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Trump campaign mum on Nevada voter outreach efforts

With seven months to go until the presidential election, the voter outreach strategies between the Biden-Harris and Trump campaigns in Nevada are looking different.

The Biden campaign has opened multiple campaign offices across the Las Vegas Valley and is holding regular events on a variety of issues, from gun violence with UNLV shooting survivors to Black maternal health with health care workers. High-profile national Democrats have come out to boost the Biden-Harris campaign, and Vice President Kamala Harris has traveled to the Silver State four times since January.

But it is unclear what Donald Trump’s campaign efforts look like in the Silver State at this point in the election cycle. His campaign office listed on Google is closed (it is now occupied by a solar company), and he hasn’t held a public event since his win in the Nevada GOP presidential caucus in February.

Campaign staff said its team is on the ground and working hard in Nevada, but they declined to provide specifics on outreach efforts. They said they did not want to give away the campaign’s strategy to Democrats.

Trump campaign senior adviser and RNC Chief of Staff Chris LaCivita said in a statement that Trump’s operation is fueled by hundreds of thousands of small-dollar donors and has energized supporters, “and without sharing our strategy with Democrats through the media, we have the message, the operation, and the money to propel President Trump to victory” in November.

Prioritizing elsewhere?

The last Republican presidential nominee to win Nevada was George W. Bush in 2004. Since then, Democrats have claimed victory, although sometimes by small margins. In both 2020 and 2016, for instance, Democrats won Nevada by about 2.4 percent.

While Trump has won every Nevada primary he’s competed in, he’s lost the Silver State — whose electorate is made up of an increasing majority of nonpartisan voters — in two general elections. Could it be that winning Nevada isn’t a priority for the former president? Political scientist David Damore thinks there could be more at play.

Nevada is the smallest swing state in terms of electoral college votes, so that could impact which states his campaign chooses to prioritize, Damore said.

Democrats have been able to use the abortion issue to cast Republicans as extremists on social issues who rub moderate voters, including some Republicans, the wrong way, according to Damore, executive director of The Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West.

Like moves on a chess board, Trump’s campaign might place more resources in other states where the campaign might be vulnerable due to the abortion issue, such as Arizona and Florida, Damore said.

Another consideration for Trump could be the earned media he receives, according to Damore. Trump has a way of getting news attention whether he is in the state or not, which could help plug the gap, he said.

Parachuting in on Labor Day

Previous GOP strategies of directing attention to Nevada on Labor Day and parachuting in have not been effective, Damore said. The Trump campaign still has time to correct its strategy in Nevada, he said.

“This is the time where the people who are going to decide the election aren’t paying attention, but the decisions made now on resources and primary candidates and all that stuff really matters for November,” Damore said.

Republicans need to replicate the model of the Culinary Local 226’s get-out-the-vote strategies, he said. The union, Nevada’s most powerful organized labor group that helps get Democrats elected every year, knows the community and the doors they knock on, and they knock on those doors many times, Damore said.

The Biden campaign’s strategy of engaging early with Nevadans is consistent with how Democrats have approached the state since 2008, Damore said. Democrats’ operation in 2020 was the anomaly, he said. They were caught flat footed due in part to the pandemic that limited early outreach efforts and didn’t think it would be as contested as it was, Damore said.

Learning from that mistake this time around, Democrats are more aggressive, he said.

Biden campaign strategy

The Biden campaign — which has nearly 40 staff in the state — and Nevada Democrats are working together on their on-the-ground operations earlier than previous presidential election cycles, according to the campaign.

Six offices are open across the state, including in areas like east Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and southwest Las Vegas that serve as hubs for Black, Latino and Asian American Pacific Islander communities. On Saturday, the campaign opened up its sixth location in Henderson.

Since Feb. 6, the Nevada-coordinated team has hosted 45 campaign events, including state of the union watch parties, Affordable Care Act anniversary events in Northern and Southern Nevada, and news conferences. It also plans to host 15 voter registration launches by the end of April, according to the campaign.

The Biden campaign and the DNC have also put in ad buys in Nevada to target Latino and Asian American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, according to the campaign.

“President Biden and Nevada Democrats are united in establishing a substantial and sustained presence to reach every Nevada voter and earn their vote by highlighting the stark contrast between President Biden’s work of delivering on the issues that matter after Donald Trump failed to address them,” Madeline Pawlak, Nevada communications director for the Biden campaign, said in a statement.

Trump campaign on the ground

Karoline Leavitt, the national press secretary for the Trump campaign, said Team Trump is on the ground and working hard in Nevada.

“We have paid staffers and volunteer-powered field programs in every battleground state, including Nevada, and they are expanding daily,” Leavitt said in an email. “Our aggressive and experienced operation is focused on turning out votes and highlighting the contrast between Joe Biden’s weakness and failures with President Trump’s record of success.”

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald did not return requests for comment when asked about the state party’s outreach efforts.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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