NBC News reports that the Donald Trump campaign is “pulling out of Virginia”:
The decision came from Trump’s headquarters in New York and was announced on a conference call late Wednesday that left some Republican Party operatives in the state blindsided. Two staffers directly involved in the GOP’s efforts in Virginia confirmed the decision.
According to NBC, Trump is now running what is essentially a four-state campaign — Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, all battleground states critical to Trump’s diminishing chances of winning November.
Trump’s withdrawal stunned staff in Virginia. Corey Stewart, Trump’s recently fired Virginia state chairman, called giving up on Virginia “totally premature.”
“I think it’s totally premature for the campaign to be pulling out of Virginia after so much work and all the hundreds … of hours of volunteer time and thousands and thousands of volunteers,” Stewart said. “The only thing the campaign had to do was spend money on an ad campaign and it would have been competitive … I’m just disgusted.”
The decision, Stewart said, “makes it next to impossible to win the state,” though he insisted it was winnable if the campaign had just invested in advertising
“They have not been spending money on an ad campaign for months. They’ve had a fraction of the number of paid staff as the Clinton campaign, despite promises by the RNC to boost that up,”
As with all things Trump, there was a denial that Virginia has been surrendered. A staffer, who NBC didn’t name, insisted that the decision hadn’t been finalized.
“There have been conversations about shifting resources,” the source said, “but I haven’t gotten any definitive answer on anything.”
Trump has trailed Hillary Clinton in every Virginia poll since August, by a margin that’s only widened over the last month. The Real Clear Politics average for Virginia: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein has Hillary ahead by 7.5 percent. In a two-way race Hillary’s lead is 9.4 percent.