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Trump Camp Thinks New Hampshire Is Winnable In 2020

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Trump has held more than 60 campaign rallies since he took office. Later today, he will hold his first in the state of New Hampshire as president. It's one of the states he lost narrowly in 2016, and he hasn't given up on it for 2020. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Donald Trump is president of the United States because he narrowly won in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, states that in recent history have been won by Democrats. Now to use political jargon, Trump's campaign is looking to expand the map.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FACE THE NATION")

BRAD PARSCALE: Obviously we have to go back and win Michigan again, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.

KEITH: Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, revealed his ambitious plan on CBS's "Face The Nation" earlier this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FACE THE NATION")

PARSCALE: We plan on also being in Minnesota very soon. I think New Mexico is in play in 2020. I think New Hampshire. I think we continue to grow the map. I think Nevada, you know, even Colorado.

KEITH: Based on Trump's performance in 2016 and current approval rating in those states, it would be safe to describe them as stretch goals.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Do we love Minnesota?

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Trump has made no secret of his desire to win Minnesota in 2020.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: 1972, you know what that is, right? That was the last time. And boy, we came, like, this close. One more speech up here, I would have won this state.

KEITH: Minnesota was close, but New Hampshire was the closest. Campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany arrived days early for Trump's rally there tonight.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: This is a state that the president lost by just 2,700 votes. This is a state that we absolutely think is winnable and could help expand the map in 2020.

KEITH: People are already lined up outside of the arena in Manchester, N.H. The rallies look a lot like they did in 2016, but New Hampshire political veterans say that's where the similarities end. One said last time, the Trump campaign did not have a concerted or well-run effort in the state. This time, the Republican Party and Trump campaign are operating as a seamless unit, targeting persuadable voters and building an army of volunteers.

FRAN WENDELBOE: They've been training people. They've been doing PowerPoints.

KEITH: Fran Wendelboe runs a grassroots conservative group called the 603 Alliance, and she's impressed with what she's seen.

WENDELBOE: They've been doing door-to-door, going into the neighborhoods and knocking on doors and talking to people about the Trump administration and his policies and what he has accomplished.

KEITH: Wendelboe will be volunteering all day today leading up to the rally. She says county Republican Party meetings that normally would be sleepy affairs this far out from an election have been packed.

WENDELBOE: People are showing up we've never seen before, being more active, volunteering to do things like I've never seen.

KEITH: Count Democratic strategist and Clinton campaign alum Jesse Ferguson as a skeptic about Trump's ability to win new states.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JESSE FERGUSON: 2016 proved we can make the wrong assumptions in politics, that there's nothing that President Trump has done to show he's serious about expanding his coalition. In fact, it's been the exact opposite.

KEITH: Of the states campaign manager Brad Parscale said were on the target list, New Hampshire is the first where Trump will hold a rally this year. Watch his travel schedule to see if they're serious about competing in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Minnesota, too. Tamara Keith, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF FAZER'S "GLOW, GLOW") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.