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MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – An extremely busy and important weekend lies ahead for Florida candidates as Tuesday’s midterm election draws closer.
Saturday morning began on Friday night for Democrats.
Glued to their televisions and Twitter feeds, they watched as former President Barack Obama lambasted his successor for the second time in six hours at a rally for Stacey Abrams, the former state House minority leader running for governor in Georgia.
Obama, at Morehouse College in Atlanta, answered Trump’s jab from earlier in the week, when the Republican President said Abrams — owner of an estimable political résumé — was “not qualified” for the job that she and GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp are at about even odds to win next week.
“Republicans — they keep trying to diminish Stacey’s remarkable accomplishments,” Obama said, without mentioning Trump by name. “She is the most experienced, most qualified candidate in this race. She’s got an incredible track record of fighting for working families.”
As Obama divided his day by boosting the Democrats, first in Miami for gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, and chopping away at Trump, Republicans eagerly returned the favor — and gave a preview of what to expect on Saturday.
Trump’s plans include campaigning for Senate challenger Matt Rosendale in Montana in the afternoon before returning to Florida for his second trip there in four days after spending Wednesday night in Fort Myers. This time he’ll be in Pensacola, another traditionally Republican stronghold up in the state’s Panhandle.
Trump gave a howling hint of what to expect this weekend during a campaign stop in Indiana on Friday.
Reciting faithfully from what has become his midterm songbook, he touted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and issued yet another ominous — and almost entirely fact-free — warning about a group of migrants, hundreds of miles and weeks away in Mexico, headed for the US border in search of asylum.
“Between Justice Kavanaugh and the caravan, you people are energized,” Trump enthused.
He also took on Obama, who had hours earlier assailed him for, among other things, “constant fear-mongering” and chronic dissembling and telling outright falsehoods about the GOP’s efforts, past and present, to dismantle the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
In Miami, Obama called it “gall” and “chutzpah”; in Atlanta, he labeled it “some kind of gumption” and “some kind of nerve.”
Earlier in the day, Trump had responded to Obama’s barrage by mocking the former president over what he described as a “very small crowd” in Miami. Later on, though, at a rally for Senate candidate Mike Braun in Indiana, Trump went a nastier route.
“It’s no surprise that (Democratic Sen.) Joe Donnelly is holding a rally this weekend with Barack H. Obama,” he said, placing an emphasis on the “H,” which stands for Hussein. The implication was clear enough and right in line with the tone of Trump’s closing argument to Republican voters.
Trump’s Saturday itinerary fits a familiar profile, with both scheduled rallies aimed at revving up the GOP base behind candidates who are narrowly trailing in most recent polling.
Former Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, who was boosted in his bid for the nomination by the President’s endorsement, now finds himself consistently off the pace in his race with Gillum, who will take a brief break from the trail early Saturday morning in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, where he is the mayor.
In Montana, Rosendale trails incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in most available polling.
While Obama’s rare campaign appearances dominated the headlines on Friday, the beginning of the weekend will belong to the grassroots liberal groups that have quietly been gearing up for a massive, final get-out-the-vote push.
One coalition initiative, aptly named The Last Weekend, will be put to the test now after months of organizing and promotion. Swing Left, which is leading the effort, and has raised more than $9 million for candidates in 84 swing districts this cycle, says its volunteers called and knocked on the doors of nearly 500,000 voters just last week.
They expect that number to skyrocket as Election Day nears.
If you haven’t voted yet, you can still take part in early voting through Sunday, November 4 in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Monroe County ends on November 3.
There are 28 early voting locations in Miami-Dade, 22 in Broward, and 5 in Monroe.
It doesn’t matter which location you go to as long as it’s in your county.
- Early voting locations in Miami-Dade
- Early voting locations in Broward County
- Early voting locations in Monroe County
What do I bring?
Picture ID with signature
Sample ballot to speed up the voting process. There are a lot of candidates and a lot of questions, which means a long ballot. Start preparing now.
- CLICK HERE to see a SAMPLE BALLOT in Miami-Dade
- CLICK HERE to see a SAMPLE BALLOT in Broward
- CLICK HERE to see a SAMPLE BALLOT in Monroe
You can also vote in person on Election Day, November 6, at your assigned precinct from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report)