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Trump campaign bets big on Minnesota, Virginia with new field offices

Trump beats Biden in May fundraising
Trump beats Biden in May fundraising, both campaigns preparing for debate 08:50

The Trump campaign is expanding its ground game in Minnesota and Virginia as it puts President Biden's campaign on its heels in traditionally Democratic states, according to a new internal campaign memo. 

The memo, obtained exclusively by CBS News Friday, details that the campaign is in the process of securing leases for eight "Trump Force 47" offices in Minnesota, and 11 campaign offices in Virginia. 

"Trump Force 47" is the nickname for the joint effort between the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee's grassroots volunteer canvassing program. 

In addition to the offices, the campaign has hired new staff to manage its ground game in Virginia and Minnesota, and is building out teams. 

By putting Minnesota and Virginia on the map, the campaign believes it can add "at least 12 additional pathways to 270," according to the memo, which was written by James Blair, the Trump campaign's political director. 

Trump has had his eye on flipping Minnesota and Virginia after several internal campaign polls allegedly showed that Mr. Biden's weakening favorability in those states — coupled with Trump's historic gains with Black and Hispanic voters — could spell an opening for the former president. 

However, a Republican has not won Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972. Trump came close to turning the state red in 2016, but ultimately lost to Hillary Clinton by less than 2 percentage points. 

It has been over two decades since a Republican clinched Virginia in a presidential election. Mr. Biden won the state by double digits in 2020. 

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, met with Trump last week at Trump National Golf Club in northern Virginia to discuss the conditions that could help boost his standing in the state. Youngkin also shared polling numbers that allegedly showed Trump is competitive with Mr. Biden in the state. 

Regardless of the electoral histories, Trump has been keen on visiting states he hasn't won in the past in an effort to make Mr. Biden's campaign spend resources in what are typically considered safe states for his re-election. 

The Democratic National Committee has invested about $500,000 in Minnesota ahead of the election, for staff, technology, outreach efforts, email fundraising, data and operations infrastructure, and party-building initiatives. A DNC spokesperson told CBS News that Trump's campaign strategy in Minnesota has had no impact on its own.

The Biden campaign, meanwhile, has six field offices in Virginia, and has held multiple grassroots events. 

"If Trump wants to spend his time and money trying to campaign in blue states, be our guest," Biden campaign spokesperson Caroline Stonecipher told CBS News in a statement Friday evening. 

Trump will visit Virginia on June 28, one day after squaring off with Mr. Biden in their first presidential debate. It will be his second visit to the Old Dominion this cycle. The former president made his first visit to Minnesota for a fundraiser in St. Paul in May. 

— Scott MacFarlane, Aaron Navarro and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report. 

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