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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democrats are delivering competing closing arguments during the final weekend before Tuesday’s elections , but their messages are complicated by a deadly shooting in a politically pivotal state.
Trump aimed to drum up voter turnout with events Saturday in Belgrade, Montana, and Pensacola, Florida, about 200 miles west of Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, where two people were shot to death and five others wounded at a yoga studio on Friday night.
Vice President Mike Pence was helping embattled Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., and then meeting up with Trump in Florida to rally Republicans behind Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, and former Rep. Ron DeSantis, who hopes to succeed Scott as governor.
DeSantis has been in a tight contest against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who broke off campaigning after the shooting in his hometown. Gillum had appeared earlier Friday with former President Barack Obama.
Democrats were fanning out across the country to help the party stoke turnout in their effort to capture seats in Congress and win several races for governor. Former Vice President Joe Biden was campaigning in Ohio with former Obama administration official Richard Cordray, who is attempting to become governor in a high-profile contest.
A look at campaign activities on Saturday:
The final stretch of the campaign was briefly disrupted by the shooting Friday evening at a Tallahassee yoga studio.
Scott, the Republican governor seeking a Senate seat, and Gillum, the Tallahassee Democratic mayor running for governor, rushed back to the state capital after a gunman killed two people and injured five others before killing himself.
Shortly before midnight, Gillum and Scott met with victims who had been taken to a hospital near the shopping center where the shooting took place. Gillum, who has clashed with Scott in the past, thanked the governor for his “care and consideration” by visiting the victims.
Both Gillum and Scott planned to return to campaigning on Saturday with stops in Central Florida. Scott was expected to be with Trump when he holds a rally later in the day in Pensacola, while Gillum was to attend a get out the vote concert with Jimmy Buffett being held in West Palm Beach.
DeSantis, Gillum’s Republican opponent in the governor’s race, has repeatedly criticized Tallahassee’s crime rate in his campaign speeches. Police have not yet identified a motive behind the shooting.
Associated Press writer Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.
For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics