Arab Times

Trump looks west, eye­ing new paths

Race looks tight in bat­tle­ground states

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WASH­ING­TON, Sept 12, (AP): Push­ing for new roads to re­elec­tion, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will go on of­fense this week­end in Ne­vada, a state that hasn’t sup­ported a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date since 2004.

Trump will plunge head-on into a bat­tle with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Ne­vada by hold­ing pub­lic events there Satur­day and Sun­day af­ter his ini­tial plans for ral­lies in Reno and Las Ve­gas were blocked by state of­fi­cials be­cause they would have vi­o­lated coron­avirus health guide­lines.

His cam­paign in­sisted on forg­ing ahead with the trip – set­ting up a COVID-19 po­lit­i­cal fight that Trump’s team rel­ishes and un­der­scor­ing the grow­ing im­por­tance of Ne­vada in Trump’s quest for 270 elec­toral votes as the race looks tight in a num­ber of bat­tle­ground states.

Trump nar­rowly lost Ne­vada in 2016 and the state has trended fur­ther to­ward the Democrats in the last decade. But Trump’s cam­paign has in­vested heav­ily in the state, re­ly­ing on its ground game to turn out vot­ers. Democrats, by con­trast, have largely re­lied on vir­tual cam­paign ef­forts dur­ing the pan­demic, save for the casino work­ers’ Culi­nary Union, which has de­ployed work­ers door to door.

“Ne­vada Trump Vic­tory has over 50 staffers in the state and has con­tacted over 2 mil­lion vot­ers,” said state GOP chair­man Michael McDon­ald. “The Democrats are scared. They know Pres­i­dent Trump has the mo­men­tum.”

Bill Stepien, Trump’s cam­paign man­ager, told re­porters in re­cent days that he was en­cour­aged by where things stood in Ne­vada, but there has been a scarcity of pub­lic polling in the state. Na­tion­ally, polls show Demo­crat Joe Bi­den main­tain­ing a lead over Trump, though re­cent polls in many of the bat­tle­ground states sug­gest a much tighter race.

Both can­di­dates have spent about $4.5 mil­lion in Ne­vada while Trump has made $5.5 mil­lion in fu­ture reser­va­tions in the state and Bi­den has al­lo­cated $2.5 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the ad track­ing firm Kan­tar/CMAG.

Re­elec­tion

The Trump team orig­i­nally planned ral­lies at air­port hangars in Reno and Las Ve­gas, but those were scut­tled by state of­fi­cials due to con­cerns the cam­paign would not abide by COVID-19 re­stric­tions. State Re­pub­li­cans blamed Demo­cratic Gov Steve Siso­lak for try­ing to hurt the pres­i­dent’s re­elec­tion chances. Siso­lak has lim­ited in-per­son gath­er­ings in­doors and out­doors to 50 peo­ple since May, a rec­om­men­da­tion based on White House re­open­ing guide­lines.

In­stead, Trump is hold­ing a new event in Min­den, about 45 miles (72 kilo­me­ters) south of Reno, Satur­day night. He plans to host a “Lati­nos for Trump” round-ta­ble Sun­day morn­ing in Las Ve­gas, then hold an evening rally at a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in neigh­bor­ing Hen­der­son.

Pri­vately, they wel­comed the fight, be­liev­ing it un­der­scored a cam­paign theme: Trump’s in­sis­tence that the na­tion has turned the cor­ner on the pan­demic, while Democrats, in­clud­ing Bi­den and gov­er­nors, are hurt­ing the na­tion’s econ­omy and psy­che with strin­gent re­stric­tions. The pan­demic, which has killed more than 190,000 Amer­i­cans, still claims a thou­sand lives a day.

“The fact that Don­ald Trump is even con­sid­er­ing hold­ing these un­safe events in the midst of a global pan­demic is just the lat­est ex­am­ple of his poor judg­ment and com­plete dis­re­gard for Ne­vadans’ pub­lic health and safety,” said Madi­son Mundy of the state Demo­cratic Party.

The tight race in a num­ber of bat­tle­ground states has led to a re­newed ef­fort to ex­pand his elec­toral map.

Trump’s cam­paign has lav­ished at­ten­tion on three Great Lakes states that flipped his way nar­rowly in 2016, even as many polls through­out the cam­paign had sug­gested Hil­lary Clin­ton held an ad­van­tage. Sev­eral polls ear­lier this sum­mer sug­gested again that Trump may be in trou­ble, but a hand­ful in both Penn­syl­va­nia and Wis­con­sin fol­low­ing the con­ven­tions show a close race.

Polling in both North Car­olina and Florida also shows a com­pet­i­tive race, and there is in­creas­ing con­cern within the Trump cam­paign about Ari­zona. Once con­sid­ered fairly safely in Trump’s col­umn, Ari­zona has been rav­aged by the coron­avirus and the Trump team has grown wor­ried about a slip in sup­port among the state’s se­niors.

A post-con­ven­tion Fox News poll in Ari­zona showed Bi­den with an ad­van­tage over Trump, sug­gest­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of an ex­panded map for the Demo­crat. Still, some polls showed com­pet­i­tive races or even Clin­ton ad­van­tages in tra­di­tion­ally Repub­li­can states in 2016 and they proved to be a red her­ring for Democrats.

 ??  ?? In this Sept 10 file photo Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ar­rives for a cam­paign rally at MBS In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Free­land, Mich. Push­ing for new roads to re­elec­tion,Trump will go on of­fense this week­end in Ne­vada, a state that hasn’t
sup­ported a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date since 2004. (AP)
In this Sept 10 file photo Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ar­rives for a cam­paign rally at MBS In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Free­land, Mich. Push­ing for new roads to re­elec­tion,Trump will go on of­fense this week­end in Ne­vada, a state that hasn’t sup­ported a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date since 2004. (AP)

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