Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that he can be competitive in states long considered Democratic territory. On Sunday, the real estate mogul will test his appeal to voters outside the GOP heartland by holding rallies in five states that all went for President Barack Obama four years ago.
Democrat Hillary Clinton, by contrast, planned events in Ohio and New Hampshire, traditional battleground states where recent polling has shown her either in a virtual tie or trailing Trump.
The states Trump plans to visit Sunday include Iowa, which has gone Republican just once in the past seven presidential elections (George W. Bush in 2004); Minnesota, which hasn't supported a Republican nominee since Richard Nixon in 1972; Michigan and Pennsylvania, which haven't since George H.W. Bush in 1988; and Virginia, whose 40-year run of reliably voting Republican was ended by Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Trump's breakneck swing comes on the heels of a wild Saturday night out West. A brief scare disrupted his rally in Reno, Nev., when Secret Service agents suddenly hustled Trump off the stage. The agency later said that someone near the stage had shouted "Gun!" but that a subsequent apprehension of a man and search revealed no weapon. Trump returned a few minutes later to resume his remarks and declared "We will never be stopped."
Trump did not mention the incident at his final event of the evening, a raucous rally in Denver. He did brag that scheduled trips to Michigan by Clinton and Obama meant that his message had put Democrats on the defensive in that state.
"They're getting a little worried," Trump said. "I know Hillary, all of a sudden she's making all of these trips, she's going all over the place. She was supposed to be home sleeping.
"You see, Michigan was never really in play for a Republican," he added. "But you know what? It's in play for us because all of their cars are being made now in Mexico."
Trump again criticized Clinton for holding a get out the vote event with hip-hop artist Jay Z Friday in Ohio, calling it "demeaning to the political process."
"My language is nothing compared to what Jay Z was doing [Friday] night," Trump said of the "Big Pimpin'" singer.
The former secretary of state had more star-studded events planned this weekend, sharing the stage with pop star Katy Perry in Philadelphia Saturday night.
"Tonight, I want to hear you roar," Clinton said before introducing Perry, who hugged her while wearing a purple cape bearing the words, "I'm with Madam President."
On Sunday, the Democratic nominee planned to campaign in Cleveland with basketball star LeBron James.
The final-days scramble highlighted sharp differences between the candidates in a turbulent 2016 campaign season. Backed by Obama and her party's political elite, Clinton spent much of the last year fighting to unify the president's coalition of minorities and younger voters, aided at times by Trump's deep unpopularity among women in both parties. Trump has courted working-class white voters on the strength of his own celebrity, having scared off many would-be Republican allies during a campaign marred by extraordinary gaffes and self-created crises. Just four weeks ago, a video emerged in which a married Trump admitted to kissing women and grabbing their genitalia without their permission. Clinton also faced extraordinary challenges of her own in recent days after the FBI confirmed plans to renew its focus on the former secretary of state's email practices. The development is seen as particularly threatening for Clinton in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire that don't offer early voting. At least 41 million Americans across 48 states have already cast ballots, according to an Associated Press analysis. That's significantly more votes four days before Election Day than in 2012.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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