Hurricane Sandy disrupting Obama, Romney final sprints

SHARE Hurricane Sandy disrupting Obama, Romney final sprints
SHARE Hurricane Sandy disrupting Obama, Romney final sprints

WASHINGTON — Hurricane Sandy is disrupting the Obama and Romney campaigns’ sprint to the finish as the storm works its way up the East Coast, with events in battleground Virginia already canceled.

With Sandy’s main hit expected Monday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden also have to weigh what voters will think if they are on the stump — and not in the White House.

The storm could have an impact further west — in another key battleground state, Ohio. High winds have already been blowing through battleground Florida — where early voting starts on Saturday.

Virginia is in line for a beating. Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday declared a state of emergency with flooding and widespread power outrages expected starting late Saturday or early Sunday, especially in the eastern part of the state.

With the action in the battlegrounds, Romney is up in Virginia by 1.2 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

As RCP is calling it, Obama still has a slight Electoral College edge, 201 to 191 for Romney, with 146 electoral votes up for grabs; 270 are needed to clinch.

The rundown:

On Friday, Obama was briefed by Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan and National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb on preparations for Sandy. A Katrina-like disaster response could create an enormous problem for Obama just before the election.

Biden’s Saturday visit to Virginia Beach — to stump with his wife, Jill, and son Beau Biden, the Delaware attorney general — has been canceled “out of an abundance of caution” so “all local law enforcement and emergency management resources can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm.”

Romney’s Sunday stops in Virginia may not take place because of the storm.

At least one of Obama’s Monday appearances with former President Bill Clinton — the one in Virginia — may be at risk. Obama and Clinton are booked in Orlando; Youngstown, Ohio, and in Prince William County, Va., not far from Washington.

Sandy could head as far north as battleground New Hampshire, where a rally headlined by first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday at the University of New Hampshire has been scrubbed.

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