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EXCLUSIVE: Trump campaign, RNC training army of volunteers in key 2020 states
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are mobilizing thousands of volunteers in more than a dozen battleground states, including a handful that President Trump lost in 2016, as they seek to expand the electoral map ahead of 2020.
Trump Victory, a joint operation comprised of the Trump campaign, the RNC and state Republican parties, kicked off a "National Week of Training" on Friday in a bid to train more than 6,000 volunteers and register voters in 14 states that Republicans have set their sights on for 2020.
At the same time, the committee is adding to its roster of state directors overseeing its organizing efforts, hiring staffers in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Virginia, Republican officials told The Hill.
While Trump captured three of those states - Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin - in 2016, Trump Victory's expansion into states where the president was bested underscores Republicans' wager that they can - and must - expand the electoral map in 2020.
"Our political team really sat down and hammered out where we wanted folks," one RNC official said. "That's based on data that we've seen from the 2016 cycle to the midterm cycle to this cycle. We see potential for pickup. We see potential to make inroads."
The National Week of Training, Trump Victory's second since last month, is focused primarily on voter registration, with some of the most significant efforts taking place in Florida and Michigan, two states that Trump won in 2016 and that are seen as crucial to winning a second term.
In Florida alone, the group is holding 25 training events over the next week. In Michigan, there will be 20. Four other states - Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and North Carolina - will have at least 12.
The most recent National Week of Training comes after three Trump-affiliated entities - the Trump campaign, Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again Committee (TMAGAC) - posted a $56.7 million fundraising haul in the second quarter of 2019.
The trainings, which run through next Friday, are also a way for Trump Victory to scout out activists and volunteers who could later be brought on as paid field organizers, an RNC official said.
The early field effort reflect a key part of Republicans' 2020 strategy. While Democrats are focused on winnowing down a crowded field of potential presidential nominees, they argue, Republicans can work behind the scenes to galvanize Trump's base in a handful of key states and make inroads among undecided voters.
"During our second National Week of Training this cycle, we will use voter registration drives to identify new members of our party, bring them into the fold, and increase our presence in states across the country," Chris Carr, the political director for Trump Victory, said in a statement to The Hill.
"With our ever-expanding team of State Directors, our grassroots army will fan out over the next week to register thousands of new voters to benefit both President Trump and GOP candidates up and down the ballot."