Published:  05:09 AM, 17 October 2020

Trump, Biden return to campaign trail

Trump, Biden return to campaign trail

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden planned to hit the campaign trail again on Friday with visits to three battleground states, after displaying their sharply contrasting styles in dueling televised town halls.

Trump lags in opinion polls and latest figures from his campaign show he is also behind in fundraising in the final weeks before the Nov. 3 election, reports Reuters.Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee raised some $247.8 million in September, his campaign manager said on Twitter, well behind the $383 million haul of Biden and the Democratic Party.

As the candidates return to the trail, a record 21.2 million Americans already have voted, according the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. About 136.6 million people in total voted in the 2016 election. Thursday night's split-screen events replaced a presidential debate that was canceled after Trump's bout with coronavirus.

A combative Trump, sparring with moderator Savannah Guthrie on NBC, refused to condemn the bizarre conspiracy theory QAnon, reiterated his unsubstantiated assertion that the 2020 election was rife with fraud and questioned whether masks help fight the spread of COVID-19.Biden delivered policy-heavy answers and focused his attacks on Trump's handling of the pandemic, which has killed 216,000 people in the United States and hammered the economy.

National opinion polls have shown Biden ahead for months and it was unclear whether Trump's aggressive posture would alter what has been a stable race despite a whirlwind of news. Louisiana launched early voting on Friday, following record turnout this week in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, competitive states that could decide the election outcome.

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