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Jump In Florida, Nevada Early Voting Could Reap Latino Gains For Clinton

MIAMI (Reuters) – The man answering a volunteer’s knock on the door in the Kendall section of Miami-Dade County on Saturday was emphatic: Not only would he vote but “esperamos que la presidenta gane” – Spanish for “we hope Madam President wins.”

Volunteers across Florida made a last-minute push to get voters to the polls this weekend with early voting ending on Sunday ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, pitting Republican Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton, or “la presidenta,” as the man at the door called her.

Latino voters like the man in Kendall and elsewhere could have an outsized influence in Tuesday’s election. Early voting data may portend a jump in the number of Hispanic voters this year, especially in the key swing states of Florida and Nevada.

Clinton has polled much stronger among Latino voters nationwide, suggesting she would benefit more from a surge in early voting in those two states, voting experts say. Trump has fared poorly in that demographic, having repeatedly angered Hispanics with disparaging comments about their communities.

A recent poll conducted by the firms The Tarrance Group and Bendixen and Amandi found that Hispanic registered voters in Florida favor Clinton 60 percent to 30 percent. In Nevada the gap was even wider – 72 percent for Clinton and 19 percent for Trump.

In Florida, the Clinton campaign estimates early Latino voting is up 139 percent, or more than twice as much, compared to 2012, according to a field report dated Wednesday.

Democratic strategist Steve Schale, a Florida expert, estimated that 170,000 more Hispanics had voted early or by mail as of Wednesday than had voted early or by mail in the entire 2012 election, according to a post on his blog.

“And keep in mind, because Hispanic is a self-identifying marker, studies have found that the real Hispanic vote is larger than the registration. So while Hispanics might make up 14.2 percent of the voters who have voted so far, in reality, the number is larger,” he wrote.

But the raw data leave a number of questions. Will Latinos keep up the higher turnout rates on Election Day? For which candidate did they vote? Will turnout from Latinos and other minorities make enough of a difference to swing Florida and other states?

Trump kicked off his maverick campaign last year by calling many Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, and his relationship with Latinos hardly improved from there. From his calls to build a wall on the border and have Mexico pay for it, to comments that an American-born judge could not do his job because of his Mexican heritage, Trump has consistently had low polling figures with Latinos across the country.

The state of Nevada does not note race or ethnicity on its voter registration but other data there suggest Latinos also are turning out in force.

DEMOCRATIC EDGE IN KEY COUNTY

For one thing, Clark County has seen a surge in early voting. Between in-person and absentee voting, registered Democrats have now returned over 72,000 more ballots than registered Republicans there. Those figures do not indicate which candidate voters picked, only the party with which the voters are registered.

Friday alone saw 57,172 votes in person in Clark County. Photos making the rounds on social media showed especially long lines at a Cardenas market voting site, which stayed open late to accommodate the surge of voters.

Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, has a large Latino population – 30.6 percent, compared to 28.1 percent for Nevada as a whole, according to the U.S. Census.

Even more Republican votes elsewhere in the state are so far not enough to counterbalance that Democratic lead in Clark County. Overall, the Democrats have cast around 46,000 more ballots in Nevada than Republicans.

That’s not an accident, said Artie Blanco, the Nevada state coordinator for the progressive group For Our Future. Her organization and others banded together in a major get-out-the-vote push, especially among voters of color, and the coalition’s data suggest that the effort paid off.

Twenty-two percent of Democrats who voted on Friday had a conversation with someone from that progressive coalition at some point after Oct. 15, Blanco said. Among Latino voters on the last three voting days, the coalition had conversations with 14 percent of them after Oct. 15, according to the group’s data.

Trump on Saturday hit out at the early voters in Nevada, looking to undermine the state’s results before Election Day.

“They didn’t get the kind of vote that they needed to stop us on Tuesday,” Trump said in Reno. “Tuesday is our day in this state.”

He said Reno and northern Nevada could “carry us all the way to Washington.”

But Blanco said the votes were instead the result of major work to bring out voters, especially people of color and that progressive organizations were not done yet.

“We have all these voters that we need to now go back and say, ‘You’ve got one day,’” she said of those who had not yet cast ballots.

(Writing and reporting by Luciana Lopez; Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Bill Trott and Mary Milliken)

IMAGE: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a “Latinos for Hillary” rally in San Antonio, Texas October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Abate

Clinton Warns Against Complacency, Trump Warns Of World War Three

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned her supporters on Tuesday against complacency as opinion polls show her holding a clear lead over Republican rival Donald Trump with exactly two weeks left until the Nov. 8 election.

Clinton told voters in Florida, one of the battleground states where the election is likely to be decided, that Democrats cannot afford to slacken.

