Presidential races

Team Clinton boasts of early-voting ‘firewall’ in battleground states

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager expressed confidence Friday that the Democratic presidential nominee is building up such a substantial lead in early voting in three key battleground states that it will be nearly impossible for Donald Trump to make up the difference.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Robby Mook said the Democratic coalition is turning out in such force in North Carolina, Florida and Nevada that the race might already be over in those states.

“Our campaign has organized to leverage the early-voting period to build a firewall in states with early voting to turn out supporters early and build up a lead that Donald Trump is incapable of overcoming,” Mook said.

Trump must win in Florida and North Carolina to have a realistic path to the White House. Nevada is also likely a must-win for the Republican nominee, although he could theoretically make up those six electoral votes elsewhere.

Mook said the campaign’s focus has been on early turnout for “low-propensity voters” — those who do not regularly vote — to build up a lead that they believe will prove insurmountable.

“This firewall we’re building is being propelled by what we’re calling the Clinton Coalition,” Mook added, saying that Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, millennials, women and college-educated voters have already turned out in the trio of states to give Clinton a healthy advantage heading into Election Day.

In Florida, the Clinton campaign claimed that more Hispanics have already cast ballots than in all of 2012.

The campaign said it is seeing a similar surge of Hispanic voters in Nevada, where they believe Trump will have to overcome a double-digit deficit on Election Day.

“We think that chance is remote, but we’re not letting up,” Mook said.

“We have not seen a surge from the Trump camp and his voters — if he hasn’t banked his base by this point he will have an even taller task in these last few days of the election without a ground game to turn those voters out.”

About 37 million people have already voted nationwide, or about a quarter of the electorate. 

The Clinton campaign said turnout in Nevada, Florida and North Carolina is running ahead of the rest of the nation, with 40 percent already having cast ballots in those states.

Still, early voting is notoriously difficult to gauge. It is hard to know whether the Clinton campaign isn’t just cannibalizing from its own voter pool or whether Trump might crush her with turnout on Election Day.

The Republican National Committee is pushing back at the Clinton campaign’s figures, pointing to increased Republican early voter turnout compared to 2012.

The RNC said that at this point in 2012, Republicans trailed Democrats in Florida by 75,000 ballots.

But according to the latest figures from Florida’s secretary of State, compiled by Democratic strategist Steve Schale, Republicans and Democrats are running even in ballots returned so far in Florida, splitting the estimated 5.3 million that were in as of this morning. 

In North Carolina, the RNC said Republicans have cast 94,000 more ballots at this point than they had in 2012. The Clinton campaign acknowledged that black turnout in the Tarheel State is down 6 percent from 2012.

And in Nevada, the RNC said the party has closed the gap in early voting from 2012.

Trump is running strong in the polls in Nevada and is favored by 2 points in the RealClearPolitics average.

But Nevada political expert Jon Ralston and FiveThirtyEight analyst Harry Enten have said Clinton is likely running ahead of the polls there and that early voting returns indicate the state may already be out of reach for Trump.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

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