Trump slow to invest in states that could decide election

New York: In his bid to retake the White House, few states hold as much promise for Donald Trump as Michigan.

The former president has already won the state once and President Joe Biden, who reclaimed it for Democrats in 2020, is confronting vulnerabilities there as he seeks reelection. Trump’s campaign promises an aggressive play for Michigan as part of a robust swing-state strategy.

But, at least for now, those promises appear to be mostly talk. The Trump campaign and its partners at the Republican National Committee haven’t yet made significant general election investments in the state, according to Michigan Republican Party Chairman Pete Hoekstra. The national committee, he said, hasn’t transferred any money to the state party to help bolster its operations heading into the general election. There are no specific programs in place to court voters of color. And there’s no general election field staff in place.

“We’ve got the skeleton right now,” Hoekstra said. “We’re going to have to put more meat on it.”

It’s much the same in presidential battleground states across the country, according to Republican operatives and party officials involved in campaign planning elsewhere.

Widely praised for its professionalism and effectiveness throughout the primary phase of the 2024 election, Trump’s political operation has been slow to pivot toward the general election in the weeks after executing a hostile takeover of the Republican Party’s national political machinery. In fact, the former president’s team has rolled back plans under previous leaders to add hundreds of staff and dozens of new minority-outreach centers in key states without offering a clear alternative.

Indeed, just six months before the first early votes are cast in the general election between Trump and Biden, Trump’s Republican Party has little general election infrastructure to speak of.

Officials on the ground in top swing states are not panicking, but the disparity with the Biden campaign is stark.

This month alone, Biden opened 100 new offices and added more than 350 new staffers in swing states from Arizona to Georgia to Pennsylvania, according to campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa. That’s in addition to the Democratic president’s existing battleground-state staff of 100 that was already in place.

Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita, who is now also running operations at the RNC, declined to detail any of the Republican campaign’s plans.

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