“I hope you will come out and vote because it’s going to be a close election. Pay no attention to the polls. Don’t forget, don’t get complacent, because we’ve got to turn people out,” she told a rally in Coconut Creek, standing in front of a large sign reading “Vote Early.”

Trump also campaigned in Florida on Tuesday. He blasted recent spikes in premiums for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Trumppromised to repeal and replace the health care law, as soon as he is elected.

“This is why we have to drain the swamp and repeal and replace Obamacare immediately, and I’m the only candidate running for president who will do it,” Trump said.

On Monday, the U.S. government said the average premium for insurance plans sold on Healthcare.gov for 2017 rose by 25 percent compared with 2016.

But with polls showing Trump trailing Clinton, Trump has asked his campaign to cut back on work identifying candidates for jobs in his future administration and to focus instead on bolstering his chances on Nov. 8, according to two people familiar with the campaign’s inner workings.

An average of national polls on the RealClearPolitics website since mid-October gives Clinton a lead of more than 5 percentage points, as Trump fights off accusations that he groped women and faces heavy criticism for suggesting he might not accept the result of the election if he loses.

Clinton received a further boost when Colin Powell, who served as Republican President George W. Bush’s secretary of state and was chairman of the U.S. military’s joint chiefs of staff under his father, Republican President George Bush, said on Tuesday he would vote for her.

Trump denies the accusations of sexual misconduct and says the election is rigged against him, although he has not cited widely accepted evidence to back that up.

On Tuesday, Trump told Reuters that Clinton’s plan for fixing the Syrian civil war would “lead to World War Three,” because of the potential for conflict with military forces from nuclear-armed Russia.

In an interview focused largely on foreign policy, Trump said defeating Islamic State is a higher priority than persuading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, playing down a long-held goal of U.S. policy.

Clinton has called for the establishment of a no-fly zone and “safe zones” on the ground in Syria to protect noncombatants.

The two candidates have sparred in recent days over the U.S.-backed Iraqi military push to take the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State, which Trump described as a “total disaster.”

“He’s declaring defeat before the battle has even started,” Clinton, who was secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first term, said on Tuesday.

She urged supporters to participate in early voting, which began this week in Florida.

“Nobody should want to wake up on Nov. 9 and wonder whether there was more you could have done,” Clinton said.

Clinton also appeared on Tuesday at the Univision studio in Doral, Florida, on “El Gordo y La Flaca” (“The Fat Man and the Skinny Woman”), a long-running entertainment show aimed atLatinos.

She talked about everything from her hopes for the peace process in Colombia to baking chocolate chip cookies, in an appearance low on policy but that underscored the importance of Latino voters in the battle for Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

Clinton maintained a commanding lead in the race to secure the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, according to Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project results released on Saturday. They showed that Clinton had a better than 95 percent chance of winning, if the election had been held last week.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Sanford, Florida, and Emily Flitter in New York; Writing by Alistair Bell and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally in South Broward Area at Broward College-North Campus in Coconut Creek, Florida, U.S., October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Elizabeth Warren Mobilizes ‘Nasty Women’ During Clinton Campaign Rally

MANCHESTER, N.H. (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slammed her rival Donald Trump on Monday for saying that the week-old effort to re-take the Iraqi city of Mosul from the control of Islamic State was going badly.

“He’s basically declaring defeat before the battle has even started,” Clinton said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. “He’s proving to the world what it means to have an unqualified commander in chief.”

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump, the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, said the “attack on Mosul is turning out to be a total disaster. We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb.”

Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by the United States, have mounted a huge assault on the area surrounding the city, the last stronghold of Islamic State forces in Iraq. They have retaken about 80 Islamic State-held villages and towns since the offensive was launched on Oct. 16, but have yet to move on the city itself.

The operation could last weeks, or even months. Islamic State on Monday mounted counter-attacks across the country against the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces, trying to deflect attention away from the Mosul campaign.

With just over two weeks to go until the election, former Secretary of State Clinton is ahead of the New York businessman in national opinion polls. Both candidates are focusing on a small set of swing states that could decide the contest: while Clinton campaigned in New Hampshire on Monday, Trump spent the day in Florida.

Seeking to cement a wide advantage she holds with women voters, Clinton enlisted the help of firebrand U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who slammed Trump over allegations that he tried to grope or kiss several women over a 20-year span.

“He thinks because he has a mouthful of Tic Tacs that he can force himself on any women within groping distance,” Warren told the raucous crowd of 4,000 at St. Anselm College in Manchester. “Well, I’ve got news for you, Donald Trump. Women have had it with guys like you.”

At least 10 women have said Trump made unwanted sexual advances, including groping or kissing, in incidents from the early 1980s to 2007, according to reports in various news outlets. Trump has denied the women’s allegations, calling them “totally and absolutely false” and promising on Saturday that he would sue his accusers.

