Politics

Minnesota was never competitive. It took Trump’s campaign the entire cycle to figure it out

Donald Trump campaigning in Duluth, Minnesota, on Sept. 30, just days before he would confirm testing positive for COVID-19.

For months, whenever someone would ask Trump campaign officials where they might expand their position on the electoral map, they would point to Minnesota as fertile ground, viewing it as a potential lifeline if Donald Trump lost Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. In September, Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly visited the state, which also played host to several campaign stops from Trump’s children. The campaign also planned to spend more than $14 million on ads in the state during the last couple months of the race, prioritizing it over other Rust Belt battlegrounds. 

In fact, Trump’s last big rally before hosting the infamous White House superspreader event featuring Amy Coney Barrett and testing positive for COVID-19 was in Duluth. 

But a new Civiqs poll released Wednesday shows why the Trump campaign finally dropped the state from rotation in their final ad buy of the race. Trump is down a solid 10 points in the state where his sputtering campaign already spent millions on ads, not to mention valuable time campaigning.

BidenTrump
Who gets your vote?53%43%
Favorability 49%41%

Democratic Sen. Tina Smith has also built a commanding lead of 11 points over her Republican challenger Jason Lewis, 54-43%.

According to Axios reporting last week, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien had maintained a negligible and basically useless ad presence in Minnesota in the first couple weeks of October because “Trump would inevitably blow up at him if he were to read newspaper stories that he was going off the air in a Rust Belt battleground.”

In the same article describing Stepien’s thinking on three potential pathways to 270 for Trump, none of them included Minnesota.

Can’t imagine why the Trump campaign limped into October with just $63 million cash on hand.

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