Aide lays out path as Clin­ton looks to con­gres­sional races

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Josh Le­d­er­man, Cather­ine Lucey and Jill Colvin

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.”

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