US election 2016: Trump to target Democratic states

Media captionSecurity officers swept Mr Trump off the stage while he was speaking in Nevada

Republican candidate Donald Trump has said he is going to target states seen as Democratic strongholds in the last two days before the US election.

He will visit Pennsylvania, Michigan and also Minnesota, which has not gone Republican since 1972.

On Saturday evening, he was briefly rushed off the stage by secret service agents at a rally in Reno, Nevada.

Mr Trump had stopped speaking after seeing something in the auditorium, but returned to the stage minutes later.

When he resumed his speech, Mr Trump said: “Nobody said it was going to be easy for us… I want to thank the Secret Service.”

There were reports that the man had a gun, but the secret service later said that “upon a thorough search of the subject and the surrounding area, no weapon was found”.

Austyn Crites, the man at the centre of the disturbance, was holding a placard saying Republicans Against Trump when he was tackled by security officials.

“I keep repeating – I’m down, someone is trying to choke me – and I’m saying to these people; ‘There is no gun, I just have a sign’,” Mr Crites explained after the incident.


At the scene: The BBC’s James Cook in Reno, Nevada

Media captionAustyn Crites said he told the crowd “there is no gun – I only have a sign”

Donald Trump was approaching the climax of his speech inside a packed hall in Reno when suddenly there was a commotion near the stage. Secret service agents rushed towards the property tycoon and he was rapidly hustled from the auditorium.

For a short time there was panic among supporters of the Republican candidate with some people running for the exits amid an unconfirmed rumour of a gun in the crowd. The sense of alarm was heightened when soldiers in desert camouflage moved in. Seconds later a bald white man was escorted from the venue.

A few minutes later Mr Trump returned to the stage, apparently unfazed, thanking the secret service and completing his speech before leaving for his next stop on the campaign trail.


Earlier, Mr Trump had started off a four-state swing in Florida, where rival Hillary Clinton also campaigned.

She unveiled an advert to run in nearly a dozen states, set to the Katy Perry song, Roar.

Mrs Clinton later appeared with Perry at a rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the Democratic presidential candidate urged the crowd to vote.

Media captionMrs Clinton was joined by Katy Perry as she urged the crowd to vote for “a better, fairer, stronger America”

“When your kids and grandkids ask you what you did in 2016,” Mrs Clinton said, “I want you to be able to say, I voted for a better, stronger, fairer America.”

Perry, who took to the stage to sing the song Nasty, said she was looking forward to election day. “Tuesday’s going to be fun,” she said, “but Wednesday is going to be better.”

Opinion polls suggest Mrs Clinton is still ahead in key states.

But she has seen her lead slip following last week’s FBI announcement that it was looking into emails that may be connected to her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

A nationwide McClatchy-Marist opinion poll on Saturday gave her a one point lead, compared to six in September.

A YouGov polling estimate on Saturday gave her a three-point lead.

Some 37 million early voters have already cast their ballots. Reports suggest many more Latino voters are turning out early in key states including Florida, Arizona and Nevada compared to past elections.

Analysts in Nevada say the Democrats appear to have taken a significant lead there because of the early ballots.

‘Repeal Obamacare’

Donald Trump told a rally in Tampa, Florida: “We’re going into what they used to call Democrat strongholds, where we’re now either tied or leading. We’re going to Minnesota, which traditionally has not been Republican at all.”

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AP

Image caption

Mrs Clinton’s address in Florida had to deal with a downpour of rain

Pennsylvania and Michigan are also both on his agenda and they too have been tough states for Republicans. They have not won them since 1988.

After Tampa, Mr Trump headed to Wilmington in North Carolina, where he was introduced by his wife, Melania.

Mr Trump turned his fire on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare,” he said.

Mrs Clinton addressed a rally in a hoarse voice in Pembroke Pines in Florida, telling supporters: “I don’t think I need to tell you all of the wrong things about Donald Trump”, before cutting the speech short amid a downpour of rain.

Media captionUS election: Voters voice worst-case scenarios

Florida is an important state, particularly for Mr Trump, with many seeing it as a must-win. Candidates need 270 electoral college votes to win the presidency. Florida is worth 29.

The contest appears to be tight. Real Clear Politics’ poll average puts the Democratic candidate ahead, but poll analysis website FiveThirtyEight says Mr Trump has a 52.6% chance of winning the state.

Mrs Clinton’s campaign has revealed she will do a two-minute national TV commercial on Monday night which they expect will reach a combined audience of 20 million people.

She has been relying heavily on A-list supporters – on Friday in Cleveland it was singer Beyonce and rapper husband Jay Z.

After Katy Perry, she will take the stage with basketball star LeBron James in Cleveland on Sunday.

Who is ahead in the polls?

Headshot of Hillary Clinton

45%

Hillary Clinton

Headshot of Donald Trump

45%

Donald Trump

Mr Trump says he does not need star endorsements.

“We do it the old-fashioned way,” he said on Saturday.

Separately, US authorities have said they are assessing the credibility of information on a possible al-Qaeda extremist attack before election day.

New York City, Texas and Virginia were said to be possible targets but a police spokesman said the information “lacks specificity”.

Officials say they regularly assess all possible threats before major events.


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US election 2016: Trump to target Democratic states

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