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Trump ready to announce re-election campaign

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will announce his re-election campaign Tuesday at Orlando’s Amway Center, a speech that will fulfill Trump’s decision to file for re-election on Inauguration Day 2017.

On Monday, Trump tweeted that more than 100,000 ticket requests had been submitted for a venue that seats 20,000. Local news organizations reported that attendees began to line up in the wee hours Monday morning for an event scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

But first, there will be 45 Fest — a tailgate party that begins at 10 a.m. with food trucks and a band named “The Guzzlers.” The campaign will set up huge TV screens so that supporters who never make it past the parking lot can watch Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence.

“Inside and out, the excitement at this Trump rally will be something to remember as President Trump makes history,” campaign Chief Operating Officer Michael Glassner said in a statement.

Trump now oversees a well-staffed and professional campaign operation – steps above the bare-bones insurgent campaign run out of Trump Tower that catapulted the billionaire to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. While Trump raised $335 million to run and win in 2016, his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, expects to raise nearly $1 billion this time around.

Air Force One heads to Florida after a quiet Monday that followed bad news stories for the president. Fox News released a poll last week that showed two Democratic hopefuls — former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – beating Trump by 10 points and 9 points respectively in a head-to-head match.

Then Sunday, NBC reported that the Trump campaign fired pollsters after leaked internal polls taken in March showing Trump losing to Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin, key battleground states which Trump won in 2016.

Good economy, bad approval

“General election polls this stage have been pretty far off,” Democratic pollster Paul Maslin told the Review-Journal. But it is problematic for his re-election that Trump has had “a pretty darn good economy and never cashed it in.” Since he took the oath of office, despite robust economic growth and low unemployment, Trump’s approval rating has never exceeded 50 percent, or even 47 percent in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

“I think he’s losing right now,” said GOP strategist Alex Conant. “I think if the election were held today against Joe Biden, I think he’d lose, but we’re a long way away from the election.”

As for the polling leak, Conant said, “If you’re down that much in the polls, there’s going to be a lot finger-pointing. Campaigns that are losing are normally terrible places to work.”

The 2020 organization and local GOP parties are holding hundreds of events across the country, including a MAGA Meet Up Watch Party at Treasure Island that starts at 4:30 p.m. hosted by Trump Victory and the Nevada Republican Party. The Nevada GOP will also host more than 30 watch parties,

Democrats also mobilized ahead of the announcement. “In 2018, Nevadans overwhelmingly rejected Trump’s toxic policies — like trying to gut coverage for pre-existing conditions and a tax scam that gave handouts to his rich and powerful friends at the expense of the middle class,” said John Santos, western regional press secretary for the Democratic National Committee. “They’ll do the same in 2020 and hold him accountable for his record of broken promises.”

Nevada finally prospers

Will Sexauer, executive director for the Nevada Republican Party, took a different approach.

“After eight long years of stagnation during the Obama/Biden administration, Nevada is finally prospering under President Trump’s leadership and with the march to Election Day 2020 officially kicking off on Tuesday, Nevadans know exactly what is at stake next year,” Sexauer said. “While Democrat hopefuls campaign on an extreme socialist agenda, President Trump has our economy booming, is putting American first, and is determined to secure our border and protect us here at home.”

“Presidential elections are all about turnout,” Conant noted, and then added, “Turnout in 2018 was pretty good for Republicans, the problem was, it was even better for Democrats.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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