Trump Considers Fracking Order as He Woos Ohio: Campaign Update

President Donald Trump is considering an executive order on fracking as he criticizes Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s stance on energy policy. Texas’ high court ruled that counties would each have just one drop box for voters who want to hand-deliver mail ballots. And Biden is maintaining a 6-point lead in Nevada, a state Biden is seeking to flip. There are seven days until Election Day and 48 days until the Electoral College meets.

Other Developments:

Trump Considers Executive Order on Fracking

Trump is considering issuing an executive order to require an economic analysis of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according to several people familiar with the matter, as the president seeks to use what he portrays as Biden’s mixed messages on energy to woo voters in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The order would call for U.S. agencies to analyze the economic impact of fracking, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss nonpublic deliberations. The order would also require an evaluation of how fracking, which is used to coax oil and gas out of underground rock formations, could be expanded, they said.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, declined to comment on the order but said: “Since taking office, President Trump has prioritized all forms of domestic energy production which has led to America becoming energy independent.”

The possible order, which was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes as fracking has emerged as a hot button issue of the 2020 election, with Trump claiming that Biden wants to ban the technique, despite the Democrat’s assertions to the contrary.

Biden said during a primary debate in March that he would ban fracking but his campaign clarified the next day he was only referring to banning it on federal lands. Biden has since said he doesn’t support a national fracking ban. Natural gas development is a major economic engine in Pennsylvania and Ohio. -- Jennifer Dlouhy and Ari Natter

Texas High Court Limits Ballot Drop Boxes to One per County (7:46 p.m.)

Texas counties won’t have multiple ballot drop boxes ahead of the Nov. 3 national election.

The state can restrict counties to just one drop box for voters who want to hand-deliver mail ballots for fear they won’t arrive in time to be counted if sent by post, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

That means whether it’s Harris County, where Houston is located with more than 4 million people, or Loving County, population 169, each gets one drop box.

The high court didn’t hear oral arguments and issued its decision without explanation. Two lower Texas courts had earlier ordered the state to let counties keep multiple drop boxes open to make voting easier for people seeking to avoid voting in person during the pandemic.

A historically reliable Republican stronghold, Texas has become a battleground this year. The RealClear Politics average of recent polls has Trump up by just 2.4 percentage points. -- Laurel Brubaker Calkins

Biden Maintains His Lead in Nevada, a State Trump Wants to Flip (3:39 p.m.)

Biden leads Trump by 6 percentage points in Nevada, a state that Hillary Clinton won by just 2 points in 2016 and that Trump is seeking to flip.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released Tuesday finds Biden leading Trump 49% to 43% among likely voters in Nevada. Biden’s lead is buoyed by Hispanic voters who support him 59% to 30%, as well as younger voters 18-29 who support him by 56% to 32%. Women back Biden in the poll 54% to 36%.

The poll was conducted Oct. 23-26, after the presidential debate last week, and finds nearly no change in the numbers from the same poll taken at the beginning of October.

Trump has visited Nevada twice since August, a sign of the Republicans’ interest in flipping the swing state, which has backed presidents of both parties, including George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points and was conducted among 809 Nevada likely voters. -- Emma Kinery

Trippy Trump Facebook Ad Skirts Policy on Declaring a Win (2:06 p.m.)

A Trump campaign ad featuring screaming flowers appears to skirt Facebook’s policy against candidates prematurely declaring a win.

The ad, which ran on Monday, features an animated sun with Trump’s face rising over a field with flowers that bloom to reveal a famous video of a woman screaming after Trump won the 2016 election.

“It’s morning in America,” a narrator says to Edvard Grieg’s “Morning Mood,” as what sounds like a newscaster says “Donald Trump is still president of the United States.”

Facebook Inc. says that political ads from politicians who claim victory prematurely are against company policies, and should be removed. The company stopped accepting all new political ads early Tuesday morning, a week before the election, but will still allow advertisers to promote ads that have been previously uploaded into its system.

The ad could be a violation depending on when the Trump campaign runs it. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump on Monday also uploaded a series of ads promoting record GDP growth in the third quarter, though those numbers have not yet been released. -- Kurt Wagner

Biden’s Stutter Mocked on Trump Campaign Call (1:40 p.m.)

A Republican congressman mocked Biden’s childhood stutter on a Trump campaign call Tuesday.

In a call to highlight Biden’s past comments on fracking, Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania imitated a stutter as he argued that Biden “gets himself caught up” when talking about the natural gas extraction method.

“Look he’s been against fracking since the beginning of this primary season. He’s pledged that he would eliminate, he kind of stumbles: ‘I ... I ... I’ll ... I’ll ... I’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... we’ll ... w-we’ll work it out, we’ll work it out,’” Kelly said.

Biden says he would ban new oil and gas permits on public land but would not ban fracking. But in a bid to win Pennsylvania voters, Trump has seized on Biden’s verbal missteps during the campaign to argue that he would ban fracking outright.

Trump campaign surrogate Lara Trump and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey have also mocked the way Biden speaks at campaign events, although both denied they were talking about his stutter. -- Mario Parker

Bloomberg Spending $15 Million for Biden in Texas, Ohio (11:35 a.m.)

