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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Pence to campaign in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin after GOP convention


President Donald Trump’s reelection effort is planning to ramp up its in-person campaign schedule following next week’s convention, with Vice President Mike Pence hitting a trifecta of Midwestern battleground states.

Pence will headline campaign events in Michigan and Minnesota next Friday, the day after the GOP convention concludes. The following day, Aug. 29, the vice president will deliver a commencement speech at the Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Post-convention travel typically outlines which states candidates are prioritizing, and Pence's schedule shows that the Midwestern states Trump flipped to win the White House in 2016 are still the core part of his strategy to win a second term. But in-person campaigning been complicated this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

While Democrat Joe Biden has largely refrained from in-person campaigning, the president has not. Trump spent much of the Democratic convention week on the road and made a Thursday stop near Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Pence made a Wednesday trip to Wisconsin, where he jabbed Biden for failing to appear at his convention in Milwaukee.

The White House has yet to release Trump’s post-convention schedule. Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, are slated to appear on ABC for a Sunday interview but haven’t publicized any further plans.

Trump narrowly won Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016; he lost Minnesota by less than 2 percentage points, though his advisers regard it as perhaps his best offensive opportunity in 2020. The president’s advisers point to two recent public polls showing a tight race in the state, though a Fox News poll released last month depicted Biden leading by 13 percentage points.

Trump advisers have long been pessimistic about the president’s prospects in Michigan, which he won by less than 1 percentage point in 2016. But aides point to a new survey out this week showing Biden leading by 5 percentage points. (Another poll released late last month had Biden leading the state by 11 percentage points.)

The president’s campaign hasn’t aired any TV commercials in Michigan or Minnesota since July 21, according to a media buyer. But it has reserved advertising time in both states starting Sept. 8. The campaign is currently airing spots in Wisconsin.

Advisers said the post-convention travel would focus heavily on Trump’s efforts to revitalize the economy and on portraying Biden as overly cozy with China — something the Trump campaign made a centerpiece of its plans during Democrats' convention week.



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