President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE’s reelection campaign says it is hiring staff and opening field offices in Minnesota and New Mexico, two traditionally blue states the president’s strategists have identified as having potential to flip in 2020.
Still, the Trump campaign believes that both states are in play this time around.
On a conference call with reporters, a senior official said the campaign is working on a “huge buildout” of paid staffers and a volunteer network in Minnesota that will dwarf their 2016 efforts there.
In the past election, the campaign had only one staffer on the ground in Minnesota, and that person split time in Colorado as well.
“We already have staff on the ground in Minnesota and now we’re building out an infrastructure of paid staff and volunteers and you can see with that turnout from the rally last week that we’ll obviously be competitive in Minnesota,” the official said. “So that’s one state we’ll have a huge buildout and continue to build on our staff and volunteers between now and Election Day next year.”
The president has already held rallies in Minneapolis and Albuquerque this year, but the campaign’s insistence that the states are in play have been met with skepticism in Washington.
Minnesota has not gone for the Republican presidential nominee since 1972, although Trump fell short to Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE there by only 1.5 points in 2016.
Former President George W. Bush narrowly won New Mexico in 2004, but the state has not been a competitive battleground since then. Clinton defeated Trump in New Mexico by more than 8 points in 2016.
Democrats won back two congressional districts in Minnesota in the 2018 midterms even as they lost two other districts in the state, highlighting the turbulent politics there.
Trump and his campaign are hoping that in a presidential election year, Republicans can win back the areas they lost in 2018.
“We wouldn’t be focusing attention on these freshman members of the House, which by the way are Trump districts, districts that the president carried, if we didn’t believe that public sentiment was against the Democrats in large parts of the country outside of Washington, D.C.,” the campaign official said.
New Mexico will likelier be a heavier lift for Trump.
The campaign official said the state landed on the campaign’s radar after the president held a rally in El Paso, Texas. The campaign said it noticed many people coming in for the rally from southern New Mexico and that subsequent polling indicated surprising strength for the president there.
“We did some polling there and we see it’s very competitive ... we definitely have a shot at winning in 2020,” the official said.
In addition, the Trump campaign said it will play in New Hampshire, which Clinton carried by less than half a point in 2016.
Still, most political analysts view the path to the White House going through Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Trump turned all three of those states red for the first time in decades in 2016. If the entire electoral map remains the same but Trump loses those three states, the Democratic candidate will win the White House.