Three weeks until Election Day, the Trump campaign and the RNC are at risk of letting historically red Arizona slip away.
“I think he’s going to lose Arizona,” said Matthew Benson, a Republican state operative and former senior aide to Gov. Jan Brewer. “Barring something unforeseen, Trump is going to lose Arizona, and you’re still not seeing the type of activity you’d expect to see if he expects to save it.”
The campaign has placed few resources in the state. There are five staffers aiding Trump’s bid, paid for by a combination of the campaign, the RNC and the Arizona Republican Party.
Last month, both an Arizona Republic/Arizona State University poll and an NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll showed Trump and Clinton with a one percentage point margin of each other in the state.
This comes at the tail end of a week in which the Trump campaign effectively pulled out of Virginia and cut ties with Ohio’s state party chairman.
The campaign has not put up any broadcast TV or radio spots in Arizona, and it has committed just $15,000 for mailers for the remainder of this month and $7,000 for the final week of the campaign.
Asked if more funds directly from the campaign and the RNC are wanted and if they have been requested, a state GOP party official told NBC News: “Of course.”
“We’ll take anything,” the official said.
The state party has been the primary source of pro-Trump messaging, sending out multiple fliers on behalf of the party and Trump and placing calls to Republican voters. The state’s party chairman, Robert Graham, has remained a vocal proponent of the GOP nominee, and the state treasurer, Jeff DeWit, serves as the national campaign’s chief operating officer.
The state party has had a tough balancing act as it remained committed to supporting the top of the ticket while the state’s two U.S. Senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, stood out as two of the most vocal critics of Trump.
The Trump campaign has dispersed more than 60,000 yard signs and has opened a campaign headquarters in Mesa for volunteers to work out of.
“Unlike in other states, there is a real fantastic working relationship between the RNC, the AZ GOP and the Trump campaign,” said Brian Seitchik, Trump’s state director.
But Benson, the Trump critic, said there is “no comparison” between the Trump efforts this year and those funded by Mitt Romney’s campaign four years ago. Multiple Republicans told NBC News they had not encountered any pro-Trump messaging.
“Romney actually had a campaign and a field operation,” Benson said. “Even though Arizona wasn’t at risk in 2012, they still had a good operation here because they wanted to run up numbers and raise a lot of money.”
The party official acknowledged to NBC News that Clinton could win Arizona, an electorate that has voted for just one Democrat for president since 1952 — Bill Clinton in 1996.
Another GOP operative in the state said Clinton has a “real shot,” placing the odds of a Clinton win at 50 percent.
“It will be because Trump lost Arizona rather than because Clinton won it,” the operative asserted.
“We’re not Utah, but we have a sizable Mormon population,” the individual said. “So the problems he’s having there [in Utah] should mimic to a smaller degree in states like Arizona and Nevada. And it only takes a few degrees given his numbers in Arizona right now.”
With Trump’s own position in the state on shaky ground, the multiple Republicans expressed concern that Trump could ultimately suppress turnout for down ballot races.
“Between the fact it’s going to look like it’s over on Election Day and with Trump turning his fire on Republicans, every Republican is going to pay a price for what’s going on,” Benson said.