Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has ended his campaign’s field operation in Virginia, effectively conceding the state to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, a Trump campaign adviser told The Wall Street Journal.
Trump’s campaign has long been trailing Clinton in Virginia, and likely never considered the state’s 13 electoral votes as crucial to his path to the 270 votes necessary to become president. Without Virginia’s votes, Trump’s path to become president narrows.
The two most recent polls in the Old Dominion conducted by Roanoke College and Hampton University have Clinton leading Trump by 13 and 12 points, respectively. Trump is 9.4 percentage points down in Virginia, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Statistician Nate Silver’s website FiveThrityEight currently estimates that Clinton would have a 94.3 percent chance of winning Virginia if the election were held Thursday.
Trump’s pull out from the state comes just three days after the business mogul fired his Virginia campaign chairman, Prince William County Commissioner Corey Stewart. The official reason given was Stewart organizing a pro-Trump rally against the RNC, though he later blamed internal politics. Stewart promptly blamed the Republican National Committee for the withdrawal from Virginia.
“The RNC has not been very friendly and has been pulling resources out,” Stewart told The Wall Street Journal. “They’ve been starving the Virginia Trump campaign even though it’s necessary to win the country. If we lose this state, it’s because of the RNC reneging on their promises to adequately fund the state’s ad program and ground operation.”
A Trump spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the campaign is still committed to the state and is just reallocating staff.
“We remain absolutely committed to winning in Virginia,” John Ullyot, the Trump campaign’s deputy political director for communications, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “While we’re reallocating some of our staff strategically to accommodate early voting in nearby priority states such as North Carolina, our campaign leadership and staffing remains strong in Virginia.
“Virginians are tired of the same old corruption and double-talk from decades-long Washington insiders like Hillary Clinton, and will vote for change in November,” Ullyot continued.
Virginia demographics have become increasingly favorable for Democrats after President Barack Obama won the state twice by 6 points in 2008 and 4 points in 2012.
Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, represents Virginia in the U.S. Senate and was previously its governor.
(Editor’s note: This post has been updated)
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