(CNN) President Donald TrumpThe road to re-election runs through Ohio, but with polls showing a tight race ahead of November, some Ohio Democrats think the state is poised to flip and want a Democratic candidate. Joe Bidencampaign to invest more resources there.
A memo obtained by CNN makes the case that Ohio — which is behind other top battlefield targets for Democrats, such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — “it can be won if someone decides to go after it.” Written by Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, it advises campaigns to deploy additional financial resources in the state in the final term.
“Ohio is in the margin of error despite less investment by the Biden campaign than the Trump campaign or other surrounding states,” reads the memo, which was sent to national Democratic officials and a senior member of the Biden campaign. “That leaves it a win-win if someone decides to get in, and the low dollars spent here in the last few weeks will be even more important because of the lack of spending so far.”
As of Thursday, the Trump campaign had spent a total of $6.7 million on advertising in Ohio while the Biden campaign had invested $2.6 million. Trump has made three trips to the state this year, while Biden has traveled there once in 2020, stopping in Columbus for an event on March 10 before his planned rally for that evening in Cleveland was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Both men will be in Cleveland Tuesday night for the first presidential debate of the general election campaign. Biden will remain in Ohio on Wednesday, when he will take part in a train tour that will include stops in the eastern part of the state before heading into western Pennsylvania.
Despite the difference in time and money spent in the Buckeye State, a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday shows the race is within margin of error, with Biden taking 48% to Trump’s 47%. A Fox News poll of likely Ohio voters released the same day showed Biden with a slight lead, pulling 50% to Trump’s 45%.
The memo also makes the case that a victory in Ohio for Biden would turn the electoral map in such a way that it would deny Trump the chance to run. Last week, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful handover following Election Day.
“With early voters counted for the first time in Ohio, the GOP Secretary of State who has certified the validity of the vote by mail and the electoral college’s big award, Ohio blue on election night ends the game that will happen if Trump opposes and pulls out other results. of swing mode,” the memo reads.
Pepper did not comment directly on the memo but said the Biden campaign “understands the case” for investing in Ohio. He believes that big TV ad buys can make a difference, especially when it comes to undecided voters.
“A lot of them still haven’t been converted to Joe Biden as a presidential candidate, and I think that’s important,” Pepper told CNN.
“I think more than anything it’s to make people feel like Joe Biden gets what they’re going through on the economy, on health care, and sharing their values in a way that Donald Trump doesn’t. I really think with the undecideds, that he would.”
Pepper says the dynamics in the state, and especially the suburbs, have changed since Trump won by 8 points in 2016. That makes him a prime target for Biden, he says, pointing to the Democrats’ success in 2018 in flipping six congressional seats including Sen. The re-election of Sherrod Brown as a strong indicator.
“It’s the same dynamic,” Pepper says of Brown and Biden’s appeal to Ohio voters. “They have a lot in common about how to campaign and some of the drop they put.”
Campaign lists Ohio as ‘priority’ state
With the tail of recent public voting and Biden already in the state for Tuesday’s debate, his campaign announced over the weekend that the former vice president will begin a train tour including eastern Ohio the day after the debate.
The campaign is relying on television ads across the state, mainly targeting northwest and northeast Ohio, areas with large concentrations of voters who supported Obama and Trump — people the campaign believes Biden can win.
A recent memo from Biden to Ohio State Director Toni Webb said the campaign is in a “good position” to win there as it relies on an economic message that contrasts Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan with the “broken promises” of Trump all over. state, including job losses at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and the President’s call for a boycott of Akron-based Goodyear. Biden’s plan promises to create union jobs by focusing on investing in American-made goods and the nation’s manufacturing sector.
“We’re very much seeing President Trump on his heels,” Molly Ritner, Biden’s deputy director of states, told CNN. “That gives us an opportunity to be guilty, and if you look at where we’re investing, you’ll see most of our TV buys are in states that Trump won last cycle.”
Ritner says he and his team “spend all day every day trying to figure out how to get to 270 and win the presidency.” They are focusing on 17 priority states, including Ohio, where they see Obama-Trump voters, as well as urban and Black voters, as a key part of the coalition needed to win.
Still, Ritner did not confirm specific additional resources heading to Ohio at this time, stressing the team’s need to remain nimble in its spending during the general election deadline. The aim of the campaign is to open as many ways as possible for the 270 electoral votes, he said.
“It’s the job of the state party and the local candidates and others to go ask for the resources of their state, and so I’m glad they’re doing that and I’m glad that Ohio Democrats are fired up and they’re willing to go and think about this and think about how we’re going to win,” Ritner said. .
CNN’s Donald Judd, David Wright and Sarah Mucha contributed to this report.