campaign travel

Hoton (CNN) knows the November election is all about him. He worries his supporters do not.

Two weeks before Election Day, a new air of uncertainty hangs over the 2018 campaign that revolves almost entirely around the Trump factor.
A month ago, the President seemed all but resigned that Reans would lose the Hoe, two people who speak to him frequently tell CNN. But his outlook has brightened in recent days, increasingly insisting he can awaken his coalition to stop — or slow — a Democratic wave, they say.
    anyone can save the Hoe, he thinks he can,” a Rean congressman close to the President said. “He’s the only one who believes it’s really possible.”
    While most presidents distance themselves from midterm elections to avoid nationalizing the races, Trump is doing the opposite. He’s all in, firing up loyal supporters and fierce critics alike.
    Jon Tester
    “This will be the election of the caravan, Kavanaugh, law and order, tax cuts and common sense,” the President said to booming applae inside Hoton’s Toyota Center on Monday, boiling down his closing argument for Reans in one crisp sentence.
    Here in Hoton, the rally on Monday night is his 29th of the year. It follows a familiar pattern of much of his 2018 campaign : visiting red states filled with Trump admirers, hoping to minimize political harm by energizing his detractors.
    But even in Texas, several Rean strategists expressed a palpable level of anxiety at what the President might say during his unscripted rally. Trump’s sharp rhetoric on immigration, two officials said, could awaken Hispanic voters or independents in key congressional races in the state.
    “We were hoping he would go to West Texas for this rally,” a Rean strategist said, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid being seen criticizing the President or the .
    An analysis of Trump’s shows where he is — and isn’t — welcome. In deep-red Montana, for example, he’s staged three rallies to try to defeat Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in a race even most Reans see as no easy task.
    Yet he’s all but steering clear of Florida — holding no big rallies so far this fall, despite campaigning there jt months ago during the GOP primary. Rean Gov. Rick Scott, who’s locked in a tight race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, has asked Trump to stay away, a GOP official said.
    But as in many states, Trump remains a central theme of the race, as illtrated in dueling TV ads from Nelson and Scott.
    “When President Trump asks for something that’s good for him and bad for Florida, I know what I’ll do. I’ll say no,” Nelson said in a recent ad. “And we all know what Rick Scott will do. He’ll say yes.”
    Scott responded: “I’ll work with President Trump when he’s doing things that are good for Florida and . And when I disagree, I have the courage to say so.”
    So far, the President has agreed not to campaign in Florida, but he did visit the Gulf Coast this month to survey hurricane damage. A Rean official said Trump keeps asking about the race, saying he wants to do a rally in the final week for either the Senate or governor’s race.
    The last time Trump spent so much time hopscotching from one roaring arena to another, he was on a victory tour, thanking voters who helped turn states from blue to red in his triumph over . But statewide GOP candidates are trailing in most of those new Trump states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
    While the near-nightly Trump show is back, this time his rallies are no longer regularly seen live on cable television. Even his beloved Fox had taken a pass for weeks — until Monday night, when the Hoton rally aired from start to finish.
    His devoted fans are still filling every arena to the brim, but aides said he has repeatedly expressed frtration that his speeches are not being televised.
    That’s not to say, of course, that Trump isn’t still the central character of the midterm election campaign.
    The President appears in nearly 20% of all political ads this year, according to an analysis of data from Kantar /CMAG, based on the top 100 most competitive Hoe and Senate races.
    So far this year, at least $55 million has been spent on pro-Trump ads, the analysis found, with $61 million on anti-Trump ads.
    The is increasingly confident about keeping control of the Senate, largely cae of the blessing of geography, with the majority of competitive seats in red states. To most places, Trump’s message lingers far longer than he does becae Reans turn his rallies into 30-second commercials blasting the Democratic candidate.
    “Phil whatever the hell his name is, this guy will 100% vote against every single time,” Trump says in an ad, attacking Phil Bredesen, the former Democratic governor running for the open Senate seat in Tennessee against Rean Rep. ha Blackburn.
    While Trump has said he will accept no blame Reans lose control of the Hoe, he will have to deal with the consequences of a Democrat-controlled Hoe investigating the .
    Such talk has been all but spended for now in the West Wing, two aides said, with the President not interested in discsing what happens beyond Election Day. He has previoly told allies that Democrat-led impeachment or investigations could strengthen his hand going into 2020.
    Whatever the outcome on November 6, the midterm election campaign has solidied Trump as the indisputable leader of the Rean Party. Even old rivals like Cruz now depend on Trump’s coalition for their own survival.
      “I think it energizes people,” Cruz told CNN on the eve of Trump’s visit to Hoton. “I think it’s going to help drive turnout. And this election is a turnout election.”
      Asked whether Trump was the biggest factor, Cruz replied: “The President is certainly a factor in the election, but I think the biggest factor in Texas is the economic boom we’re seeing.”

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