Trump to campaign in Pittsburgh, Biden attending fundraisers

Sept 22 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will make a stop in Pennsylvania and Democratic rival Joe Biden will attend two virtual fundraisers on Tuesday as the White House contenders battle for an advantage in the brewing fight over a new U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Trump said he planned to reveal his pick to succeed liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Saturday and hoped to have a Senate confirmation vote before the Nov. 3 election, sparking fierce criticism from Biden and congressional Democrats.

The death of Ginsburg last Friday and the prospect of a brutal political struggle to replace her as Republicans look to cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the court, injected a new air of uncertainty into a White House campaign that Biden has led steadily in opinion polls.

On the campaign trail on Monday, both candidates returned to themes that dominated the race before Ginsburg’s death. Biden in Wisconsin slammed Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Republican president touted his economic record and fired back with criticism of Biden’s past support of free-trade deals, which he said cost the state jobs.

Trump will return to the trail on Tuesday with an airport rally outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, another key battleground state - along with Wisconsin and Michigan - that Trump narrowly won in 2016 but Biden is hoping to recapture for Democrats in the November election.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Monday showed Biden leading Trump among likely voters in Wisconsin, while the two were about even in Pennsylvania.

Biden is expected to participate in two fundraisers, with tickets for both ranging up to $100,000, according to invitations seen by Reuters. One will feature speakers including Jim Chanos, the famed Wall Street short seller, and Robert Wolf, a former chief executive at UBS Americas and an economic adviser to former President Barack Obama.

The other fundraiser will be a conversation with Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general and one of Biden’s top advisers on the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has built a major financial advantage for the campaign’s final stretch after a big fundraising haul in August. The campaign and its party allies will report having $466 million in cash at the end of August, while Trump’s war chest stood at $325 million, according to officials from both sides.

That has allowed Biden’s campaign to push into new states it had not been spending heavily in before. On Monday, Biden’s campaign said it would add Republican-leaning Georgia and Iowa, both won easily by Trump in 2016 but also home to competitive U.S. Senate races, to a list of 10 other states where it is running paid advertisements.

Voters in about a half-dozen states have already begun casting early in-person ballots, and election experts expect a surge of early and mail-in voting this year as people try to reduce their risk of exposure to the coronavirus. (Reporting by John Whitesides, Trevor Hunnicutt and Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Peter Cooney)