Dem Operative: Democrats Need to Switch Up Battleground-State Strategy by Focusing on Georgia, Arizona

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November 14, 2018

Democratic operative Michael Halle said Democrats need to change their ground game strategy in preparation for the 2020 presidential election, turning their focus to Arizona and Georgia in place of Iowa and Ohio.

Halle, who ran Hillary Clinton’s losing battleground-state strategy and managed Richard Cordray’s gubernatorial loss this year, told New York Times reporter Lisa Lerer that the Midwestern states are not as favorable to Democrats because of their rural, white populations. He also said their media markets are more expensive.

"It’s kind of scary, because Ohio and Iowa are two states that Obama won in both his presidential campaigns, and now they’re just not competitive in the way they once were," Halle said. "We are at a place where we need to expand the map."

Guy Cecil, chairman of the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA, appeared to agree with Halle after looking at his group's data from the 2018 midterms. The numbers showed that Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina could be potential expansion states during the 2020 election.

"If you look at the results from 2016 and 2018, right now that would be the case," Cecil said.

He said the potential shift might change depending on who wins the nomination in 2020, but he added that spending money makes more sense in those states versus Iowa and Ohio.

Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), a former congresswoman who voted with President Donald Trump more than 50 percent of the time, portrayed herself as an independent voice for Arizonans during her 2018 campaign, telling constituents that she would not support Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) for leadership if she was elected. However, Schumer tweeted out a picture on Twitter Tuesday showing a meeting with Sinema, who was smiling beside him.

"Women of the West. Two new great women Democratic senators from the western part of the United States, Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and Jacky Rosen from Nevada. So proud we’ll be working with them in January," Schumer tweeted.

Schumer was re-elected minority leader on Wednesday during closed-door proceedings, according to a person familiar with the process who spoke to the Washington Post.