PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - Pushing back against predictions of defeat, Republican John McCain scheduled campaign stops in two Western battlegrounds on Election Day after a seven-state sprint that brought him home to Arizona after midnight Tuesday.
The presidential nominee was breaking tradition, heading to a rally in Grand Junction, Colo., and a volunteer site in New Mexico before returning to Phoenix to watch election night returns. McCain normally stays close to home on Election Day, often taking in a movie.
"My friends, it's been a long, long journey," McCain told supporters gathered at an early morning rally Tuesday in Prescott, Arizona, where he kicked off his Senate campaigns. It was the final stop in a sprint across three time zones that took him to seven states Monday.
Campaign manager Rick Davis said the stops were added after polling indicated McCain was surging in Western battlegrounds including Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. Davis said wins in those states could mitigate losses in Eastern swing states that had long been GOP stalwarts, including Virginia and North Carolina.
Monday, McCain chased the sun from east to west through battlegrounds such as Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New
Mexico and Nevada. He held his final rally after midnight in Prescott, Ariz., where he kicked off his campaigns for Senate.
The 72-year-old Senate veteran vowed to fight for every vote even as national and state battleground polls found Democrat Barack Obama with a measurable headwind into Election Day.
A blizzard of late polls showed Obama leading in most competitive states, leaving McCain with only the narrowest possible path to victory Tuesday night.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)