Trump, Biden hold rallies in Florida on Thursday as Election Day nears

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden both held campaign rallies in Florida on Thursday, highlighting the critical role the battleground state will play in Tuesday’s election.

Both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden held dueling rallies in Tampa.

Thousands waited hours outside of Raymond James Stadium – also a polling place and COVID-19 testing center – to attend a rally for President Trump late Thursday afternoon. 

During his hour-long rally, the president went directly for his opponent, saying if Biden is elected, “there will be a depression like on one’s ever seen.”

He also called Biden “corrupt” and went after the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden, prompting the crowd to resurrect a chant popular during the run-up to the 2016 election: “lock him up, lock him up.”

Trump echoed his previous assertion that the COVID-19 pandemic is “rounding the curve,” despite record numbers of new cases in the United States in the past two weeks.

Across town and a couple of hours later, Biden's speech was cut short due to inclement weather.

The Democratic presidential nominee was forced to wrap his speech up early at a drive-in rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds after a brief shower turned into a torrential downpour.  

Biden picked up his binder and dashed off the stage as the rain came down, scattering the crowd of people who had gathered near the stage to hear him speak. The campaign said 285 cars were there.  

Biden focused his remarks on President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus and his efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. He also went after the president for holding an earlier rally in Tampa without following social distancing guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.  

Biden said Trump "just had a superspreader event here again," but added, "he's spreading more than just the virus -- he's spreading division and discord."


Both campaigns also have been flooding the state with surrogates as they try to capture Florida’s 29 electoral votes. 

Trying to rally supporters in the final days before the presidential election, Eric Trump and Jill Biden will campaign this weekend in Florida.

Trump is slated to campaign for his father, President Donald Trump, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Seawalk Pavilion and Latham Plaza in Jacksonville Beach and at 5 p.m. Saturday at Norelli Family Foundation in Longwood, according to the Trump campaign.

Biden, meanwhile, will campaign Sunday for her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, in Tallahassee, Orlando and Tampa, the Biden campaign said Thursday evening.

Times and locations were not immediately released.

Former President Obama spoke in Orlando on behalf of Biden, encouraging supporters at a drive-in car rally to cast their ballots.  

"Ten days Miami, 10 days until the most important election in our lifetime," the former president told supporters. "This election requires every single one of us. What we do in these next 10 days will matter for decades to come."

On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. made a stop in Daytona Beach to rally voters for his dad. First daughter Ivanka Trump was in the Sunshine State earlier this week to push for last-minute votes.  

With just days to go until the presidential election, nearly half of all registered Florida voters have cast their ballots.

The latest polls, however, have Florida in a virtual lock. The Sunshine State has already seen record numbers of voters turnout for early in-person voting and mail-in voting.

RELATED: Nearly 48 percent of Florida voters have cast ballots

In all, 6,921,358 people had cast ballots, nearly 48 percent of the registered voters in the state. Registered Democrats had returned about 621,000 more mail-in ballots than Republicans, while GOP voters were leading in in-person early voting by about 375,000 ballots.

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Some information taken from the wire sources and