WILMINGTON, N.C. — Donald Trump is hopscotching the country on Saturday in hopes of capitalizing on his tightening race with Hillary Clinton as the campaign season is just hours from its conclusion.
The Republican presidential nominee rallied with supporters in North Carolina, as well as Florida, Colorado and Nevada — and he is planning to travel to Virginia, where Clinton is leading, and Minnesota, a traditionally Democratic state where polls showing him trailing by about five points.
“We’re going up to Minnesota, which traditionally has not been Republican at all, and we’re doing phenomenally, we just saw a poll,” Trump said here. The Republican Party of Minnesota said he will rally in the state Sunday afternoon.
But Trump’s campaign announced that it was canceling a Sunday rally in Wisconsin, a state where Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, stumped with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) on Saturday but where polls show Clinton with a sizable advantage.
And Trump will be greeted by some unwelcome news when he arrives Saturday afternoon in Nevada, where some polls give him a slight edge over Clinton. Early voting totals in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, show that 52,000 more people voted early this year than in 2012, ballots cast by an electorate that likely favors Clinton.
Trump, Pence and key campaign surrogates will swing through Virginia in the frantic home stretch before Election Day, making a play for a purple state that’s long seen as safe for Clinton.
Trump will hold a 10 p.m. rally Sunday at a fairgrounds in the Northern Virginia swing territory of Loudoun County, his campaign announced on Saturday. Pence was scheduled to appear at a suburban Richmond Saturday afternoon and at a rally at George Mason University at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Two of Trump’s children — Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump — are planning stops in Northern Virginia on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Seeking to shore up support in Michigan where the race has tightened, both Hillary Clinton and President Obama plan to campaign in the state on Monday. Clinton is headed to Grand Rapids, while Obama will be in Ann Arbor, the campaign said. Former president Bill Clinton will campaign in Lansing, Mich. on Sunday.
In the closing days of the campaign, polling averages compiled by The Washington Post continue to show a close contest in several battleground states. In Michigan, Clinton now holds just a two-point edge over Trump, 43 to 41 percent. She also holds a slim lead in New Hampshire (43-41), which accounts for the renewed attention there in the closing days.
In Colorado, Clinton is up 43 percent to 41 percent. In Arizona, Trump leads by three points (46-43). Clinton is ahead by six points in New Mexico (40-34) and five points in North Carolina (48-43), Pennsylvania (47-42) and Wisconsin (45-40). She’s up by four points in Virginia (45-41).
Trump holds a five-point lead in Ohio (46-41), where Clinton held a star-studded campaign rally on Friday night with rapper Jay-Z and Beyoncé, his wife.
The race remains tick-tock tight in Nevada, where the candidates are tied at 44 percent each. In Florida, Clinton has a one-point, 47 to 46 percent advantage. Trump leads in Georgia (47-45); Iowa (46-41); and Utah (35-28) where third-party candidate Evan McMullin has been polling well.
Poll averages calculated by The Washington Post for Clinton and Trump reflect recent polls that also include McMullin, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein where they are on the ballot and where results are available.
Clinton’s campaign did receive a setback Saturday as the U.S. Supreme Court overruled an action by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that kept Arizona from implementing a ban on third-party collection ballots. Democrats wanted to strike the new provision, arguing it hurt minority voters who most often had their ballots collected by others and turned in. The high court gave no explanation for its ruling and there were no dissents, but in the past it has been reluctant to change the rules close to an election.
On Friday, a federal judge in North Carolina ordered three counties there to restore voter registrations that were canceled, agreeing with an NAACP lawsuit that it was too close to Election Day to do so.
A downpour Saturday forced Clinton to cut short what may be her last campaign speech in Florida. She can win the presidency without the state’s 29 electoral college votes, but a victory in the Sunshine State is her safest and fastest way to the 270 needed to win.
“You’re a hardy bunch, standing out in the rain!” a hoarse Clinton shouted, as she tried to be heard above the drumming rain at an outdoor rally.
Rally-goers huddled under umbrellas and plastic tarps, or stood dripping as Clinton spoke and sought to strike a conciliatory tone as a rancorous campaign nears the finish.
“I want to be the president for everybody, everybody who agrees with me, people who don’t agree with me, people who vote for me, people who don’t vote for me,” she told the crowd.
Clinton was introduced by Sybrina Fulton, whose son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighbor in 2012 in a racially charged case that helped propel a movement for criminal justice reform.
Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Bill Clinton will also appear in Florida, where the campaign is banking on a large turnout among Latino voters.
The former secretary of state will also campaign in Pennsylvania Saturday.
Her campaign announced plans to air a special two-minute national television ad during the shows with the largest audiences available on Monday night, the eve of the election.
The unusually long ad will air during “The Voice” on NBC, with an estimated weekly viewership of at least 11 million and “Kevin Can Wait” on CBS with an estimated viewership of at least 8 million.
The campaign did not release an advance version of the ad on Saturday.
Pence spent the morning in Michigan, where he made an appeal to voters as a fellow Midwesterner who has seen the region hemorrhage jobs. He then traveled to Wisconsin to appear with Ryan, who supports Trump but has tangled with him. Pence and Ryan showed nothing but affection for each other onstage. Ryan called Pence the “heart of the conservative movement.”
Trump was joined in North Carolina by his wife, Melania. Although she has rarely campaigned alongside her husband, this was her second appearance on the trail this week.
“We need a president who will deliver the change you all have been waiting for. This is your last chance, your last chance to make a real difference,” Melania said, introducing the GOP nominee in Wilmington.
Her appearance came a day after The Associated Press reported that she was paid for 10 modeling jobs in 1996 before she received legal authorization to work in the United States. The Trump campaign did not respond on Saturday to requests for comment on the report.
In North Carolina, Trump, as he had in the previous few days, remained disciplined and kept close to his scripted stump speech. But earlier in the day at a rally in Tampa, he returned to his freewheeling ways, referring to himself as “Mr. President” when talking about things he believes could happen if he wins on Tuesday and casting off talk of one of his favorite targets, Obamacare, because it was “boring” and he would repeal it anyway.
At one point Trump waded into the crowd and returned to the stage with a baby wearing a shirt and hat printed with the American flag.
“Future construction worker,” Trump said.
The Republican nominee also falsely said President Obama “screamed” at a protester in North Carolina on Friday. The president defended the right of the man, who was a Trump supporter, to protest.
Trump returned to an old theme: That people would get tired of winning if he were to be elected.
“We will win at trade, we will win at the borders,” Trump said. “We’re going to win so much you’re going to get sick and tired of winning. You’ll say, ‘Please, Mr. President, take it easy we’re sick and tired of winning.’ ”
Katie Zezima, John Wagner, Robert Barnes and Sarah Parnass in Washington and Laura Vozzella in Richmond contributed to this report. Gearan reported from Florida and O’Keefe from Washington.