Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton started off neck-and-neck in the 2016 presidential election, as Trump won over the voters of three New Hampshire precincts early Tuesday morning, 32-25.
Polls opened and shut quickly in the tiny hamlets of Dixville Notch, Hart’s Location and Millsfield just after midnight Tuesday. Under New Hampshire state law, communities with fewer than 100 voters can get permission to open their polls at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast their ballots.
Clinton won more votes in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, but Trump was the overwhelming favorite in Millsfield, with a 16-4 advantage. Libertarian Gary Johnson picked up three votes. Bernie Sanders, John Kasich and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney got write-ins.
The traditional early vote in New Hampshire kicked off what promises to be a busy election day, after Trump and Clinton visited key battleground states late Monday into early Tuesday to make one last plea to American voters.
Speaking in Grand Rapids, Mich., Trump urged voters to ask themselves before they entered the voting booth: “Do you want America to be ruled by the corrupt political class or do you want America to be ruled by the people?”
“Today is our independence day, today the American working class is going to strike,” he added.
Clinton visited North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. for a midnight rally. Clinton was led in by performances from Jon Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga and then by her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea.
“Tomorrow night this election will end but I want you to understand that our work together will be just beginning. We have to bridge the divides in this country.” Clinton also made her final plea to middle class voters. “Tomorrow we face the test of our time, it’s the kind of country we want, every issue so if you believe America thrives when middle class thrives then you have to vote, if you believe,” she added.
Trump began his day in Florida before heading to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan.
He pulled out all the stops at the second to last rally of his campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Trump appeared with his running mate Mike Pence and many members of his family at the SNHU Arena, the same arena where he held his final rally before the New Hampshire primary. His win in that race paved his way to the party’s nomination.
“It all began for me in New Hampshire,” Trump said after taking the stage.
The race remains tight hours before voting gets underway. The latest Fox News Electoral Scorecard shows Trump’s prospects improving in four key states — Arizona, Iowa, Utah and North Carolina – though Clinton still has the advantage on the electoral map.
Clinton returned to the campaign trail Monday, less than 24 hours after the FBI concluded a revived probe into her personal email use as secretary of state, lifting a cloud off her campaign in the final hours as she seeks to become the first woman elected president in U.S. history.
“Tomorrow we face the test of our time,” Clinton said at her first rally, in Pittsburgh. “Will we come together as a nation or split further apart? … We don’t have to accept a dark and divisive vision for America. Tomorrow you can vote for a hopeful, inclusive big-hearted America.”
Before embarking on her three-state campaign swing, Clinton told reporters that she has “some work to do to bring the country together” and that she wants to be president for those who vote for her and those who don’t.
Clinton after Pennsylvania went to battleground state Michigan before planning to return for an event in Philadelphia, then a midnight rally in Raleigh, N.C.
Trump on Monday resumed his breakneck race through the country to make a final appeal to voters to help him “drain the swamp” in Washington. In the wake of the FBI announcement, he urged voters to “deliver justice at the ballot box.”
On Sunday, Trump and running mate Mike Pence held events in seven states, with the last starting after midnight in Virginia.
“She wants to fight ISIS?” Trump said Monday in North Carolina about Clinton, who has essentially led for the entire 2016 election cycle. “She wants to fight nobody. She’s got no chance.”
Trump is aiming for an upset victory Tuesday, which is still possible if he is able to win key toss-up states and pick off one or more strategic states considered Democratic territory.
The former reality TV star shocked the country’s political class this spring when he defeated 16 major candidates in the Republican primaries, among them several senators and governors.
While seeking victories in the so-called battleground states, which have a mix of voters who could go for either major party candidate, Pennsylvania is considered critical for Trump.
The state has not elected a GOP presidential nominee since 1988 in the candidates’ race to get 270 Electoral College votes.