PUEBLO, Colo. — Riding its momentum as Republican Donald Trump sinks in national polls, the Hillary Clinton campaign is considering whether it makes sense to expand intensive operations in at least three states beyond the seven battlegrounds, a senior adviser said Wednesday.
Clinton may have better chances than once thought in Utah, Arizona and Georgia, communications director Jennifer Palmieri said ahead of a campaign swing through Western states. Recent polling suggests that Clinton could be ahead or tied in Arizona and Utah, which have been Republican strongholds.
"We're always looking at those states to see if it is worth" spending money on television advertisements and other mobilization efforts, Palmieri said. "Obviously, our biggest goal is to get to 270, and that is what we designed the campaign to do, but we are looking at these other expansion states, as we refer to them — Utah, Arizona, Georgia — to see if there’s opportunity there.”
Vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine will do news interviews in Arizona and Utah in the next few days, Palmieri said. She did not rule out a visit by Clinton to either state.
"It's a little early to tell how competitive we can be there, but we're taking a look at it," Palmieri said.
The campaign strategy was built around amassing the 270 electoral college votes needed to win through a mix of solidly Democratic states and a combination of the seven key battlegrounds: Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton now leads or is in a dead heat in all but Iowa.
A senior aide had said as recently as last weekend that there were no plans to try to expand the map of contested states, and Palmieri made clear that the current deliberations are preliminary.
The Salt Lake Tribune endorsed Clinton, as did the Arizona Republic, which had never endorsed a Democrat.
"If you've got friends in Utah or Arizona, make sure they vote, too," Clinton said at a rally here.
Clinton traveled Wednesday to a swing district in a Republican-leaning part of Colorado, where she castigated Trump as a bully.