FAIRFAX, Virginia — Mitt Romney will extend his 18-month presidential campaign into Tuesday so he can revisit ultimate battleground Ohio and Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania on election day, his campaign said.
The two stops, part of what the campaign described as Romney’s effort to keep working until the polls close, are new additions to the schedule of the Republican nominee, who had announced that Monday night’s event in New Hampshire would be his “final victory rally” of the campaign.
The Republican nominee’s team said Romney, locked in a tight battle with President Barack Obama, will head Tuesday to the northern Ohio city of Cleveland and to Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, a state Romney had not visited for more than a month until Sunday.
But the campaign insists that Pennsylvania is now in play and Romney is seeking to broaden the potential pathway to victory, even as Obama is seen as having slim leads in most of the battleground states where the election will be decided.
Tuesday’s events will not be rallies, however, as large events would drain much-needed resources away from Romney’s get-out-the-vote efforts on election day.
He will instead visit “victory offices” and other locations where staff and volunteers have been working on the campaign and helping get out the vote, an aide said.
“It was his idea to go out there” on election day, the aide told AFP.
Romney, who votes with his wife Ann in their town of Belmont, Massachusetts at 8:35 am (1335 GMT), is scheduled to host an election results party in Boston, while Obama will do the same in Chicago.
Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, will cast his ballot in the morning in his home town of Janesville.
Obama and Romney embarked on Monday campaign marathons as they stumped for the last narrowing wedge of undecided voters — and pleaded with their supporters to help get out the vote.
With Ohio such a pivotal part of the election equation, both candidates are converging on the Midwestern state on the eve of the elections.
Aides said Romney was feeling upbeat about the race, which national polls show as a tossup.
But surveys show the president with a slim but steady lead in Ohio, and Obama may have a broader path to possible victory in the handful of battleground states that will decide the election.
That was not dissuading senior Romney strategist Stuart Stevens as he predicted victory for the challenger.
“We’re never over-confident about these things, but we’ll win,” he told reporters, adding that while he expected Romney to prevail in Florida, “we don’t take Florida for granted.”
As for Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts who lost the Republican nomination to John McCain in 2008, he was enjoying the campaign’s final hours.
“He’s very eager to lead the country,” Stevens said. “Very gratified at the response he’s getting everywhere.”
Romney held a morning rally in Florida with a raucous crowd, then a more subdued event in Lynchburg, in the battleground state of Virginia where the Republican challenger has held three rallies in the past two days.
On the other side of the battleground state, in Fairfax, just across the river from Washington, Romney strode into a rally with 11,000 boisterous supporters at a university arena.
By his side was his wife Ann, who enthralled attendees when she asked: “Are we going to be neighbors soon?”
The crowd responded with a roar, then with repeated chants of “One more day! One more day!”
Traveling press secretary Rick Gorka acknowledged that Romney and his team gathered on the plane were looking back fondly at a year and a half that took them to dozens of states and hundreds of campaign events.
“It’s been a light mood up front, a lot of reminiscing,” Gorka told reporters.
“It’s been an incredible journey. We’re very very excited for these last events today, and we’re very very optimistic about our chances tomorrow.”