President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign apparently has so much money, it's looking to the Deep Blue state of Oregon to spend some resources.
An exclusive report from CNN showed Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio looking for ideas on “expanding the map” to get Trump past the 270 electoral votes needed to win re-election. Fabrizio, according to a memo obtained by CNN, suggested that New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada — which voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 — are now “highly competitive.” As such, Trump 2020 is already spending resources to try and flip the states Red. Fabrizio also said the campaign would “keep an eye on” Minnesota, which also voted for Clinton in 2016.
“Oregon, however, is no-man's-land for the national GOP,” reported CNN’s Dana Bash. “The last Republican to make an early play for Oregon was George W. Bush during his 2004 reelection bid, since he had come within 8,000 votes of Al Gore there in 2000. But Bush lost Oregon to John Kerry by 4 percentage points.”
It doesn’t appear as though the Trump campaign fully believes they can flip Oregon, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since President Ronald Reagan in 1984. A “senior Trump campaign source” told CNN they were looking to “test the waters” by hiring staff in Oregon. This senior adviser also told the outlet, “If we are a month out and a previous victory like Michigan is not possible, would be nice to know other states are options.”
As CNN reported, pundits in 2016 thought it was a “fool’s errand” for the Trump campaign to spend money in Wisconsin and Michigan, but they ended up winning those states. It helped that Clinton avoided Wisconsin, believing — incorrectly — that the state was locked up.
Assuming this, Clinton and her campaign went further: ignoring states where she needed to campaign and campaigning in states she wasn’t going to win just so she could get her popular vote totals up. She campaigned and spent resources in Arizona, Texas, and Utah. As I wrote previously at The New York Observer, she “didn’t just want to be the first female president—she wanted to be the first female president by a long shot,” an ambition that proved her undoing.
Clinton spent $618,000 on travel expenditures to Utah and got just half a percentage point more in votes than President Barack Obama got in 2012 (he spent just $1,500 in travel expenditures to the state that year). So, she spent far more money for barely any gains. This poor campaign strategy gave her more popular votes, but cost her the necessary electoral votes she needed to win.
At least the Trump campaign is keeping things in perspective. It remains to be seen how much money they may actually spend in Oregon or other Blue States that may flip this election cycle. They appear to be making their calculations based on multiple paths to 270 and an anticipated difficult re-election, rather than the Clinton campaign, who believed they were guaranteed to win the presidency and just wanted bragging rights.