Washington — With early voting underway in key states, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the number of Democratic voters who have already turned out to cast their ballots is indicative of the enthusiasm for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.
In an interview with “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Perez said Democrats have “overwhelmingly” turned in their ballots already, including 350,000 voters who had not cast ballots in the last two elections.
“It’s not just people who are voting for convenience, it’s people who haven’t turned out,” he said. “And that shows the enthusiasm for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
Perez said he cautions people to never “get on the poll-er coaster,” but said Biden and Harris are gaining ground in new states.
“We have a lot more work to do, but we’re expanding the battlegrounds,” he said. “We’re competing in places like Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Georgia and elsewhere, and that’s because we have a candidate who I think is just uniquely qualified to bring people together.”
A CBS News Battleground Tracker poll released Sunday shows Biden leading President Trump among likely voters in Wisconsin and with an edge in Arizona. Another Battleground Tracker poll released last week found the two candidates tied in Iowa, while Biden was ahead of Mr. Trump in Michigan and Nevada.
Perez said that as the presidential race enters its last weeks, Mr. Trump is “fanning the flames of division.”
“He doesn’t have a plan for the coronavirus. He doesn’t have a plan for the economy. He’s divisive,” he said. “Joe Biden is bringing us together.”
While Perez said enthusiasm for Biden and Harris is growing, Reince Priebus, a CBS News political analyst and former head of the Republican National Committee, said the race is “going to come down to the wire.”
“I hope and expect the president to win,” Priebus, who served as Mr. Trump’s first chief of staff, said on “Face the Nation.”
Priebus said he is not concerned Mr. Trump may lose reelection and said voters can expect the president to put the focus back on the economy.
Mr. Trump and Biden are set to meet Thursday in Nashville for the next and last. The second debate, which was scheduled to occur last week, was canceled after the two campaigns wrangled over safety precautions following the president’s diagnosis with COVID-19. The president and former vice president instead participated in hosted by different networks.
Previewing the upcoming debate, Priebus said it’s important for Mr. Trump to show he is “likable” and “fun.”
“Let Joe Biden speak, and let Joe Biden defend the Obama economy,” he said. “Let him defend why ISIS was running wild and burning people in cages. Let Joe Biden defend why he was the one guy that didn’t want to go forward with the Osama bin Laden raid. Let him defend the Iran deal.”
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