Trump targets formerly ‘solid blue’ state


It’s been 24 years since a Republican won New Hampshire in a presidential election.

The last to do so was then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000. Four years later, Bush narrowly lost New Hampshire during his re-election campaign, starting a losing streak that continues today.

However, recent polls indicating a close race in the Granite State and President Biden’s poor debate performance nine days ago against former President Trump have given Republicans new hope of ending their losing streak.

“I firmly believe that New Hampshire is very much in play,” said Steve Stepanek, senior Trump adviser in the state, in an interview with Fox News.

Former state party chair and Democratic National Committee member Kathy Sullivan disagrees, stating that “New Hampshire is not Trump-friendly territory” and that there’s no significant change in the Biden versus Trump dynamic in the state.

Since the general election rematch began four months ago, the campaign has focused on key battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and North Carolina. Recently, Trump’s campaign has also targeted Minnesota and Virginia, typically blue-leaning states. Trump attended a Minnesota GOP fundraising gala and held a rally in Virginia following the debate.

Biden, who at 81 is the oldest president in U.S. history, faced criticism for his debate performance, leading to panic within the Democratic Party and calls for him to step aside. Biden is now working to show he still has the stamina and acuity for the presidency and can defeat Trump.

Earlier this week, non-partisan political analyst Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifted Michigan from “Leans Democrat” to “Toss-up” and Minnesota from “Likely Democrat” to “Leans Democrat” following the debate.

In New Hampshire, a Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll conducted after the debate showed Trump edging Biden by two points, within the survey’s margin of error. An earlier poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center showed Biden with a slight lead.

Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, stated, “I do think we are now in a battleground.” He noted that Biden’s weak support among very liberal voters could eventually benefit him as they may still vote for him despite current reservations.

Wayne Lesperance, president of New England College, also sees New Hampshire as “in play,” citing Biden’s debate performance and solid Republican support for Trump.

While polls show a close race in a state Biden won by seven points four years ago, Democrats currently have a significant organizational advantage in ground-game operations. The Biden re-election team and state Democratic coordinated campaign have 14 field offices in New Hampshire, while the Trump team and GOP have only one field office in addition to their state headquarters.

“New Hampshire Democrats will continue to use our robust, grassroots campaign infrastructure to reach Granite Staters in every corner of New Hampshire to ensure we re-elect President Biden and Vice President Harris in November — the stakes could not be higher,” said longtime state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley.

Stepanek, who chaired Trump’s 2016 New Hampshire campaign, emphasized that there is strong support for Trump and a significant ground game to turn out Republican and independent voters.

He also pointed out an enthusiasm gap among Democrats that could benefit Republicans.

However, Sullivan argued that Republicans often fail to deliver on their promises regarding ground-game operations. She highlighted the Democrats’ strong ground game and key issues like abortion that resonate with voters, predicting that Republicans will struggle to catch up.

Sullivan also noted the Democrats’ strong start with the write-in effort for Biden in January’s primary and the campaign’s efforts to reach moderate to conservative Republicans wary of Trump.


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