The Clinton Campaign's Strategy to Win Big on Election Day
The Clinton camp doesn't just hope to win -- they hope to win big.
By LIZ KREUTZ
October 25, 2016, 9:14 AM
• 5 min read
-- Two weeks before Election Day, the campaign for Hillary Clinton has its eye on the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency -- and then some.
As polls show the Democratic nominee widening her lead over Republican Donald Trump, her campaign is aiming not just to win the White House on Nov. 8, but to have decisive victories up and down the ballot.
“We want to win by as a large a margin as we can,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told ABC News. “Then I think we want to build on that to try to get things done,” he said.
A decisive victory in the presidential race as well as Democrats winning control of the U.S. Senate could help Clinton accomplish her policy agenda after Election Day. It may also help squelch Trump's accusation that the election was "rigged," though the Clinton camp denies that's part of their goal.
To achieve this, the campaign has launched a multipronged strategy.
It has expanded into some traditionally Republican states as a way of creating as many paths to victory as possible. And, it is focusing on down-ballot races in the hope of Democrats winning a Senate majority.
Clinton's team has homed in on this strategy since the conclusion of the presidential debates, with Clinton herself now focusing in some of her stump speeches on state races.
Campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday, for instance, she gave a boost to the state’s current governor and Democratic candidate for Senate, Maggie Hassan. Over the weekend, Clinton went after North Carolina’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory and Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey.
“He still refuses to stand up to Donald Trump,” she said of Toomey at a rally in Pittsburgh. “Now, you know, a lot of Republicans have. They have had the grit and the guts to stand up and say he does not represent me.”
The shift for the Clinton campaign comes just as the new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the Democratic candidate leading Trump by 12 points nationally among likely voters, her highest level of support, and his lowest, to date in this poll. The new CNN/ORC poll also shows Clinton leading Trump nationally, but by a lesser margin: 5 percentage points.
Poll numbers like these have helped to give the Clinton campaign the confidence to shift some of its focus and to attempt to shake up the electoral map of traditionally red states, such as Arizona and Utah.
Clinton's campaign has recently increased its ad buy in Arizona, where it has also sent surrogates, including Michelle Obama. And the team has sent a handful of staffers from their Brooklyn headquarters to work in Utah for these final weeks, according to a campaign aide.
From the outside, this shift in resources could appear to be a sign of overconfidence or cockiness, but aides to Clinton say that’s not the case.
“The number one concern that remains at this point is still complacency, where people get overconfident,” Fallon explained. “The state of the race is very positive right now, but we still have to turn people out.”
With this in mind, aides say Clinton herself will continue to campaign aggressively in core battleground states over the next two weeks. While they’re open to her traveling to Arizona, no date has been set.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has criticized the Clinton camp for their increased push in red states. Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence brushed it off as “tactical.”
“There are two ways you can defeat your opponent -- outright or demoralize,” he said in an interview with Rush Limbaugh on Monday. “But I don’t think the American people are buying it.”