleground Tracker currently has Biden up 8 points over Mr. Trump, 53% to 45%.

Biden and Mr. Obama will appear at drive-in rallies in Flint and Detroit, two key metro areas in the state. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, is a co-chair of Biden's campaign

By Grace Segers

Days ahead of the election, Texas surpasses total votes from 2016 election

With just four days to go before Election Day, Texas, has already surpassed the total number of votes cast in the 2016 election. Friday is the final day of early voting in the state.

Over 9 million people have voted in Texas as of Friday, compared to 8.9 million in 2016. The high turnout raises hopes for Democrats who believe that this may be the year that Texas finally turns blue.

Large numbers of people who did not vote in 2016 are turning out this year. According to the Democratic elections data firm TargetSmart, 29.8% of those who have already voted in Texas did not cast a ballot in the last election.

Kamala Harris is campaigning in Texas on Friday, appearing at events in Ft. Worth, McAllen and Houston.

By Grace Segers

Georgia senator pulls out of final debate

Republican Senator David Perdue of Georgia pulled out of the final debate in his reelection race and instead appeared at a rally with President Trump on Sunday. Perdue's decision came the day after a contentious debate in which his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, called Perdue a "crook."

"At last night's debate, millions saw that Perdue had no answers when I called him out on his record of blatant corruption, widespread disease, and economic devastation. Shame on you, Senator," Perdue wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening in response to Perdue's cancellation.

"You did say that COVID-19 is no deadlier than the flu. You did say there would be no significant uptick in cases. All the while, you were looking after your own assets and your own portfolio," Ossoff had said in the debate. 

Ossoff also slammed Perdue for introducing health care legislation containing loopholes that "specifically allow insurance companies to deny policies to Georgians with preexisting conditions."

In a statement, Perdue's campaign said that the senator did not want to attend a debate "listening to Jon Ossoff lie to the people of Georgia."

"For 8 of the last 14 days of this campaign, Senator Perdue went back to Washington to work for much needed COVID relief for Georgians which Jon Ossoff's top donor Chuck Schumer derailed," Perdue's campaign said. "To make up for the lost time, Senator Perdue has over 20 campaign stops planned for the closing days of this race, and he is excited to welcome and join President Trump in Georgia before November 3rd to campaign for both of their re-election efforts."

By Grace Segers

Biden campaigns in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Joe Biden will have his busiest day on the trail during the general election, holding drive-in events in Des Moines, Iowa, and St. Cloud, Minnesota, before traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for an event.

He is leading in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which President Trump won in 2016. Iowa, which Mr. Trump won by 10 points in 2016, is considered a toss-up by the CBS News Battleground Tracker.

Running mate Kamala Harris will be campaigning in Texas, which polls indicate is unexpectedly close this year. Harris will participate in voter mobilization events in Fort Worth, McAllen and Houston.

By Caroline Linton

Trump rallies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota

President Trump will be holding rallies Friday in Waterford Township, Michigan, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota. He won Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016, but Minnesota has not gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972.

Polls have Mr. Trump trailing in all three states. According to CBS News' Battleground Tracker, Joe Biden is up 7 points in Michigan and Minnesota and up 6 points in Wisconsin. 

Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning Friday in Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona. 

By Caroline Linton
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