Is Hillary Really Trying To Win Texas?
The ad is only getting a limited run, and it seems utterly unlikely that Clinton could actually win Texas. Though the state’s large Latino population, combined with where Trump has led the GOP on rhetoric about Mexicans and policy on immigration, could soon make winning Texas a real possibility for Democrats.
There are other reliable Republican states where the Clinton campaign is investing more seriously, which is a sign of where the race stands. Clinton is positioned to win the White House if she gets just the battleground states that are already leaning to the Democrats. Her campaign says it’s putting the “lion’s share” of resources in traditional battleground states like Ohio and North Carolina, which remain toss-ups. But they also have the luxury of being able to invest in some states that traditionally go to Republicans.
Arizona has voted Democratic only once in a presidential race since 1952. Recent polls show a dead heat in that state, and the Clinton campaign believes Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans will motivate Latinos in the state to turn out for the Democrats.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook described the race there as an “uphill climb” in a call with reporters on Monday. But high profile surrogates — Michelle Obama, Chelsea Clinton and Bernie Sanders — are all campaigning there this week. The campaign is investing $2 million there in TV ads and other voter outreach.
The campaign is also spending $1 million in Missouri and Indiana focused on getting out the vote. Trump is leading in both states, but like Arizona, they have competitive Senate races.
So if Clinton is confident in her position in enough battleground states to clear 270 electoral votes, and has some money to spend in the last three weeks of the campaign, putting some funds into states that could help secure a Democratic majority in the Senate next year makes sense. “It’s always been important to Secretary Clinton that we partner together with all candidates,” Mook said.
This spending also puts Republicans on defense in a way they wouldn’t be if Trump was more competitive in states like Virginia, Colorado and Michigan. That would have caused the Clinton campaign to pour everything into defending those electoral votes, instead of being able to expand its map.
Utah has tempted Democrats in recent weeks. Independent candidate Evan McMullin, a conservative former CIA agent who is Mormon, is pulling support on the right. Recent polls have shown Trump, Clinton and McMullin all near 30 percent, though Trump has maintained a slight edge. GOP leaders in the state were quick to pull their support from him when that 2005 Access Hollywood was released showing Trump bragging about groping and kissing women.