Warren’s reference to mint candies referred to a moment in a 2005 video that surfaced earlier this month in which Trump was heard boasting about groping and kissing women.

NASTY WOMEN

Warren also referenced Trump calling Clinton “a nasty woman” at last week’s final presidential debate, a phrase that quickly caught fire on social media, sparking hashtags and T-shirts.

“Get this Donald, nasty women are tough,” Warren said. “Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote. And on Nov. 8 we nasty women are gonna march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever.”

Clinton praised Warren for taking the fight to Trump. “She gets under his (Trump’s) thin skin like nobody else,” Clinton said.

At an event for farmers in Boynton Beach, Florida, earlier in the day, Trump disputed multiple national and state polls that show him losing to Clinton and accused the media of distorting poll results to discourage his supporters from voters.

“I believe we’re actually winning,” Trump said.

Just the day before, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, acknowledged that the candidate was trailing in the race, saying in a TV interview, “We’re behind.”

According to Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project, which surveys the vote in battleground states, Clinton leads Trump in most of the states that Trump would need to win to have a chance of amassing the minimum 270 Electoral College votes needed to capture the White House.

According to the survey, she has a better than 95 percent chance of winning, if the election was held this week. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump. The Electoral College votes represent a tally of wins from the states.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez in New Hampshire and Steve Holland in Florida; Writing by James Oliphant; Editing by Caren Bohan and Frances Kerry)

Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives to a campaign event accompanied by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at Alumni Hall Courtyard, Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Clinton Names White House Transition Team

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Tuesday named a leadership line-up for her transition team, which will prepare the way should she win the November election.

Ken Salazar, previously both a secretary of the interior and a Colorado senator, will chair the team, known formally as the Clinton-Kaine Transition Project, for Clinton and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.

The announcement comes as Clinton has gained momentum in the polls against Republican rival Donald Trump, whose campaign has struggled after a string of controversial remarks.

The team will include four co-chairs, according to a statement: former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, president of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden, and Maggie Williams, director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

Two policy advisers on the campaign, Ed Meier and Ann O’Leary, will also move full time to the transition team.

Heather Boushey, the executive director of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, will be the chief economist.

The team includes strong ties to the Clinton campaign. Tanden, for example, is a longtime Clinton confidante, and Boushey has advised the campaign on economic policy.

Clinton led Trump by more than 5 percentage points in the Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released on Friday.

Trump, a New York businessman who has never held elected office, has been mired in repeated controversies recently. He drew heavy criticism last week after he suggested gun rights activists could take action against Clinton, a statement he later said was aimed at rallying votes against her.

Many establishment Republicans, alarmed by the steady flow of controversial remarks, have distanced themselves from Trump in recent weeks.

In May, Trump picked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to head his own transition team.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Photo: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to Vice-President Joe Biden speak as they campaign together during an event in Scranton, Pennsylvania, August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

In A First, U.S. Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce Endorses Clinton For President

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton, the group’s first-ever endorsement for a presidential nominee and a rebuke of Republican Donald Trump in the middle of his party’s convention.

The Trump campaign “has gone from frankly something that was entertaining, comical, and has devolved into something that is frankly scary,” said Javier Palomarez, the chamber president and chief executive officer.

He said the group weighed in because of Trump’s rhetoric, which has angered many in the U.S. minority community. Trump has been accused of bigotry for his hard line on immigration, and many of his comments have been blasted as racist ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“It wasn’t a step that was taken easily,” Palomarez said, noting that many of the chamber’s board and members are “staunch Republicans.”

Trump kicked off his campaign last year saying Mexico was sending rapists and drug dealers across the border, and he proposed building a wall to stop them. He has called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants to shore up national security and suggested an Indiana-born federal judge was unable to hear a lawsuit against his Trump University venture because the judge is of Mexican descent.

The New York businessman’s positions have angered minority groups, liberals, Democrats, and even some Republicans, who have called them racist, divisive and callous.

Among black, Hispanic and Asian voters polled in the first 15 days of July, 70 percent supported Clinton while 9 percent supported Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll. Over that time, 45 percent of all likely voters supported Clinton and 34 percent supported Trump.

Trump became his party’s official nominee to the presidency on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Palomarez said the Clinton campaign earned their group’s endorsement by doing significant outreach to Latinos, including asking to speak with chamber members in different parts of the country.

“I think she understands the challenges of American small businesses,” he said.

The convention had a dramatic start, as anti-Trump delegates tried, and failed, to force a roll-call vote that would record the number of delegates opposed to the New York real estate developer.

The chamber is an organization of Hispanic business leaders representing the interests ofHispanic-owned businesses nationwide. It had endorsed Clinton and Republican John Kasich in their respective primaries, the group’s first-ever such endorsements.

 

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by David Gregorio)

Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles as she visits Galvanize, a learning community for technology, in Denver, U.S. June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking