The latest on the 2020 election

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0938 GMT (1738 HKT) October 27, 2020
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8:39 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Minnesota reports 3 Covid-19 outbreaks related to Trump campaign events in Septemberlan

From CNN's Nadia Kounang

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport, Friday, September 18, in Bemidji, Minnesota.
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport, Friday, September 18, in Bemidji, Minnesota. Evan Vucci/AP/FILE

Minnesota is reporting three Covid-19 outbreaks related to Trump campaign events held in September.

At least 23 cases have been traced to outbreaks occurring at rally events in Bemidji on Sept. 18, a speech held by Vice President Mike Pence on Sept. 24 in Minneapolis, and another rally held by the President on Sept. 30 in Duluth, the Minnesota Department of Health said in an email to CNN.

President Trump’s Bemidji rally took place in an airport hanger. According to a CNN producer who attended the event, at least 2,000 people were in attendance. Based on contact tracing by the state department of health, at least 16 cases, including two hospitalizations, were identified among attendees.

In the month proceeding the rally, the seven-day average of new cases in Beltrami County, where Bemidji is located, was 2.85 new cases a day, according to Johns Hopkins University. On the day of the rally it had climbed up slightly to three new cases a day. But four weeks after, the average rate of new cases in the county had increased more than fourfold, reaching an average of 14.57 new cases a day.

On Sept. 24, Pence and Ivanka Trump held a “Cops for Trump” listening event indoors at the InterContinental Hotel in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The state department of health has traced three attendees of the event with Covid-19 infections.

In the month before the event, the seven-day average was just under 180 new cases in Hennepin County and had dropped to an average of 169 new cases on the day of the Vice President’s visit, according to Johns Hopkins. A month later on Oct. 24, that daily new case average was over 266 new cases a day.

The increase in cases coincides with an overall upward trend of new cases in the state of Minnesota that started Sept. 10. The state’s average number of new cases was 727 on Sept. 18 and had more than doubled a month later to 1,506 new cases a day. The state set a record number of new cases a day on Oct. 16 with 2,290 cases.

Another four cases have been traced by the Minnesota Department of Health to a rally the President held on Sept. 30 in Duluth.

Minnesota defines an outbreak as “two or more cases of illness related by time and place in which an epidemiologic investigation suggests either person-to-person transmission occurred” or some other vehicle, such as contaminated water, is implicated.

Public health experts say it is difficult to pinpoint any one event to overall changes in trends in light of the fact that there is overall increased community transmission. But experts also agree that holding such events in this climate is not a best practice for public health. 

In addition to the rally on Sept. 18, a counter protest also resulted in an outbreak of four cases. The state has also traced an additional case each to both a Biden rally on Sept. 18 as well as an event attended by the President’s son, Eric Trump, in Becker on Oct. 1. 

This post has been updated with the latest case figures traced to outbreaks occurring at rally events in Bemidji, Minnesota.

4:27 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Biden will travel to Iowa on Friday

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will travel to Iowa Friday, his campaign said.

Biden said Monday that his decision to travel to Iowa does not mean he's "overconfident" about his ability to win other states but rather that he's trying to "make sure we win every vote possible."  

"I'm gonna be going to Iowa, I'm going to Wisconsin, I'm going to Georgia, I'm going to Florida, and maybe other places as well," he said. 

Iowa is a state that President Trump won in 2016 after Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012.  

4:10 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Kamala Harris says she voted early

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

Kamala Harris announced on Twitter today that she voted early.

“I voted early — have you?” Harris tweeted.

A Harris aide said that she and her husband Douglas Emhoff mailed their ballots in from DC on Monday. 

Last week, Harris confirmed that she had filled out her mail-in ballot but was waiting to mail it until she could alongside her husband, when asked by a network pool reporter on Friday.

The California senator first confirmed she would be voting by mail in a fundraiser with former President Barack Obama earlier this month.

Read the tweet:

4:10 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Biden makes surprise visit to Pennsylvania

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Pool
Pool

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is in Chester, Pennsylvania, in Delaware County where he will visit a voter activation center field office.

Per the campaign, he’ll greet voters, say a few words, take a few photos but remain outside the office the whole time.

3:43 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Trump's second rally of the day wraps after 88 minutes

From CNN's Allie Malloy

President Donald Trump arrives for a rally on Monday, October 26, in Lititz, Pennsylvania.
President Donald Trump arrives for a rally on Monday, October 26, in Lititz, Pennsylvania. Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump has wrapped after speaking for an hour and 28 minutes at his second Pennsylvania rally Monday.

