Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has set her sights on Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, as part of a new campaign strategy and roll out to take what’s long been a GOP stronghold. Recent polls show she could shockingly outduel Republican Donald Trump.
The Clinton campaign announced Monday it would spend $2 million on television, mail and digital advertising in Arizona. Top Democrats including first lady Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders and the nominee's daughter, Chelsea, are also expected to campaign in the Grand Canyon State this week. Clinton herself could make an appearance, as well.
The increase in funds with only 20 days left in the election shows Clinton and her campaign believe she could wrangle a state that’s gone red 11 of the last 12 presidential elections. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is the only exception, according to McClatchyDC.
Polls between the first two presidential debates showed Clinton holding a 2-point lead over Trump in Arizona, and she held a similar lead for much of July, according to RealClearPolitics. An Emerson poll taken between Oct. 2 and Oct. 4 also gave Clinton a 2-point advantage over Trump. Other previous polls between August and early this month showed Clinton eating into Trump’s hold in Arizona.
Gravis gave Trump a 4-point lead as of Aug. 27, but an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll taken between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8 saw that lead whittled to 1 point. Another, taken 20 days later by OH Predictive Insights, projected Arizona as a tie.
Polls are only half the story as local Arizona media are also pulling for Clinton. The Arizona Republic endorsed Clinton, the first time the newspaper has ever done so for a Democrat during its 125 year history. The endorsement resulted in death threats.
Trump’s case in Arizona is hurt by a lack of resources and support on the national stage from top GOP mainstays like Sen. John McCain, who withdrew his support from Trump earlier this month. Much of the billionaire's campaign help is coming from Arizona’s Republicans at the state level.
The Trump campaign has only five staffers in Arizona, according to NBC News. It hasn’t purchased any television commercials and only $22,000 is committed to mailers until Election Day.
"I think he's going to lose Arizona," Republican state operative and former senior aide to Gov. Jan Brewer, Matthew Benson, told NBC News. "Barring something unforeseen, Trump is going to lose Arizona, and you're still not seeing the type of activity you'd expect to see if he expects to save it."