Economy

Trump preps swing state expansion as questions arise over 2024 preparedness

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: Over the next month and a half, former President Trump’s campaign will be opening dozens of new offices in seven pivotal swing states, complete with hundreds of newly hired staffers, Fox News has learned. 

As President Biden and Trump appear headed for a rematch in November, the two will likely put a lot of energy into the seven swing states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina — that could decide the election. 

In the latest Fox News Poll, the two were in a virtual dead heat in Pennsylvania, with Trump leading Biden 49% to 47%. The difference is within the margin of error. 

In Arizona, Trump won in a five-way matchup with Biden, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Jill Stein and Cornel West, posting 43% to Biden’s 39%.

 

Trump’s forthcoming changes to swing state campaign infrastructure comes as Biden criticizes Trump over his infrequent presence in key locations. Trump spent time in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire during the Republican primaries as Biden began ramping up his campaign for the general election. 

With several criminal cases pending against Trump, time spent on the road campaigning could be limited, and critics have said Trump is slow to ramp up his ground game.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Pete Hoekstra told The Associated Press this week the RNC and Trump campaign had yet to invest in building up the election effort in what promises to be a critical state come November. 

‘We’ve got the skeleton right now,’ Hoekstra told The Associated Press. ‘We’re going to have to put more meat on it.’

His observation coincided with news President Biden’s re-election effort had opened 100 new offices and enlisted over 350 new staff members in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania, adding to the already established swing state staffers working on the ground. 

‘Donald Trump claiming he has a plan to build a battleground state operation while they don’t have money, lay off state staff and close community centers feels eerily similar to some other imminent Trump plans that never came to fruition, like the long promised infrastructure week or his Obamacare replacement. We’ll believe it when we see it,’ Biden campaign spokesperson Seth Schuster said in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

But the RNC and Trump’s campaign pushed back on the idea that they’re behind schedule.

‘We don’t feel the need to talk about the tactics because we lead with our candidate — he’s a winning candidate,’ Republican National Committee spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez said in an interview with Fox News Digital. 

‘We are doing all the tactics,’ Alvarez emphasized. ‘We are raising the money. We are deploying the assets. It all is happening.’

She explained that Trump and the RNC aren’t always going to publicize the steps being taken to ensure victory. 

‘We win when we lead with our candidate. They lose when they lead with their candidate,’ she added. 

Alvarez claimed the Democratic Party ‘cannot put their guy out there’ and is forced to lead ‘with their tactics.’

Trump’s campaign noted that the infrastructure it expects to roll out in critical states over the next 30 to 45 days is early compared to past cycles. Usually, a non-incumbent presidential nominee is not definite until the RNC convention in the summer, and the committee and campaign do not merge until then. 

Earlier this year, it was revealed that, in 2023, the RNC posted its worst fundraising since 2013, only pulling $87.2 million and reporting roughly $8 million in available cash on hand.

In the month of January, Trump saw his cash on hand dwindle to $30 million, while his spending outpaced his fundraising. Biden’s campaign brought in $42 million in the same period and boasted a $130 million war chest for the general election. 

However, last month, both the committee and Trump’s campaign saw improvement. The RNC pulled in $10.6 million, while making gains in cash on hand in February. Trump’s campaign managed to rake in over $20 million last month, boosted by primary victories, while also upping his cash on hand to $42 million.

While fundraising appeared to bounce back as Trump’s campaign merges with the committee, concerns over Trump’s financial situation still remain. The former president has been ordered to make various payments in his criminal cases. 

The RNC and campaign further pushed back at suggestions action hasn’t taken place sooner in the key states due to legal fees for the former president and poor fundraising hauls. Both the committee and campaign expressed confidence, noting that all assets are in line to cover all costs. 

They conceded that the Democrats are expected to enjoy a monetary advantage but claimed Trump doesn’t need as much money to win. 

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