The Trump campaign believes it can flip several states in 2020, including Colorado as well as Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada and New Mexico, according to senior Trump campaign officials who spoke with the Washington Examiner.
The five states went to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, but the campaign says it is confident it can turn them for Trump in 2020.
Clinton bested Trump in Colorado by nearly 5 percentage points in 2016.
“There are some states that we were very close in 2016, Minnesota being one of them, New Hampshire being another … so I think that, you know, it’s pretty obvious to see what the states are that we fully plan to be competitive in, based on what was close,” Trump campaign Deputy Communications Director Erin Perrine told the Washington Examiner Thursday.
Clinton won 46.9% of the vote in Minnesota while Trump won 45.3%. In New Hampshire, Clinton won 47.6% of the vote and Trump won 47.2%, a difference of less than half a percentage point.
“We fully expect to protect our 2016 map and expand upon it,” Perrine said.
Another senior campaign official told the Examiner that Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico would also be in the mix.
In 2016, Clinton won Colorado with 48.2% of the vote, Nevada with 47.9%, and New Mexico with 48.3%. Trump won 43.3%, 45.5%, and 40.0% of the vote in those states, respectively.
“We were very competitive in a number of states,” Perrine said. “We won states that had not been traditionally won by a Republican president in a few years, Wisconsin being one of those states.”
Trump won the 2016 general election with 306 electoral votes. Clinton won the popular vote with 48.5% to Trump’s 46.4%.
Democratic strategist Jeff Hewitt rejected the notion that Trump could make inroads in any of the five states.
“I think it’s highly unlikely,” Hewitt said. “He’s not going to expand the map from states he won last cycle. Absolutely not. He’s polling poorly in states he won.”
Hewitt pointed to a Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday that shows Democratic front-runner Joe Biden leading Trump 53 to 42% in Pennsylvania, a state Trump won by a narrow margin in 2016.
“His best path to victory is to win the states he won last time,” Hewitt said. “And when he’s behind in states he won last time, it makes that path to victory much harder.”
Hewitt said Trump would struggle to win nationally if he failed to hold Pennsylvania. He also noted that Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico are undergoing demographic shifts that could take them “out of play” for Republicans.
“At least in New Hampshire, you still have an Anglo-American electorate,” Hewitt said. “But in those other three states, the dynamic becomes less Anglo every day.”
But Trump’s people remain optimistic. When asked for a prediction on how many states Trump could win, Perrine refused to set a limit.
“We’re not going to set a basement or a ceiling for ourselves in any way, shape or form,” she said. “We’re going to run to win as much as we can.”