The Trump campaign believes the president can hold onto all the states he won in 2016, while also potentially bringing Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada and Minnesota into his column.
The president’s new Campaign Manager Bill Stepien spent nearly an hour Friday on a Zoom call with reporters explaining how he saw the lay of the land with 102 days to go until the 2020 presidential election.
‘We only either need to earn Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania to win this thing again,’ Stepien said. ‘If we win any of these states and the [rest of the] states the president won in 2016, Joe Biden stays in his basement. The president is in the White House for four more years.’
President Trump’s new Campaign Manager Bill Stepien talked to reporters for nearly an hour Friday and argued that Trump could pick up states Hillary Clinton won including Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada and Minnesota
Despite national and state polls suggesting otherwise, Bill Stepien (left) argued that the Trump campaign is in a good place with 102 days to go before the election, where he’s expected to face-off against Democrat Joe Biden (right)
Bill Stepien pointed to several states where his 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton (pictured) won narrowly, including Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota and told reporters he believed Trump could make gains there
This Electoral College map from 2016 shows in the red outline the four states the Trump campaign said they might be able to turn red: Nevada, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Maine
Stepien dismissed national polls – some that showed the Democrats’ presumptive nominee with a double digit lead – explaining not enough Republicans are being surveyed to accurately reflect the 2020 electorate.
That being said, the campaign manager who replaced Brad Parscale earlier this month, said he believed 2020 would be a ‘knock-down, drag-out fight,’ recalling how several months back Trump looked invicible, to that narrative applying to Biden in more recent days.
Stepien told reporters the Trump campaign has put full-time staff in Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire and Minnesota, where voters selected Hillary Clinton the last time around.
In Maine, Stepien argued, the president only lost by 22,000 votes.
He said having Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate and sometimes-controversial Republican, on the ballot will give Trump a boost in the state. ‘That’s a positive for us,’ Stepien said.
Democrats are especially targeting Collins over her vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after he was accused of a teenage sexual assault.
A PPP poll from early July showed Collins’ Democratic challenger Sara Gideon with a four-point lead.
Stepien also pointed to Trump’s recent order that opened up more Maine waters for fishing as something that could compel voters in the state.
‘These are the types of hyper-local things that matter in an election year and that a challenger can’t do,’ Stepien said.
Trump visited Maine in June and talked Maine fishermen and also toured a factory making swabs for COVID-19 testing kits.
Nevada, Stepien argued, could be up for grabs because Trump performed better in the state than any Republican in years, losing the state’s six Electoral College votes to Clinton by 2.4 points.
By comparison, President Barack Obama beat Sen. John McCain in the 2008 election in the state by 12.5 points.
Stepien said Trump could pick up New Hampshire this time, blaming a ‘downballot candidate’ in 2016 for allowing Clinton to win by a ‘razor thin’ margin.
The campaign manager was likely talking about Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the Republican incumbent who was on the ballot and lost to former New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Ayotte publicly shamed Trump on the heels of the release of the infamous ‘Access Hollywood’ video, which also tanked his 2016 presidential bid.
‘I will not vote for Donald Trump,’ she pledged, a message that could have hindered GOP support for the now-president in the state.
Finally, Stepien said the campaign had sent 49 staffers to Minnesota in an effort to turn the historically blue state red.
He pointed out that Trump had only lost the state by 44,000 votes, which is similar to the number Biden’s needs to pick up Pennsylvania.
‘Seems only fair that Minnesota should get the same treatment the other way,’ the new campaign manager argued.
Fox News polling released Thursday showed Biden leading the state 51 per cent to Trump’s 38 per cent.
Minnesota became the epicenter for the Black Lives Matter movement in May after the Memorial Day death in Minneapolis of George Floyd.
It’s unclear how that will impact the 2020 election.