Trump campaign aide envisions 'similar scenario' as in 2016

Steve Cortes, a senior advisor on President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE’s reelection campaign, said Sunday he expects a “similar scenario” to the 2016 election, where Trump may head into Election Day lagging behind his Democratic opponent and still pulling out a win. 

Cortes was dismissive of indicators of Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE’s lead in the race, including data that more Democrats are requesting mail-in ballots ahead of the election. 

“In key swing states, Florida and North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Democrats lead Republicans by hundreds of thousands of requests for mail ballots in two of those three states by more than 2:1,” Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChris Wallace on Colin Powell: He was 'very protective' of his reputation Liz Cheney is the Margaret Chase Smith of our time Sunday shows - Buttigieg warns supply chain issues could stretch to next year MORE, host of “Fox News Sunday” said.

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“Between the president talking down mail and voting, Steve, and the fact that you've gone largely dark in a lot of these states in terms of TV ads, aren’t you just buying the Democrats a big early lead?” Wallace asked. 

“Well, I don’t think so,” Cortes responded, adding that the campaign is doing  “a heck of a lot of digital advertising in those states.”

“But what I would say regarding mail-in is look, in 2016, we were losing the race until Election Day and then won it big on Election Day, at least big electorally. And I have the same view this time around,” he continued. 

Cortes also said that “we don’t know for certain” that all Democrats requesting ballots are voting for Biden. 

“But regardless, I would concede that it’s probably going to be a similar scenario, where -- when we look back retrospectively, we will probably see that the president was down into election day and then won election day itself by an incredibly wide margin. And I say that, by the way, largely because of the enthusiasm gap which is very real between our supporters and Joe Biden’s,” Cortes said. 

Recent polls have shown Biden leading Trump nationally as well as in a number of key battleground states. A Fox News poll released Sunday found Biden with a 5-point lead over Trump nationally, and a separate CBS News poll released Sunday found Biden with a slim lead in Arizona and a larger lead in Minnesota. 

Months out from the 2016 election, though, many polls indicated then-candidate Trump was trailing Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump defends indicted GOP congressman GOP lawmaker says he expects to be indicted over FBI investigation Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on MORE in the election that resulted in his victory.