President Trump made a sizeable offering to the collection bucket while attending church services on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Trump, who was in Nevada on a campaign trip to the crucial battleground state, was attending a service at the International Church of Las Vegas before a campaign event in Carson City later in the day.
As the collection was being taken up, Trump reached into his back pocket a pulled out a number of $20 bills, which he later deposited into a bucket that was being passed around.
Trump’s trip to the Silver state comes as political strategists say Nevada is still in play for the GOP, despite going to the Democrats in every election since 2004 and the party flipping a U.S. Senate seat and bolstering their dominance of the congressional delegation in the 2018 midterms.
Trump, who narrowly lost here in 2016, scheduled a rally Sunday night in Carson City, his second campaign visit to the state in as many months as the first big wave of voting kicks off.
Nevada’s Democrat-controlled state government is automatically mailing ballots to all active registered voters because of the coronavirus pandemic, but in-person voting that started Saturday is typically when most people vote. It's expected to remain a popular choice this year, with long lines forming at several sites Saturday.
The pandemic has pummeled the tourism-dependent economy. The unemployment rate is the highest in the nation.
For the vaunted Democratic political machine, it's shifted in-person campaigning and knocking of voters' doors to a virtual effort for much of this year. Republicans only moved to a virtual format for a few months and have been working hard, with a staff twice as big as their 2016 effort. They're making inroads with a diverse electorate and trying to redirect economic frustrations away from the president and onto the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak.
Though Trump lost Nevada in 2016, he performed better than Mitt Romney in 2012 or John McCain in 2008. The state also has has a higher percentage of noncollege educated whites, who have made up the base of his electoral support, than in many other pivotal states, including Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Recent polls suggest that Biden is ahead in Nevada, though some show narrower margins than others. But the state has a strong independent streak and is notoriously difficult to poll. The hospitality industry, including the gambling-resort hub of Las Vegas, has a significant slice of night and shift workers and a highly transient population moving in, out and around the state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.