TAMPA: Donald Trump pledged to pour millions of his own dollars into his presidential bid on Wednesday, in defiance of the seemingly unstoppable momentum building behind Hillary Clinton.
With less than two weeks before polling day, and with early voting underway in several states, the Democratic nominee remains comfortably on course to become America’s first female president.
And Wednesday’s headlines told a telling tale of two buildings: Clinton revealed where she will hold her likely victory party and Trump unveiled an alternative Washington address — just in case the White House eludes him.
The latest rolling poll average compiled by tracker RealClearPolitics showed Clinton extending her national lead in a four-way race against Trump and two outsiders to 5.9 percentage points — pointing to a clear electoral college victory.
But the former secretary of state’s rival, a 70-year-old Manhattan real estate mogul, took heart from a separate new survey that shows him with a two-point lead in early-voting Florida, a state where races are often won and lost.
“We are going to have, I think, a tremendous victory,” Trump told CNN.
Pressed on whether he’ll open his own wallet to match an onslaught of Clinton ads, Trump said he will have spent $100 million of his own money by election day, a sum which would imply him digging much deeper than he has so far.
Trump was to speak in the swing state of North Carolina later Wednesday, but first he set aside precious time for the grand opening of his new hotel in Washington, the Trump International.
Hundreds of journalists covered the grandiose re-opening of the former post office, a stone’s throw from the White House, but many mocked Trump for focusing on his business so close to polling.
Clinton’s camp, meanwhile, announced that she would await the results on November 8 at the vast Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, which has a literal “glass ceiling” to match the metaphorical barrier she plans to shatter on behalf of women.
All eyes on Florida
Underlining her confident determination, Clinton marked her 69th birthday campaigning in Florida, speaking to a capacity crowd in Lake Worth before flying to Tampa on the Gulf Coast.
A Bloomberg poll out Wednesday put Trump 45 to 43 percent among likely voters in Florida, a close margin in what is simply a must-win state for him.
The RealClearPolitics poll average still puts Clinton ahead in the state by 1.5 percentage points.
But Bloomberg’s survey shows Trump doing somewhat better than Clinton with independents, who may hold the key to victory in a state that was famously deadlocked in 2000, when the Supreme Court decided the outcome, giving the win to George W. Bush.
“We’re the ones with the momentum,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on CBS’s “This Morning” show.
To a Hispanic audience on Miami-based Univision’s National Radio, Clinton trumpeted her promises to introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship “as soon as I get there.”
President Barack Obama — who will campaign for Clinton in Florida on Friday — has said he wants an overwhelming Democratic victory in order to send the message that Americans reject Trump’s divisive rhetoric.
Florida is the country’s third most populous state, and one with a wide mix of constituencies, including retirees, Hispanics and Bible Belt whites.
North Carolina voted for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, but the conservative southern state has been leaning Democratic in the current White House race.
Clinton holds a two percent lead there and the state’s Republican leaders worry that controversies that have dogged Trump throughout the campaign will hurt them in congressional races.
North Carolina’s Republican Senator Richard Burr is in a tight re-election contest against Democrat Deborah Ross. A Burr loss could tip control of the US Senate to Democrats.
Trump’s standing has been hit hard, particularly among female voters, since this month’s release of a 2005 video in which he boasts that his celebrity allows him to grope women with impunity.
Since then, approximately a dozen women have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations — charges he has angrily denied, but which appear to have hurt his poll numbers.