Trump expands push in blue states as Virginia appears competitive

The Old Dominion boasts 13 electoral votes, rendering it a potentially pivotal state in the event of a close race.

Published: June 24, 2024 11:00pm

Former President Donald Trump appears poised to invest heavily in Virginia in the 2024 election as new polling data suggests the Old Dominion could be competitive for Republicans for the first time in 20 years.

The state has not backed a Republican for president since George W. Bush in 2004 and trended increasingly Democratic over the years until GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s upset win in 2021 reignited Republican hopes in the commonwealth. The GOP struggled, however, in the 2023 legislative elections, with many analysts pinning the blame on the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, which forced Republicans to play defense on the issue of abortion during that cycle. The party lost control of the House of Delegates and failed to seize control of the state Senate in those elections.

Trump’s own electoral performance in the state has not been exceptionally strong throughout his political career either. In the 2016 election, he lost Virginia to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who took 49.7% of the vote to his 44.4%. President Joe Biden’s margin of victory in 2020 nearly doubled that figure, with the current commander-in-chief claiming 54.1% of the vote to Trump’s 44.0%.

Current polling data, however, suggests that Trump could be poised to reverse the trend and potentially flip the state red in November. Biden currently boasts a slim 2.2% lead over Trump in the RealClearPolitics polling average, claiming 45.5% support to his Republican rival’s 43.3%. Notably, the average includes four polls, two of which featured survey periods from December and January.

The two most recent components polls come from Roanoke College and Fox News, in May and June, respectively. Both showed the pair tied. Internal polling data from the campaign shared with Just the News by a source familiar with the data, meanwhile, shows Trump within three points of Biden in Virginia and tied with him in Minnesota.

“Joe Biden is so weak, and Democrats are in such disarray, that not only is President Trump dominating in every traditional battleground state, but longtime blue states such as Minnesota, Virginia, and New Jersey are now in play,” Trump Campaign National Press Secretary Karoline Leavitt told Just the News. “President Trump is on offense with a winning message and growing his movement every single day. Joe Biden’s campaign should be terrified.”

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly suggested he could carry traditionally left-wing states, including New York and New Jersey. He previously touted a “very heavy play” for New York and campaigned extensively in the Big Apple throughout his criminal trial, holding traditional rallies as well as targeted stops to address generally Democratic constituencies such as union workers and black voters. Biden currently leads Trump by 7.5% in New York.

But with New York so much closer than expected, the campaign appears to see Virginia and other, more purple states as well-within its grasp and has begun ramping up its efforts in the state to reach voters and build a ground game for the election.

The Old Dominion boasts 13 electoral votes, rendering it a potentially pivotal state in the event of a close race. Trump is currently leading in most swing states in the RCP average, including Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. Minnesota has also become increasingly competitive.

"The addition of Minnesota and Virginia to the electoral map opens up at least 12 additional pathways to 270," reads a campaign internal memo obtained by Just the News.

The campaign memo further indicates that the Trump team is planning to secure leases for 11 field offices in Virginia, as well as another eight in Minnesota. The North Star State has not voted for a Republican candidate since supporting Richard Nixon in the 1972 election.

"Collateral materials will land in early July in both states, and we’ve already begun to generate Trump Force 47 Captain recruits to get them into training,” the memo continued. "We’ve hired staff to manage both states and we are currently building out the team underneath them."

Beyond the training of staff and opening of field offices, Trump himself plans to throw his weight behind the campaign’s push for Virginia and will hold a rally in Chesapeake on Friday, one day after the first presidential debate.

Slated to take place at the historic Greenbrier Farms, the event will reportedly see Youngkin appear alongside Trump in public for the first time this campaign cycle. While the governor has not yet confirmed his attendance, multiple outlets have reported his planned appearance and he previously met with Trump at the former president’s golf club in the state.

A relatively moderate member of the GOP, Youngkin’s success in Virginia previously attracted speculation that he would mount a presidential campaign to challenge Trump in the primary, though he ultimately opted against such a move. In a recent interview, Youngkin urged caution on pronouncements that Republicans could flip Virginia, but contended that the discussion alone was evidence of a meaningful shift in the state’s politics.

"Let’s just begin by remembering where we were in 2020 when Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 points, and the fact that we’re having this discussion is a huge turn of events," Youngkin said earlier this month. "[W]e're here in June and there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge, but Virginia looks like it's in play and that’s pretty exciting."

But despite the governor’s expected support, Trump may face internal divisions within the Virginia GOP over his handling of certain primary races. In late May, Trump endorsed John McGuire, the primary opponent to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Bob Good, R-Va. The Virginia Republican previously endorsed Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis in the presidential primary before endorsing Trump.

"Bob Good is BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA,” Trump posted. "He turned his back on our incredible movement, and was constantly attacking and fighting me until recently, when he gave a warm and 'loving' Endorsement - But really, it was too late."

The former president’s endorsement drew the ire of some local Republican leaders, including 5th District Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rick Buchanan, who expressed hope that Trump would rescind the “ill-advised endorsement.” The primary contest between Good and McGuire has not yet been called.

“We’re going to have a full recount. We’re going to have a full investigation. It’s going to stretch out for a couple of weeks,” Good indicated. “We’ve got lawyers at the ready, thankfully, a tremendous number of lawyers at our disposal, many who are ready to help us.”

Trump’s tussle with Good in the primary marks his latest feud with the House’s more conservative members. He has previously taken aim at other DeSantis supporters, such as Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy and Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X.

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News