Hurricane Sandy is hitting the presidential race and the East Coast at the same time, throwing both candidates off their schedules and threatening to alter the voter-turnout calculus.

The storm comes at a tough time for both candidates — the election is only eight days away, and polls show the race remains tight.

Obama, seeking to put his day job first, pushed pause on stumping in the swing states for the time being, canceling one remaining event in central Florida on Monday so he could return to Washington to closely monitor the response of the storm.

He held a meeting on the storm in the Situation Room via video teleconference, with attendees including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Craig Fugate, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Richard Knabb, the National Hurricane Center Director.