Aide lays out path as Clinton looks to congressional races
Donald Trump’s campaign bluntly acknowledged Sunday that the real estate mogul is trailing Hillary Clinton as the presidential race hurtles toward a close, but insisted he still has a viable path to win the White House.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s campaign bluntly acknowledged Sunday that the real estate mogul is trailing Hillary Clinton as the presidential race hurtles toward a close, but insisted he still has a viable path to win the White House.
Newly confident and buoyant in the polls, Clinton is looking past Trump while widening her mission to include helping Democrats seize the Senate and chip away at the Republicancontrolled House.
With two weeks left and early voting underway in most of the U.S., Trump’s team said “the race is not over” and pledged to keep campaigning hard — even in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania that polls show are now trending Clinton’s way.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, laid out in detail Trump’s potential path to winning: victories in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio, to start.
If Trump prevents Arizona and Georgia from falling to Democrats and adds in some combination of Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, he could reach the 270 electoral votes needed, Conway said.
“We are behind. She has some advantages,” Conway said Sunday. Yet she argued that Clinton’s advantages — including a slew of boldname Democrats campaigning for her — belied her lack of true support. “The current president and first lady, vice president, all are much more popular than she can hope to be.”
Added Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus: “We expect to win.”
Yet even longtime Republican strongholds such as Utah and Arizona suddenly appear within Clinton’s reach on Nov. 8, enticing Democrats to campaign hard in territory they haven’t won for decades.
The shifting political map has freed Clinton and her well-funded campaign to spend time and money helping other Democrats in competitive races. Clinton said she didn’t “even think about responding ” to Trump anymore and would instead spend the final weeks on the road “emphasizing the importance of electing Democrats down the ballot.”
“We’re running a coordinated campaign, working hard with gubernatorial, Senate and House candidates,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager.
And for good reason. After a merciless two-year campaign, the next president will face the daunting task of governing a bitterly divided nation.
If Clinton wins, her prospects for achieving her goals will be greatly diminished unless her victory is accompanied by major Democratic gains in Congress.
“We’ve got to do the hard and maybe most important work of healing, healing our country,” Clinton said Sunday at Union Baptist Church in Durham, N.C.
With Trump warning he may contest the race’s outcome if he loses, Clinton’s campaign is hoping for an overwhelming Democratic victory that would undermine any attempt by Trump to claim the election had been stolen from him.
Campaigning Sunday in Florida, Trump called for voters to elect a Republican House and Senate that would “swiftly enact” his priorities, which include overhauling taxes, restoring higher spending on defense and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“We can enact our whole plan in the first 100 days — and we will,” Trump said.
If Clinton wins, giving running mate Tim Kaine a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, Democrats would need a net gain of four Senate seats to retake the majority. House control would be much harder, considering Republicans currently enjoy their largest House ma- jority since 1931. Democrats would need a 30-seat gain.
Andrea Bozek of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, said Clinton’s last-minute push to aid Democrats was insufficient to make up for her party’s shortfalls in recruiting competitive candidates this year.
“Democrats have relied on political gravity from the presidential race to carry them across the finish line,” Bozek said.
Clinton isn’t the only Democrat putting a premium on down-ballot races. President Barack Obama flew Sunday to Nevada to campaign for the Democratic Senate candidate there before heading to California to raise money for House Democrats. He and Vice President Joe Biden have recorded ads, raised money and campaigned in person for dozens Democratic candidates this year.
Donald Trump boasted Sunday that “we can enact our whole plan in the first 100 days.”
Trump aide Kellyanne Conway acknowledged Sunday that “we are behind.”