ABOARD THE HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN PLANE ― On Friday, the Democratic presidential nominee visited a state she expected to win easily. She’ll go back there again Monday. So will the sitting Democratic president.
Is one to gather, then, that Michigan is a surprise, end-of-campaign swing state?
Not according to top campaign officials, who insisted Saturday that they fully expect to win the state’s 16 electoral votes on Election Day, and that the flurry of appearances simply amounts to an insurance policy.
“I think we’re going to win Michigan. We just wanted to make sure we’re doing everything we can to turn people out there,” campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters en route to an evening campaign rally in Philadelphia. “Part of why we want to be in Grand Rapids is we think we have the opportunity to pull in some late deciders there.”
Just two weeks after aggressively focusing on down-ballot House and Senate seats in the belief that it had a comfortable lead, the Clinton campaign is devoting its most precious asset at this stage of the campaign ― the time of its candidate and top surrogates ― to a state that voted for President Barack Obama by nearly 10 points four years ago.
Mook said that focusing on Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire now, rather than a few weeks ago, makes sense because those states do not have much in the way of early voting. The campaign previously focused on Florida, North Carolina and other states that did have a lot of early voting, he said, which made it possible to bank many if not most of the ballots it expects to win from those states prior to Election Day.
“We’re building a lead that will be harder and harder for Donald Trump to overcome,” Mook said.
He compared Clinton’s schedule in the remaining two days to Trump’s, which has him appearing in tight battleground states but also places like Minnesota and Virginia, where he is much further behind.
“Trump is basically going everywhere over those last few days and just cramming in every single state. As far as I’m concerned, the more time he spends in Minnesota and Nevada, the better,” Mook said. “In Michigan, almost all voting happens on Election Day, [like] Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and even Ohio. So our schedule is calibrated around that.”
Campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said the first priority is still getting Clinton to an Electoral College majority. “The states they will be in on the final days are likely to provide the 270th electoral vote,” she said.
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, canceled a planned trip to Wisconsin Sunday. It plans to send Trump to Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania (again) and New Hampshire.