WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager predicted record turnout for the 2016 election — and said high early voting numbers could give his boss an “insurmountable” advantage in some key battleground states.
Robby Mook told reporters on a Thursday conference call that he felt good about early-voting numbers, arguing early indicators showed key Democratic voting groups — especially Hispanics but also African-Americans and Asian-Americans — will turn out in huge numbers this election and tip the scales toward Clinton in key states.
“States like Nevada, North Carolina and Florida could be decided before Election Day,” he said. “We could build an insurmountable lead in those key states before Election Day.”
Mook, a field operations specialist who helped Clinton grind out some crucial primary wins in both the 2008 and 2016 Democratic primaries, is banking on using early-voting periods in those states to turn out as many Democratic-leaning voters who don’t show up as often to register and send in their ballots early. He predicted that early voting may make up 40% of the total vote this election.
Mook also predicted historic turnout in 2016 that would surpass the numbers of any previous election, though that’s not a big prediction given the continually growing U.S. population.
“We are certain that more voters are going to cast ballots in this election than in any in this nation’s history. The turnout will be higher than in 2012, 2008 or in any other election,” he said.
Mook and his team have been hard at work for more than a year building up a ground operation that can overcome any enthusiasm problems and get Democrats to the polls. Donald Trump’s team, on the other hand, has basically outsourced that effort to the Republican National Committee — a big task for a smaller organization.
Mook highlighted Florida as a particular bright spot for the campaign, saying vote-by-mail requests from Hispanic voters had risen 77% since the same point in 2012.
But when asked about Hurricane Matthew’s impact on last-minute voter registration, he admitted the storm could cause problems, asking Florida election officials to extend the deadline past Oct. 11. It’s unlikely the Republican officials will take him up on that request, however.
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