With time running out for Donald Trump to make up ground in must-win states, the President is returning to Tampa Thursday to rally supporters in the final week of the campaign. But Democratic challenger Joe Biden is also slated to visit the city that day.
Trump’s rally will be outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa as the Commander-in-Chief makes a quick stop in his home state. After the 1:30 p.m. rally, the President will fly to Pennsylvania and North Carolina, two other key states he hopes to win a second time alongside Florida.
The Biden campaign has yet to release details about his two events Thursday in Hillsborough and Broward counties, announced earlier this week. The President’s announcement came Wednesday.
When Trump visits the state Thursday, he will have five days to make up his apparent lost ground in the race for Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
Buoyed by a poll from Trump-leaning Rassmussen Reports, the President has a lead over Biden for the first time in the Sunshine State, albeit a thin 0.4 percentage points. Over the past week, FiveThirtyEight has given Trump increasing odds to win the state, now with a 36% chance. Their model expects a 1.9 point margin in Biden’s favor on Election Day.
Nearly all of the President’s conceivable paths to reelection go through Florida and North Carolina. Losing just one of those states drops his chances at a second term to below 1%, according to FiveThirtyEight. Losing Pennsylvania would drop his chances to 2%.
All attendees at Trump’s rally will be given a temperature check, masks that they are instructed to wear and access to hand sanitizer. But mask-wearing has not been enforced at past rallies.
The Minnesota Department of Health is reporting three COVID-19 outbreaks related to Trump campaign events held in that state last month.
The Trump campaign is also under fire after hundreds of the President’s supporters were left stranded in Omaha in the freezing night after a rally there Tuesday. At least 30 people were rushed to the hospital after waiting for buses or walking miles from the airfield.
Following the announcement, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer warned the event could cause traffic for people who try to vote early at the stadium, which is one of 26 early voting locations in the county. Hillsborough County residents voting early can cast their ballot at any of those locations, unlike on Election Day.
“As per Florida Statute, electioneering is not allowed within 150 feet of an Early Voting site, but the Supervisor of Elections Office cannot prohibit campaign activities outside this ‘no solicitation zone,'” Latimer said in a notice. “The rally and campaigners will be outside of this zone.”