Washington – Trump Campaign Eyes Chances To Vie For States Lost In 2016

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    FILE - Than Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign stop at the Minneapolis International Airport Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, in Minneapolis . (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)Washington – President Donald Trump loves to recount how his 2016 campaign defied expectations to pierce the vaunted Democratic “blue wall.” For 2020, he’s looking to do one better.

    As his re-election campaign kicks into high gear, it’s exploring opportunities to contest states he lost in 2016, aiming to keep divided Democrats on the defensive.

    Trump on Monday visits one of those states, Minnesota, where he lost to Hillary Clinton by fewer than 45,000 votes in 2016. The campaign also is targeting New Mexico, Nevada, and New Hampshire, all states where Trump fell short by under 100,000 votes.

    The tax day visit to Minnesota is meant to highlight the effect of Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment, the 2017 tax overhaul, in a historically Democratic-leaning state that appears to offering Republicans hope.

    “We see trends in the state that we like,” said senior campaign adviser Bill Stepien. “We like what we see on the ground. We like the energy we’re seeing.”

    In 1984, Minnesota was the only state carried by Democratic nominee Walter Mondale, a former Minnesota senator, against President Ronald Reagan. Over the past several presidential elections Minnesota has grown increasingly competitive, particularly as Trump’s rise coincided with a realignment of many white-working class voters to the GOP. And in an otherwise bleak 2018 for the GOP, Trump helped flip two congressional seats to Republicans.

    With record fundraising for this stage in a presidential cycle, both the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are largely unrestrained financially, allowing them to make riskier investments in states won by Clinton. All the target states, except for Nevada, also have Senate races in 2020, a factor that the party believes will provide extra return.

    Any early spending could pay dividends for the GOP in 2020, even if those efforts aren’t successful, forcing Democrats opponents to expend precious resources later in the campaign cycle to defend what should be safer Democratic states.

    The Minnesota visit marks Trump’s third to the state since taking office. His first two were political trips to help put two Republican congressional candidates, Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber, over the top in 2018.

    The focus on Minnesota and Trump’s other near-misses come as there is mounting concern within the Democratic Party that its heavily contested primary is providing Trump with an opportunity to reinforce his political position with little in the way of organized opposition.

    “Trump and the RNC are hell-bent on expanding on the list of states Trump won in 2016 by targeting states like Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada, and they’re counting on early money to build a formidable ground game to make it happen,” said a recent Democratic National Committee fundraising email.

    Stephen Stepanek, chairman of the New Hampshire GOP, silenced the room at the party’s recent spring fundraiser, keynoted by the president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, when he said the Democrats have “out-organized us. Outraised us. And quite frankly, we have to do a better job.”

    “We are in a war right now,” he said. Trump lost the state by fewer than 3,000 votes and the GOP recently placed five staffers in the state ahead of 2020.

    To date, early Democratic investments have been focused on shoring up the “blue wall” of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Until 2016, they had been solidly Democratic for two decades. All three states saw Democratic gains in 2018 that the party believes indicate they are ripe for returning to the fold in 2020.

    The Trump campaign is also eyeing the fallout of a political scandal among Democratic leaders in Virginia to determine whether there’s an opening in the state. But it acknowledges that the heavy concentration of federal workers in the northern part of the state makes it a more challenging opportunity.

    The Democratic super PAC Priorities USA has announced a $100 million campaign in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, all states that Trump carried. Its publicly announced “phase two” plans include a focus on Trump’s narrow-loss states of Nevada and New Hampshire.

    Trump’s team still believes his likeliest path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency means re-running the 2016 map. But it is exploring other permutations.

    “We’re casting a wide net and looking for opportunities to grow the map,” said Stepien.

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    6 COMMENTS

    1. In 2016 Jared ran an new innovative out of the box campaign with proper data tools and models that enabled on the spot decisions and focuses. He caught the democrates weak spots and managed to focus on them. It ultimately resulted in Trumps victory. It looks like a similar even stronger setting is being set up for 2020. People think it was the ruskie or commey it was really mostly Jareds hard work with the presidents particular style of reaching out to voters via rallies. Good for them and hope we crush this time!

    2. No Independent voters are going for vile trump. His GOP in Florida got $$ from the Red Chinese human traffic SPA OWNER that caught Kraft. Same gang infiltrated his Mar A Lago crime pad. The $$ was then stolen and sent to Peking. Google it.

      • I hope Trump wins and think Trump is doing a great job. But let’s face it, nothing is guaranteed in life. On the small chance Trump losses I’d prefer it’s at least to someone not as bad. Biden is a moderate and he is an older man. I think old people are great leaders. They are wise and have life experiences. They are the ones I look up to. Young people like cortez are just dumb and don’t get the ways of the world. I hope Biden at least wins the nomination. Although if Bernie wins, Trump has more fodder so maybe we should hope for Bernie.

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