Hillary Clinton’s campaign ignored pleas from staff members for the candidate to boost her efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin, two unexpected battleground states, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday.
The two states, considered safely Democratic by virtually all pollsters ahead of the election, swung for Donald Trump on Election Day, securing the Republican his shocking victory.
In Michigan, which Clinton is on track to lose by about 12,000 votes, one senior operative said her campaign’s canvassing operation was one-tenth the size of Democratic candidate John Kerry’s in 2004.
According to one organiser, the campaign sent canvassers to a trailer park in Flint, unaware that the park had burned down, the Huffington Post reported.
“It was arrogance, arrogance that they were going to win. That this was all wrapped up,” a senior operative told the publication.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, local campaign officials were forced to raise $1 million in last-minute get-out-the-vote funds after Clinton’s national campaign declined to provide it, operatives told the Post.
Clinton’s Wisconsin office also reportedly lobbied for the campaign to send African-American surrogates to boost Democratic turnout in Milwaukee. Clinton received 39,000 fewer votes in Milwaukee County than Barack Obama did in 2012, and she lost the state by about 27,000 votes, thanks to lower turnout in three key counties.
“There are only so many times you can get folks excited about Chelsea Clinton,” a Wisconsin Democrat told the Huffington Post.
Trump, for his part, ramped up his efforts in Michigan in the final weeks of the campaign, making multiple stops there, including his final campaign appearance that stretched into the early morning of Election Day.
An average of pre-election polls showed Clinton with a 3.4-point lead in Michigan and a 6.5-point lead in Wisconsin. The two states are worth a combined 26 electoral votes — still not enough for Clinton to reach the 270 threshold. She also lost Pennsylvania, which hadn’t swung Republican in a presidential race since 1988.
Clinton’s campaign has pinned the loss on FBI Director James Comey, who announced 11 days before the election that the bureau was reactivating its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. The announcement likely helped depress voter turnout, a campaign director wrote in an email last week.
Comey’s subsequent letter clearing Clinton of any wrongdoing, issued two days before the election, may have energised Trump’s supporters in turn, the director said.