7 Nov 2022

US midterms: Trump and Biden fire up voters as election looms

4:02 pm on 7 November 2022
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and US President Donald Trump speaking on election night.

US President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump. File image. Photo: AFP

By Max Matza of the BBC

US President Joe Biden and ex-President Donald Trump held duelling rallies as the election to reshape Congress entered its final campaign day.

Biden and Trump made last-minute pleas to voters in New York and Florida respectively.

Momentum has shifted recently towards Republicans, who were trying to wrestle both chambers from Democratic control.

They were favourites to win control of the House of Representatives but the Senate was a toss-up, polling suggested.

Winning one chamber would severely hinder President Biden's legislative agenda.

With the campaign in its final day on Monday, his party were braced for losses even in parts of the country where they usually do well.

He spoke at a rally in New York on Sunday to support Governor Kathy Hochul, who was fending off an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Trump-backed Republican candidate Lee Zeldin.

BALDWIN, NEW YORK - JUNE 28: NY GOP Candidate for Governor Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) speaks during his election night party at the Coral House on June 28, 2022 in Baldwin, New York. Front runner Rep. Zeldin won the GOP Primary for NY Governor over his three primary challengers. Zeldin is one of 139 House Republicans to object to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results after the insurrection at the Capitol Jan. 6, 2021.   Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Michael M. Santiago / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Lee Zeldin. Photo: MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO

She had received last-minute help from some Democratic star names - former President Bill Clinton, Vice-President Kamala Harris and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In his speech, Biden called the election "an inflection point" that would determine the next 20 years. He told voters at Sarah Lawrence College that they were choosing between two "fundamentally different visions of America".

Meanwhile his predecessor in the White House, Trump, was in Miami where he spoke for over an hour, hammering Democrats for leading the country towards "communism".

"Democrats want to turn America into communist Cuba or socialist Venezuela," Trump told audience members.

Trump also continued to hint that he may run for president again in 2024, telling voters to "stay tuned" for his rally on Monday in Ohio.

Polls suggest that Democrats were likely to lose their majority in the House of Representatives.

Control of the Senate would probably rely on the results of extremely tight races in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada.

Over 40 million votes have already been cast during the early-voting period so far, experts said, overtaking the total number of early votes in 2018.

Mail-in ballots normally took longer to tally than votes taken in person, leading to a high likelihood that several races will be too close to call on Tuesday night.

Several key battleground states, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, ban election officials from beginning the count until election day.

What's happening on Monday?

  • Biden will appear at a rally in Maryland, a state normally considered a Democratic stronghold, and will also appear in several virtual receptions for the Democrats
  • Trump is holding an evening rally in Ohio for JD Vance, the Republican Trump-critic-turned-admirer running for Senate
  • First Lady Jill Biden is headed to Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington DC, to support the incumbent Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton
  • Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, considered to be a possible Trump White House rival in 2024, is in Haileah, Florida to hold a "Unite and Win Rally"


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