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Friday, January 8, 2021

Trump and Biden to headline dueling town halls

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Trump and Biden to headline dueling town halls
Trump and Biden to headline dueling town halls

[NFA] The two U.S. presidential candidates will field questions from voters in two different televised events at the same time, in a slot that was meant to hold their second presidential debate.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will hold dueling prime-time town halls on Thursday.

The candidates will field questions from voters on the evening of what was supposed to be their second presidential debate.

Trump pulled out of the debate when the commission in charge of organizing the event changed it to a virtual format, after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Both town hall-stye events will be held at 8pm Eastern Time in key election battlegrounds.

Biden will be in Philadelphia, Trump in Miami.

With less than three weeks until the Nov.

3 election and millions of ballots already cast in early voting, Trump is still searching for ways to change the dynamics of a race in which Biden has a double-digit advantage in national polls.

That lead has narrowed to a statistical tie in Florida, but Reuters polling shows Biden with an edge in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona.

One potential downside for Trump: there seem to far fewer undecided voters this time round.

Reuters polling showed that in 2016, more than one-in-six voters hadn't made up their minds before election day, and just over half of those ultimately ended up voting for the Republican.

In 2020, just 8% say they're now undecided, a much smaller fraction that could chip away at the margins in state races that could be decided by a fewer than a hundred thousand votes.

A boon for Biden: the Democratic Party said it pulled in a record-shattering $383 million in September, beating its prior record of $365 million a month before and bolstering its financial advantage over President Trump.

Biden's campaign is using its edge in polls and cash to expand and electoral map and move voters to the polls, early if possible.

The University of Florida's U.S. Election Project shows nearly 15 million Americans have voted early, either in-person or by mail, an astonishing number that compares just roughly 1.4 million votes at same point in 2016.

The rush of early voting is driven in part by fears of the novel coronavirus, and increasingly by Democratic warnings that the Republican president may contest a close election result.

One Democratic strategist told Reuters "For Democrats to avoid a potential stolen election... we need to make sure this vote is as overwhelming as possible."

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