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending $15 million to support Biden’s efforts to flip Ohio and Texas, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC will run TV ads in both states starting Wednesday until Election Day on November 3.

“Mike looked at the polling data and it was clear that Texas and Ohio are in play for Biden. He is investing in expanding the map, beyond the ‘Blue Wall’ to places like Florida, Texas and Ohio, where it’s close but a win could make a big difference,” a different spokesman, Kevin Sheekey, said.

In Ohio, the ads will focus on the coronavirus, the economy and Biden’s recovery plans. In Texas, the ads will focus specifically on the coronavirus and will air in both English and Spanish. The spokesperson also said Bloomberg was increasing his spending on behalf of Biden in Florida.

Trump and Biden are essentially tied in Ohio and Florida, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polling, and Trump is leading Biden by 3.2 percentage points in Texas, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976.

Bloomberg, who spent $1.1 billion on his unsuccessful presidential campaign, has donated $107 million to federal candidates and committees this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He’s given $30 million to Independence USA PAC, his own super PAC, which has spent $32 million backing Biden.

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. -- Mark Niquette

Youth Voter Turnout Could Match 2008 Levels (10:08 a.m.)

Young voters are showing enthusiasm, as high as with the runup to the 2008 election, which saw a historic turnout as the country elected its first Black president, Barack Obama.

In a poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics released Monday, 63% of 18- to 29-year-olds said they will “definitely be voting” this year.

That’s much higher than the 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds who said the same in the institute’s 2016 poll and comparable to a poll in 2008 which found 63% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they would definitely vote.

If true, that’s a good sign for Biden as the poll showed that young likely voters backed Biden over Trump, 63% to 25%.

The poll of 2,026 18- to 29-year-olds was conducted Sept. 23-Oct. 11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

Biden Says He May Have a Shot at Texas (9 a.m.)

Biden said he thinks he may be the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Texas since 1976.

In an interview with the NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth Monday night, Biden said the campaign has put a “major effort” into the Lone Star State.

“Eight days to go, and the Lone Star State has a shot of becoming blue again,” he said. “We have 17 battleground states across the country. We’re not losing focus on securing the many pathways to 270,” he said, referring to the number of Electoral College votes a candidate needs to win the presidency.

Texas demographics have been trending toward Democrats in recent years, but Republicans still dominate state politics. Trump currently has a 3.2 percentage point lead in the RealClearPolitics average of polls, below the nine-point margin of his win in 2016.

Biden running mate Kamala Harris will stop in Houston Friday, while the campaign is spending millions on ads in the state.

Trump Urges Mail-In Voters to Change Their Ballots (7:42 a.m.)

Trump erroneously told voters having second thoughts that they can change their votes in most states Tuesday.

Echoing an argument he made just days before the 2016 election, Trump said that Google searches for “can I change my vote” have been trending upwards, claiming that it was for him.

“The answer in most states is YES. Go do it. Most important Election of your life!” he tweeted.

Only a handful of states allow mail-in voters to change their ballots after submitting them and the practice is not common. Voters in Wisconsin have until Thursday to request that their ballot be spoiled and they be issued a new one, while voters in New York can simply show up on Election Day to have their mail-in ballot nullified.

Trump claimed that searches spiked after the second debate, while conservative media sites have claimed the searches are related to stories about Hunter Biden. But most of the recent surge has been driven by those stories, with related searches like “change my vote trending” and “top Google searches.”

Older Veterans Back Trump, Younger Veterans Like Biden (6:47 a.m.)

A slim majority of veterans say they will vote for Trump, but his support is concentrated among older veterans, according to a new poll.

In a survey by the Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families released Monday, 52% of people with some military experience backed Trump and 42% backed Biden.

That’s a drop for Trump, who got about 60% of voters with some military experience in 2016, according to exit polls.

Trump’s numbers were buoyed by strong support among veterans over 55, who backed him over Biden, 58%-39%.

By contrast, veterans under the age of 34 supported Biden over Trump, 46%-42%; and veterans age 34-54 backed Biden 51%-40%. Those two groups also showed higher numbers of respondents saying they’d vote for a third-party candidate.

The nationwide poll of 1,733 veterans was conducted Oct. 1-13.

Two Conservative-Leaning Papers Back Trump, While Another Balks

Trump picked up the endorsement of the conservative-leaning editorial boards at the New York Post and the Spokane Spokesman-Review in Washington state.

But he lost the Topeka Capital-Journal in Kansas, which supported him in 2016.

In an editorial announcing its decision, the Capital-Journal’s editorial board said that Biden is “committed to following the science and leading our country out of this pandemic.”

“Yes, you might have heard that he’s also a Democrat. He deserves your support anyway,” the paper wrote.

The Spokesman-Review, while endorsing Trump’s “market based solutions” and approach to trade, added that he is “a bully and a bigot,” who “panders to racists” and “tweets conspiracy theories” while handling the coronavirus poorly, denying climate change and seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without an alternative.

Coming Up:

Trump will visit Lansing, Michigan; West Salem, Wisconsin; and Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday. He’ll be in Bullhead City and Goodyear, Arizona on Wednesday.

Biden will be in Atlanta, Georgia Tuesday and former President Barack Obama will be in Orlando, Florida.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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