Trump didn't make any news in this rally in Lititz, Pennsylvania — sticking to familiar talking points.

He now heads to his third and final stop in the state in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania.

2:38 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Democrats in Pennsylvania urge Supreme Court to allow ballot extension to stand

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

An envelope of a Pennsylvania official mail-in ballot for the 2020 general election in Marple Township, Pennsylvania, on October 13.
An envelope of a Pennsylvania official mail-in ballot for the 2020 general election in Marple Township, Pennsylvania, on October 13. Matt Slocum/AP/FILE

Pennsylvania Democrats asked the Supreme Court on Monday to deny a request from Republicans in the battleground state to block a ballot receipt deadline. 

Last Friday, Republicans asked the justices to reverse the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that allowed the counting of ballots three days after the election even if the postmark is illegible.

They asked the justices to decide the issue before next week’s election and reinstate an election day deadline. 

In the new petition, former Solicitor General Don Verrilli, a lawyer for the Democrats, urged the justices to deny the Republican party’s “extraordinary and unjustified request for expedition” and allow Pennsylvania “to hold its federal elections under existing rules.” 

Some more context: Earlier in the month, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on a petition from the Republicans asking the justices to put the lower court opinion on hold pending appeal. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberals to allow the extension. It would have taken five justices to grant the request. 

Now the Republicans are trying again, with the knowledge that Amy Coney Barrett might cast a critical vote.

 

2:42 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Biden's remarks in Georgia tomorrow will act as closing argument, aide says

From CNN's Jessica Dean

The "Little White House" is seen onApril 13, 1945, where the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on the afternoon of April 12, 1945 at Warm Springs in Georgia.
The "Little White House" is seen onApril 13, 1945, where the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on the afternoon of April 12, 1945 at Warm Springs in Georgia. PLANET NEWS/AFP/Getty Images

A Biden campaign aide tells CNN that Biden’s remarks tomorrow in Warm Springs, Georgia will act as a closing argument to Americans and will build upon the themes we heard from Biden’s speech in Gettysburg and his DNC acceptance speech in August.

The aide said Biden will drive home the importance of national unity to overcome the vitriol and partisan polarization the nation is facing and reiterate this is a moment to act as an ally of the light.

They added Biden’s trip to Georgia on Tuesday shows how serious the campaign is about the state.

Some more context: The historical significance of Warm Springs and its association with President Franklin Roosevelt will also play into the speech.

Roosevelt’s personal retreat in Warm Springs became known as “The Little White House.” The aide said there’s an “obvious parallel” to be drawn as Biden would be entering office under economic circumstances not seen since the Great Depression and that he is proposing bold action in the same way Roosevelt did.

2:31 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Harris tested negative for coronavirus today

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

Sen. Kamala Harris underwent PCR testing for coronavirus Monday and Covid-19 was not detected, according to a Harris aide.

Harris is in Washington, DC, today and is expected to attend the Senate vote at the Capitol on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation, CNN’s Manu Raju reports.

It will be her first Senate vote since Aug. 6.

Tuesday she’ll head to Nevada for a day of campaigning and Arizona on Wednesday.

1:32 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Trump campaign tells reporters they're confident the President will win battleground states

From CNN's Daniella Diaz, DJ Judd and Ryan Nobles

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior adviser Jason Miller and communications director Tim Murtaugh just held a press call with reporters where they said they are confident the President is growing his base and will be able to win battleground states on Election Day.

The campaign distanced themselves from the current poll numbers, with Stepien telling reporters: “Polls always mattered to some but they mattered less these days because more and more actual votes have been cast every single day.” 

He later added: “Ground game matters — in state after state, we can see the result of President Trump's grassroots operation, which is simply the best that's ever been built. When we analyze the returns and the vote totals in these states, we continue to see positive trends every single day."

Stepian said the campaign "expected" that Democrats would take an early lead in the absentee voting period and believe that gap is being "eaten up."

"Early leads, built by Democrats in the absentee voting period, we know that, we've seen that, we expected that, it still drew a lot of attention by those who cover these races, but more importantly, every single day we see that early lead that the Democrats once had eaten up as they leave absentee votes on the table because they don't have a ground game to draw those votes and turn those ballots into actual votes.”

Stepien said that Trump "is expanding his base and turning out brand new voters."

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller then joined the call, where he touted an additional $6 million in ads, in addition to the $55 million, two-week buy announced last week, “focused, largely on, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan,” adding, “We'll also be adding on to our buy in Minnesota.”