Election 2020 live updates: Biden on offense in Georgia, Trump on defense in Midwest

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By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- With one week until Election Day, and President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden racing toward Nov. 3, nearly 65 million have voted early so far -- a record.

The president continues an aggressive, defensive campaign as polls show him trailing nationally and in several battleground states key to his reelection hopes. He holds rallies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Biden is on offense, spending the day in Georgia to deliver a "closing argument" on national unity. While some Democrats argue the usually red state's electoral votes are in play, others warn against losing focus on key swing states like Wisconsin.

Here is how the Tuesday is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 27, 11:22 am

Background on Biden's trip to traditionally red Georgia

Georgia, a state Trump won in 2016 by 5 points, has not delivered its electoral votes for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992 -- but Biden is hoping to change as he heads to the traditionally red state for a day trip.

ABC News rates Georgia's presidential race a toss-up, and a poll out Monday from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed Biden and Trump in a tied race. Recent election data shows the state has been trending toward purple, indicated by Biden's visit in the homestretch.

The first of two stops for Biden is to Warm Springs, a tiny, but historically significant, town in Meriwether County where Democratic hero FDR -- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- visited for polio treatments in the warm mineral spring water and where he died during World War II. The county went for Trump in 2016 by 15 points, but only 1,418 votes separated Trump and Clinton.

According to AJC political columnist Jim Galloway's analysis, Republicans rely heavily on getting out the vote in rural counties to win statewide, and if Biden could take some points away from them on that front, he could win Georgia's 16 electoral votes.

The next stop Biden will make is in Atlanta, for a drive-in rally to encourage early voting as his running mate did there last week. The city of Atlanta area and suburban counties have a large concentration of Democratic voters and Black voters.

Early voting has seen record turnout in Georgia. The state is already at 71% of its total turnout in 2016, in terms of number of ballots cast. Just under 3 million have already voted. There are about 7.6 million registered voters in Georgia, and the registration deadline has passed.

-ABC News' Quinn Scanlan

Oct 27, 10:24 am

As race enters final week, Biden on offense, Trump on defense

Trump is playing defense in the nation’s heartland, hosting rallies today in three states he won in 2016 -- Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska -- as he struggles to gain ground in 2020 polls.

The president is expected to win the popular vote in Nebraska, but with polls showing Biden having a shot to win a single electoral vote based on the state’s 2nd Congressional District, Trump's heading there may be a sign of how close his campaign expects the election will be.

Trump’s trip to the Midwest also comes as coronavirus cases there are surging, though Trump insists the country is "rounding the corner beautifully." Biden has attempted to differentiate his events from Trump’s as more responsible, criticizing Trump to reporters on Monday for holding what Biden called "superspreader events."

Biden’s trip to Georgia today, a state Trump took by five points in 2016 and once was expected to easily stay Republican, is a sign of his campaign's confidence in the final days -- but some warn not to repeat what happened in 2016 when Hillary Clinton failed to hang on to states Democrats were expected to win. Former President Barack Obama, Biden’s top campaign surrogate, is in Florida as Democrats aim to take the critical swing state in which Trump cast his vote.

First lady Melania Trump will head to Pennsylvania this afternoon her first solo 2020 campaign event, attempting to appeal to crucial suburban women voters, a demographic which Trump is struggling with this cycle.

Vice President Mike Pence is maintaining his aggressive campaign schedule despite a COVID-19 outbreak in his inner circle. Sen. Kamala Harris, meanwhile, is campaigning in Nevada ahead of a rare trip to Texas on Friday -- another sign Democrats are looking to expand the map as Republicans attempt to maintain theirs.

Oct 27, 10:32 am

Pence to the Carolinas despite COVID-19 outbreak in inner circle

Pence is committed to spending the final seven days of the 2020 election on the campaign trail, despite the fact that an outbreak of the coronavirus has struck his inner circle.

ABC News confirmed over the weekend that along with Pence's chief of staff Marc Short, at least four others close to the vice president -- including his top political aide, Marty Obst, and his bodyman, Zach Bauer -- tested positive for COVID-19.

In the last week, Pence has crisscrossed the country to over half a dozen states, holding 12 campaign rallies and two private events. He also cast his early vote in person while back home in Indianapolis, Indiana. Seeing the busy schedule Pence and his team have kept up with, as some of those infected accompanied Pence on his travels, it's possible the virus may have spread well beyond the confines of his office.

Still, Pence is not quarantining after coming into close contact with Short and will instead continue his jam-packed campaign schedule -- a move that has worried experts who say Pence "clearly meets the CDC definition" of COVID-19 exposure and should voluntarily be in quarantine.

The vice president has stops planned in North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada through Thursday. His campaign has made some adjustments including ending rope line greetings and having Pence speak directly from airport tarmacs to avoid motorcade travel.

Pence did not attend a confirmation ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden Monday night, though he had attended her nomination party in the one month earlier, after which nearly a dozen attendees tested positive for COVID-19.

Click here for more on the places Pence has traveled to and the people he's traveled with over the past week.

-ABC News’ Justin Gomez and Olivia Rubin

Oct 27, 10:31 am

Battleground-state spikes keep campaign focused on COVID-19

If Trump is tired of talking about COVID-19, his biggest problem one week from Election Day may be that voters he needs are living it -- still, and especially now.

 

You wouldn't know it from his rallies. And you wouldn't know it from Monday night's celebration for the swearing-in of just-confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett outside the White House, which featured more masks than her announcement event but no real social distancing at what amounted to be a late-night outdoor party.

The view from the ground: Among the 13 most competitive battleground states, coronavirus positivity rates are going up in 11 of them -- including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona, according to an ABC News analysis of COVID Tracking Project data.

 

Hospitalization rates are up in nine of the 13 top-targeted states, including the five top-tier battlegrounds just referenced. The number of daily deaths is up in six critical states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio and Minnesota.

Trump's three campaign rallies Monday barely included a mention of the pandemic and the president did not reference the recent outbreak among White House staff. The president attacked former Vice President Joe Biden for prescribing "doom and gloom" when he predicted a long road ahead.

 

The race's dominant issue, though, has remained COVID-19. The inability to control the pandemic is not just a concession from the White House chief of staff -- it's a statement of reality as being lived by voters, including some with an outsized voice in the election.

 

-ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein

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