US President Donald Trump on Saturday kicks off a week of rallies in five friendly places around the country, seeking to shore up support ahead of congressional elections even as the fate of his pick to fill a Supreme Court vacancy remains unclear. Republicans are at risk of losing control of Congress in the Nov. 6 elections, which could impede Trump’s goals to clamp down on immigration, cut taxes, approve new bilateral trade deals, and invest in infrastructure. Allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, have complicated his confirmation proceedings, disappointing conservative voters and energizing Democrats. Kavanaugh denies the accusations. Trump travels first to Wheeling, West Virginia, on Saturday, where Republicans are trying to unseat Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, one of a handful of senators seen as key swing votes that will determine Kavanaugh’s appointment. Trump will then hold evening rallies in Johnson City, Tennessee, on Monday; Southaven, Mississippi, on Tuesday; Rochester, Minnesota, on Thursday; and Topeka, Kansas, next Saturday. The Trump campaign said the rallies are aimed at energizing volunteers and supporters as Republicans try to protect and expand the majorities they hold in the Senate and House of Representatives. “Control of Congress is so critical for his agenda that the president will travel to as many states as possible as we head into the busy campaign season,” a Trump campaign spokesman said, declining to be named. A third of the Senate and all House seats are in play. Power could shift if Democrats gain two Senate seats and 23 House seats. Saturday’s visit will be Trump’s second in recent weeks to West Virginia – a state he won by more than 40 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election – to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey, who is trailing Manchin in polls. “It’s not a good sign for Morrisey that the president has to come to try to give him a boost in the polls,” said Simon Haeder, a political scientist at West Virginia University. Published in Daily Times, September 30th 2018.