The Latest: Mrs. Trump warms up Tampa crowd at Trump rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump is making her first joint campaign appearance of the year with her husband.

Mrs. Trump warmed up the large crowd outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for President Donald Trump.

She used her few minutes in the spotlight to echo her husband’s push to downplay the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 228,000 Americans. She predicted that that the nation will soon “overcome this pandemic and continue building the brightest future for generations to come.”

Mrs. Trump did a solo campaign event earlier this week in Pennsylvania. She had planned to appear with her husband during a visit to Pennsylvania last week, but was a last-minute scratch.

The first lady in her speech also called the U.S. “a country of hope” and said her husband has proven himself “a leader who shows us that every single day”

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are chasing votes in Florida, a state all but essential to the Republican’s pathway to another term, as both nominees turn their focus to encouraging voters to turn out in person on Election Day.

Read more:

— Advocates are mobilizing to get out the vote in myriad ways

— Pelosi agenda envisions big health care, infrastructure push aligned with Biden platform.

— Trump paints an apocalyptic portrait of life under a Biden presidency

— Trump Cabinet members fan out to states, blending politics and policy.

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

1:40 p.m.

Joe Biden is campaigning in Florida, aiming to deny President Donald Trump a win in a state that is pivotal to his reelection hopes.

The Democratic presidential candidate will appear at two drive-in rallies Thursday, in Broward County and Tampa. Both areas are key to his chances — Broward is the bluest county in the state, home to a sizable population of Black voters, and Tampa is the largest city in the traditional bellwether Florida county of Hillsborough. Underscoring the stakes for the Republican, Trump himself will campaign in Tampa Thursday as well.

Florida is a perennially close state — it went for Trump by a little more than a percentage point in 2016, and this year, Democrats are making an aggressive play to win back the state’s 29 electoral votes.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is spending $100 million to try to tip the scales for Democrats, and Floridians have seen a parade of Democratic surrogates in recent weeks. Former President Barack Obama campaigned in Miami on Tuesday, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg visited Tampa Wednesday, and Sen. Kamala Harris scheduled to return to the state on Saturday.

Categories: National News