U.S. congressional candidates hammered into the campaign homestretch on Saturday, with Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden urging voters to reject division as President Donald Trump touted economic growth after sounding dire warnings on immigration.
Control of both houses of the U.S. Congress, currently dominated by Republicans, and 36 governors’ offices will be at stake when Americans vote in Tuesday’s elections. Interest has been unusually high for a non-presidential election year, with early voting running well ahead of past cycles.
Opinion polls and nonpartisan forecasters generally show Democrats with a strong chance of taking the 23 additional seats they would need for a majority in the House of Representatives, which they could use to launch investigations into Trump’s administration and block his legislative agenda.
Republicans are favored to retain control of the Senate, whose powers include confirming Trump’s nominations to lifetime seats on the Supreme Court.
Trump was due to campaign with Senate candidates in Montana and Florida, on the fourth day of an 11-rally tour largely focused on states he carried in 2016, where Republican challengers are trying to unseat Democratic incumbents.
“Heading to Montana and Florida today! Everyone is excited about the Jobs Numbers – 250,000 new jobs in October. Also, wages rising. Wow!” Trump said on Twitter early Saturday.
The Labor Department on Friday reported sharply better-than-expected job creation in October, with the unemployment rate steady at a 49-year low of 3.7 percent and wages notching their best annual gain in almost a decade.
Republicans in many competitive suburban districts have tried to focus their campaign messages on the robust economic growth, though in his campaign appearances Trump has also focused on his hard-line immigration stance as he looks to stem the illegal and legal flow of people into the United States.
Biden campaigned in Ohio on Saturday in support of Democrats U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray.
“We’re in a battle for America’s soul,” Biden, his voice faint and scratchy, told a crowd at a high school south of Cleveland. “We Democrats have to make it clear who we are. We choose hope over fear, we chose unity over division, we choose our allies over our enemies and we choose truth over lies.”