President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden went on offence Sunday (today NZT), with each campaigning in states they are trying to flip during the November 3 election that is just over two weeks away.
Trump began his day in Nevada, making a rare visit to church before an evening rally in Carson City. Once considered a battleground, Nevada hasn't swung for a Republican presidential contender since 2004.
Biden, a practicing Catholic, attended mass in Delaware before campaigning in North Carolina, where a Democrat hasn't won in the White House race since Barack Obama in 2008.
Both candidates are trying to make inroads in states that could help secure a path to victory, but the dynamics of the race are remarkably stable. Biden enjoys a significant advantage in national polls, while carrying a smaller edge in battleground surveys.
With Trump seated in the front row at the nondenominational International Church of Las Vegas, the senior associate pastor, Denise Goulet told attendees that God told her the president is the apple of his eye and would secure a second term.
"At 4:30, the Lord said to me, 'I am going to give your president a second win,'" she said, telling Trump, "you will be the president again."
Trump offered brief remarks, saying "I love going to churches" and that it was "a great honour" to attend the service. The president also said that "we have a group on the other side that doesn't agree with us," and he urged people to "get out there on November 3 or sooner" to vote. He dropped a wad of $20 bills in the collection plate before leaving.
Despite the pandemic, there were no efforts to social distance or limit singing, which health officials classify as a high-risk activity. Few attendees wore masks inside the church.
Biden addressed supporters at a drive-in rally in Durham, North Carolina, where he focused heavily on promoting criminal justice changes to combat institutional racism and he promised to help build wealth among the African American community.
Speaking from a stage in a parking lot with about 70 cars, Biden said North Carolina is crucial to his chance of victory. "It's going to make all the difference here in North Carolina," said Biden, who removed his face mask when he spoke. "And the stakes couldn't be higher."
He noted that Trump had said at one of his rallies that the country had turned the corner on the pandemic.
"As my grandfather would say, this guy's gone around the bend if he think we've turned the corner. Turning the corner? Things are getting worse," Biden said.
The approaches each candidate are taking in the closing days of the contest are widely divergent, with Biden embracing public health guidelines for campaigning during a pandemic. He wears a mask in public when not speaking and his events emphasize social distancing.
Trump has returned to hosting his signature rallies, where attendees are squeezed shoulder to shoulder and many do not wear masks. He continues to play down the coronavirus, even though he is recovering from his own bout with it.
In addition to public poling that indicates Biden has an edge, there's another considerable advantage over Trump: money. Over the past four months, his campaign has raised over $1 billion, and that has enabled him to eclipse Trump's once-massive cash advantage.