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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Ground Game, Rural Vote

President Biden's campaign is investing in dozens of field offices in some of the nation's reddest counties, pressing its early money advantage to establish political beachheads in hostile territory.

Why it matters: Biden's team isn't under the illusion it can win these rural counties Donald Trump won in 2020. It's fighting to cut into Republicans' margins — particularly in swing states such as Wisconsin. The goal is to establish a ground presence early in the election cycle and keep rural Biden supporters motivated — while letting voters dismayed by Trump or curious about Biden know they're not be alone.

Zoom in: Biden's campaign has opened more than 150 offices and hired more than 400 staffers in the seven battleground states and will have 200 offices and 500 staffers there by the end of May, the campaign says.In Wisconsin, Biden now has 46 offices across 42 counties, including 23 where Trump won by double digits in 2020.

Biden's strategy still calls for a heavy presence in Wisconsin's Democrat-heavy population centers, with three field offices in Milwaukee County, the most populous in the state.

But the president's team also has offices in places like Rusk County, home to about 14,000 people. Trump trounced Biden by 35% there four years ago, receiving 2,740 more votes.

That's the kind of rural-county margin Biden is hoping to reduce at a time when polls have suggested that voter enthusiasm within Biden's base isn't as energized as it was in 2020, when he won Wisconsin by about 20,000 votes.

What they're saying: "The name of the game is to lose by less" in red counties, Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Ben Wikler told Axios."You lose a place by 25 instead of by 35, that can be really vital" in a close battle to win the overall vote in a state, said Dan Kanninen, the Biden campaign's battleground states director.

 Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Maeve Reston and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at WP:

Trump’s 2024 campaign has traded Star Wars metaphors for talk of a “leaner” and “more efficient” operation, with less real estate, fewer employees and greater dependence on outside groups.

“We’re focused on quality over quantity. I mean, how novel a concept,” top strategist Chris LaCivita told the crowd of top donors May 4 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., according to attendees.
The shift comes as President Biden’s campaign and its allies, buoyed by incumbency, have been moving in the opposite direction, building a more expansive operation sooner than in 2020. Strategists for both major parties expect Democrats to raise and spend more than Republicans over the coming months, a dynamic that has been magnified by the significant legal costs Trump’s fundraising apparatus has absorbed to defend him in state and federal courts.