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Trump, Biden trips offer insight into their Electoral College calculations

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WASHINGTON (AP) — With Election Day just three weeks away, President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden concentrated Tuesday on battleground states both see as critical to clinching an Electoral College victory, tailoring their travel to best motivate voters who could cast cast potentially decisive ballots.

Biden was in Florida courting seniors, betting that a voting bloc that buoyed Trump four years ago has become disenchanted with the White House’s handling of the coronavrius pandemic. It was Biden’s third visit to the state in a month, after making targeted appeals to veterans and the Latino and Haitian communities.

Trump was in Pennsylvania, Biden’s native state and one where Biden has spent far more time than any other in recent months. The president wants to hammer home the risk that a Democratic administration could limit hydraulic fracking in areas where the economy is heavily dependent on energy. It’s an effort to fire up a conservative base that Trump will have to turn out in droves to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to retain the White House.

The president also campaigned in Sanford, Florida, on Monday and will head back to the state on Friday.

The dueling trips come against the backdrop of a second day of hearings in the Senate to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Trump and top Republicans see a swift confirmation just weeks after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a chance to energize conservatives.

Biden’s campaign believes it can win the presidency without Florida’s 29 electoral votes, but it wants to lock up the state to pad a margin of victory over Trump, who has for months questioned the legitimacy of an election where many people will cast mail-in ballots amid the pandemic. Biden has vowed to win Pennsylvania, but

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Off-campus trips and parties are fueling a spike at Syracuse University, officials say.

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Even as rising coronavirus cases forced other colleges to halt in-person classes or send students home, Syracuse University managed to keep the virus at bay, with only a handful of students testing positive since classes began in the fall.

That was, campus officials say, until someone traveled to a nearby city and brought the virus back to campus, where it spread rapidly at parties. Syracuse, a big private college in Central New York, now has more than 75 active cases, including 68 people who tested positive in the last four days.

The sudden rise highlights how quickly the virus can spread in a college environment, even as many students take pains to protect themselves and their classmates.

It’s not how Ava Notkin was expecting her last semester to play out. The senior said on Saturday that she was exhausted from the health anxiety that pervaded the campus, making it hard to focus on homework, exams and other aspects of college life that would, under normal circumstances, constitute the bulk of a student’s stress.

“I feel like I’m teetering on the edge,” said Ms. Notkin, 21, a marketing management major from Pittsburgh. “We’re always in this risky gray area.”

Ms. Notkin and other students have expressed frustration with students holding parties that officials say are leading to new infections.

“Everyone just needs to realize that this is not our normal college experience anymore,” she said.

Still, students and campus administrators say they recognize the desire to socialize, particularly for those who are just getting to know their peers or are spending their last year in the same city. The campus has organized a series of virtual lectures, events — “Zumba Party at Home,” anyone? — and other programming for the campus. Ms. Notkin said she had safely enjoyed the region through