After debate Trump and Clinton head to battleground states

Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 19:59:59-04

(AP/WXMI) — Presidential politics resumed in the key battlegrounds on Monday just hours after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in their fiercest match-up yet Sunday night in St. Louis.

Among several stops for the Clinton and Trump campaigns planned this week: Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence was in western North Carolina on Monday, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was planning to visit south Florida on Tuesday. GOP hopeful Donald Trump was also to campaign in Florida the next two days with stops in three cities that are usually GOP strongholds.

Clinton was in Ohio and Michigan on Monday rallying supporters ahead of voter registration deadlines.

Meanwhile, polling in North Carolina and Florida remains close, even as Clinton appears to be taking a commanding national lead. And going days without door-knocking and phone-banking around Fayetteville, North Carolina, or registering voters around Jacksonville, Florida, due to Hurricane Matthew is enough to make Republican and Democratic aides nervous.

"The time for politics will come back, and it will just have to take care of itself," said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, which together with the Republican National Committee leads voter turnout efforts for Trump and the rest of the GOP slate.

In his first public campaign appearance since Sunday's second presidential debate, Pence told a Charlotte crowd that eastern North Carolinians are "inspiring" for their handling of the hurricane. Pence also praised Trump for apologizing after the Friday disclosure of a 2005 NBC video that captured the real estate billionaire making predatory comments about women.

Trump’s first post debate appearances included two rallies Monday in Pennsylvania, where a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll shows the GOP nominee trailing Clinton by 12 percentage points.

Later in the week, Trump also plans to rally supporters in North Carolina and Ohio, which are also considered to be two must-win states where polls show the race in a statistical tie.

In Florida, Democrats were still pushing to extend Tuesday's voter registration deadline, even as they plan to mark the occasion with campaign stops from the candidate, former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore. The deadline applies to both in-person registration and postmarks for mailed forms.

Monday afternoon a federal court might granted an extension in response to a complaint filed Sunday by the Florida Democratic Party with Clinton's support. The suit argued that Matthew constituted a "daunting" and "life-threatening obstacle" to registration and that would-be voters should have additional time since Scott urged 1.5 million people to evacuate ahead of the storm.

Clinton aides declined comment on the suit, but maintain that under normal circumstances, they would have registered tens of thousands of Florida residents in the final five days of registration. President Barack Obama won the state in 2012 by fewer than 75,000 votes out of more than 8.4 million cast. Both Republicans and Democrats have intensified their voter registration efforts since.

Democrats note that South Carolina, another GOP-controlled state, extended its original Oct. 7 deadline to accept registration forms postmarked no later than Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton and Gore are slated for a Miami campaign appearance Tuesday, while the former president has several stops scheduled, including in the Tampa Bay area, where Hillsborough and Pinellas counties combine to form one of the most populous swing districts in presidential elections.

North Carolina's voter registration deadline is Friday, but the state also has same-day registration on Election Day.

FOX 17s Josh Sidorowicz contributed to this report.