Trump campaigns in key state Pennsylvania: US election news

  • Melania Trump cancelled her first appearance on the campaign trail in over a year, citing a residual cough from COVID-19.
  • With two weeks until the November 3 election, the campaigns entered the final stretch of the race.
  • President Donald Trump campaigned in key battleground state Pennsylvania, while Joe Biden had no scheduled events before Thursday’s debate in Nashville.
  • Trump’s campaign said he would participate in the debate, despite protesting the topics and new rules muting mics.
  • Early voting began in closely watched Wisconsin, as well as Hawaii, Louisiana and Utah.
  • More than 31.6 million US voters have already cast ballots, according to the United States Elections Project tracker.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the United States elections. This is Joseph Stepansky and William Roberts

Tuesday, October 20:

20:30 ET – Trump says would not have campaigned in Erie, Pennsylvania except for the pandemic

Speaking at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, President Trump said he would not have campaigned there had the coronavirus pandemic not hurt his re-election prospects.

“Four or five months ago when we started this whole thing, before the plague came in, I hadn’t been, I wasn’t coming to Erie,” Trump said.

“I mean, I have to be honest. There’s no way. I was coming. I didn’t have to. I would have called you and said, ‘Hey Erie, you know if you have a chance get out and vote’. We had this thing won,” Trump said.

“We were so far up. We had the greatest economy ever, the greatest jobs, greatest everything. And then we got hit with the plague. And I had to go back to work. Hello Erie, hey may I please have your vote. I love Erie,” he said.

Erie is a small but politically important city in Pennsylvania whose suburbs could swing the state to either Biden or Trump depending on which candidate voters choose. Biden campaigned in Erie on October 12.

20:20 ET – Republican congressman calls on Pennsylvania voters to ‘refuse to lose’

US Representative Mike Kelly joined Donald Trump on stage at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, and urged rally goers to organize and get out the vote for November 3.

“In our lifetime, we will never see a president like Donald J Trump again,” Kelly said to cheers from the crowd.

“I want everyone of you to make a commitment to get out and vote November 3 and absolutely refuse to lose,” he said.

19:50 ET – Campaigning in Erie, Pennsylvania, Trump tells rally Biden would end ‘fracking’ production

“The Democratic Party hates fracking. They hate coal, good, beautiful, clean coal. They hate American energy and Joe Biden will shut it all down,” Trump said.

“If Biden is elected he will wipe out your energy industry,” Trump said.

On a big screen at the rally, the Trump campaign played video clips of Biden and his vice presidential running mate saying they would take steps to end fossil fuel production on federal lands.About 50,000 jobs in Pennsylvania are related to oil and natural gas production,  according to a report by the state government that also showed clean energy jobs in wind and solar are growing rapidly.

19:00 ET – 64% of mail ballots in Pennsylvania requested by Democrats

Democrats have requested about 1.8 million mail ballots from county election officials, or about 64 percent of the 2.8 million total requested so far, according to Pennsylvania Department of State figures.

Republicans had requested about 700,000 ballots, or 25 percent. Unaffiliated voters requested about 11 percent of ballots, The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported.

Voters should know the outcome of the election in Pennsylvania by the morning after Election Day, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a television appearance on CNN on Monday. Local authorities have purchased new voting machines and are getting enough personnel to handle the increase in mail ballots, he said.

18:30 ET – Senate Republican leader warns White House against stimulus deal with Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is advising the White House not to strike a deal on coronavirus relief legislation with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republican senators told reporters at the US Capitol.

President Trump has been pushing for agreement on a large, multi-trillion dollar economic stimulus package, saying he would be willing to sign legislation spending even more than the $2.2 tn Democrats have proposed.

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