TAMPA, Fla. — President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden both stopped in Tampa to campaign Thursday, just five days before the election.
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Trump held a Make America Great Again Victory rally at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday.
Several speakers leading up to @realDonaldTrump, including @RepGusBilirakis @AshleyMoodyFL @realannapaulina The crowd continues to grow outside @RJStadium Most people in the crowd are not wearing masks. pic.twitter.com/EiJjht6dqC— Erik Waxler (@erikwaxler) October 29, 2020
Late Wednesday night, people started arriving to wait nearby the stadium.
Officials said President Trump was allowed to hold the rally at Raymond James despite it being an early voting site because he was in the north parking lot — 150 ft. away from voters.
Biden stopped in Tampa at the Florida State Fairgrounds for an invite-only drive-in event Thursday evening. However, his event was cut short due to weather conditions.
“Here’s the deal, Florida is bright purple meaning we are equally divided and we’re the big prize that’s out there,” said ABC Action News political analyst Susan MacManus.
She said the last time two presidential candidates were in Tampa on the same day was in 2004.
“Florida here is divided and there are almost equal numbers of registered democrats and republicans and we have a lot of no party affiliation as well. The composition of the Tampa media market is very much like Florida at large and that makes it important because the messages they see work well here will probably be used across the rest of the state,” she said.
Analysts say this shows how critical the area is.
“I really think at this point in time as they’re traveling around the state and nation it’s not as much as turning undecided voters as much as turning out the base for them,” said Ron Pierce, the president and CEO of RSA Consulting Group.
“I think it will be interesting to see obviously Biden’s going to Broward County prior to coming to Tampa that’s very much a democratic stronghold for the Democratic Party. Again that’s about him turning out the base. If you look at Trump him coming to Tampa tomorrow along the I-4 corridor it’s very important for him to perform well along the I-4 corridor and really turn out his base," she said.
This week alone, former President Barack Obama campaigned for Biden in Orlando, while Pete Buttigieg stopped in Tampa and St. Petersburg Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. held a rally in Jacksonville Wednesday, while Ivanka Trump campaigned in Sarasota earlier this week.
“If anybody doubted that their vote matters, the fact that the two presidential candidates themselves are coming to Tampa with just a few days until the election you have it the importance of our area critical to both,” said MacManus.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 6.9 million Floridians had cast ballots either through early voting or vote by mail, according to the Florida Department of State.