Clinton expands campaign reach; Trump says GOP ‘naive’

Lisa Lerer
Associated Press

White Plains, New York — Hillary Clinton is advancing into states the Democrats haven’t won in decades, confidently expanding her offensive against Donald Trump and aiming to help her party win back control of Congress.

There’s a new $2 million push in Arizona, aides said Monday, including a campaign stop in Phoenix by first lady Michelle Obama, one of Clinton’s most effective surrogates. An additional $1 million is going into efforts in Missouri and Indiana, both states with competitive Senate races, a small amount of TV time is being bought in Texas and media appearances are scheduled in Utah.

With her lead increasing, Clinton is unlikely to need any of the normally solid-red states to win the White House. But her team believes that a wide presidential margin of victory would help end Trump’s political movement and undermine his intensifying claims that the election is rigged.

A new CBS poll of 13 “battleground” states shows women voters favor Clinton by 15 points over Trump, versus a 5-point edge held by the Democrat a month ago. That’s powered Clinton to a 6-point overall lead in the states surveyed.

On the other side, Trump’s campaign dramatically expanded its ad buys in seven battleground states and announced plans to launch a $2 million advertising blitz in long-shot Virginia.

Democrats aren’t the only targets of Trump’s rhetoric about the legitimacy of the election system.

In a Monday morning blitz of tweets, he lashed out at Republicans who have tried to tone him down, calling his own party’s leaders “so naive” and claiming without evidence that major fraud is real.

“Of course there is large-scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!” he tweeted.

There is no evidence to back up Trump’s claims. A study by a Loyola Law School professor found that out of 1 billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were only 31 known cases of impersonation fraud.

Trump’s tweets show he is continuing to play a scattershot defense rather than make his case to voters, with just three weeks left and much ground to make up in opinion polls.

Rather than campaigning in the tightest battlegrounds, Trump was spending much of Monday out of sight before speaking in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a state where Clinton is viewed as having an edge. Clinton was spending the day with advisers near her home in New York, preparing for the final presidential debate Wednesday night.

Bloomberg News contributed.