PHOENIX (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign manager urged supporters in Arizona Thursday to fight hard and build a culture of volunteering so the traditionally Republican state doesn’t fall into the Democratic column next year.
Brad Parscale told campaign volunteers at the Arizona Republican Party headquarters in Phoenix that Arizona lacks the volunteer infrastructure in perennial swing states like Ohio and Florida.
“Arizona has not normally been a state we put this much work into,” Parscale said. “Democrats see Arizona as a possibility. I don’t think it’s there yet. But that’s why all of you have to make sure you get active and you work hard to make sure they don’t.”
He pointed to Oregon as a cautionary tale, saying Republicans used to be competitive there, but the GOP infrastructure decayed as Democrats took control.
Trump won Arizona by 3.5 points in 2016, one of his smallest margins of victory.
Arizona has long been a Republican stronghold. But Democrats made inroads in last year’s midterms, thanks in part to a growing Latino voting-age population and disenchantment among college-educated women in the vast suburbs surrounding Phoenix. Both parties see the state as a 2020 battleground for the presidency and the U.S. Senate.
“It’s going to take all of you to make sure Arizona stays red,” Parscale told volunteers.
The Trump campaign has organized dozens of volunteer training events in key states as it looks to build what Parscale called “the largest volunteer army in the history of the Republican Party.”
One of those new volunteers, Katherine Negrete, said she’s volunteering to help counter what she views as “horrible” treatment of the president by the media and Democrats.
“I need to go out there and spread the word,” said Negrete, a 54-year-old teacher from Peoria.