DUBUQUE, Iowa — President Donald Trump held a campaign rally at the Dubuque Regional Airport on Sunday ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election.
Trump predicted a “red wave” of Election Day votes for him, aiming to overcome Democratic leads in early votes.
Speaking to supporters in Dubuque, Trump said, “I like Election Day, and most of you do too.”
Trump and other Republicans will head into Election Day likely trailing by tens of thousands of votes in Iowa, a deficit they hope to overcome with a strong turnout of their supporters at polling places.
By Saturday, 62% of active registered Democrats in Iowa and 43% of Republicans had returned absentee ballots as part of a record-setting early vote in the state.
That means 123,000 more Democrats had voted than Republicans, an advantage far higher than the party enjoyed in 2016 or 2012 in absentee voting. But it also means the remaining electorate Tuesday will be smaller than unusual, tilt toward the GOP and feature a plurality of voters who aren’t registered to either party.
Trump won 208,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton on Election Day in Iowa in 2016, nearly 57% percent of ballots cast that day. He won the state by about 147,000 votes after Clinton carried the early vote.
Given the stronger early vote totals this year among Democrats, Republicans may need a similar performance for Trump to carry the state’s six electoral votes and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst to win re-election. They will have to do so with fewer Election Day voters expected and amid a raging coronavirus pandemic that has become a concern for some poll workers and voters.
Trump was aiming to boost that turnout in a final campaign blitz with 10 rallies over two days across battleground states.
Trump turned the microphone over to his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump, who said it’s time for Trump‘s supporters to have his back.
“He fights so hard for each of us every single day, and now you can fight for him,” Ivanka Trump said.