GOP claims Trump could win Minnesota, New Jersey and Virginia in the 2024 election. This is what the Democrats say.

Gov. Tim Walz, the Democratic governor of Minnesota, had a ready answer to the question he's been hearing more and more lately: Is his state on its way to a former President Donald Trump this November?

“I don't see it on the ground. Donald Trump says a lot of things that aren't true,” the multi-talented governor told CBS News as he prepared to sign a bill and tended to his barking dog. Walz is one of several high-profile Minnesota Democrats trying to debunk growing Republican claims.

During meetings with congressional Republicans on Capitol Hill last week, Republicans uncorked an argument that they believe Trump is competitive in Minnesota, New Jersey and Virginia in this year's elections. Although the claim is not supported by broad opinion polls, and although it is a common political strategy to boast about one growing political battlefield To convince opponents to spend more money to defend their interests, Democrats are responding aggressively and – in some cases – colorfully.

“If Trump wants to spend his time and money campaigning in the blue states, be our guest,” a Biden campaign spokesperson said.

Some Democrats are challenging Trump to invest money in the states, but others are urging caution that the three states should not be taken for granted. Walz does not fall into the latter category.

“He still claims he won here in 2016 and 2020 and that's not true,” Walz said of Trump's continued baseless claims about polls and elections.

“If President Biden comes here, he will provide a billion dollars for the main bridge in the upper Midwest,” Walz said. “When Donald Trump comes here, it's hatred, grievances and ridiculous stories.”

“I think Trump and the Republicans are really grasping at straws here,” Senator Tina Smith, a Minnesota Democrat, told CBS News.

But “this will be a close election,” Smith said. “Don't get me wrong, but that's why the Biden campaign is making such a strong effort here.”

The Democratic National Committee has invested approximately $500,000 in Minnesota ahead of the election, in staff, technology, outreach efforts, email fundraising, data and operational infrastructure, and party-building initiatives.

The optimism was poured on by Rep. Dean Phillips, a member of the Minnesota House Mr. Biden briefly challenged for the Democratic nomination.

“Turnout will matter. I think Trump is right,” he told CBS News. “And spending time in Minnesota will only help him.”

The electoral votes of Minnesota, New Jersey and Virginia are expected to be inconclusive, as a Trump victory in those states would only add to a likely electoral landslide.

And Mr. Biden would still need a group of several swing states to secure victory, even if he prevails in Minnesota, New Jersey and Virginia.

But Trump's meeting with Republicans in Congress led to speculation that the Republican Party is considering investing in cities such as Minneapolis, Trenton and Richmond. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida who is reportedly being considered to be Trump's running mate, said, “I'm hearing some positive things out of Minnesota. I think there is a lot more at play than in the last few cycles. I got a call from some friends of mine in New Jersey, and they said, “Hey, are you doing anything in New Jersey? This is really something here.' And so I think Americans… want to get our country back on track.”

Some Democrats in New Jersey scoffed at the idea that Trump could win the Garden State. Representative Andy Kima democrat trying to take Senator Bob MenendezSenate chair in November told CBS News: “If President Trump wants to waste money in New Jersey, that's his business. But I know the energy in my state – people want something different and they are absolutely exhausted by what Trump is doing. represents.”

“I don't think Virginia is culturally a Trump state,” he said Representative Don Beyer, a Democrat from Northern Virginia in the House. But citing a recent Fox News poll showing a competitive race in Virginia between Trump and Mr. Biden, Beyer added: “I want to make sure Virginians don't take the race for granted. I think every Democrat in Virginia sees it as if we are on a war footing.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a longtime House of Representatives Democrat from Virginia, told CBS News: “Virginia has been a brick wall for Trump's MAGA policies. We know that democracy is at stake, and that the choice between President Biden and the twice-impeached, convicted felon could not be clearer.”

In 2020, Mr. Biden won New Jersey and Virginia by double-digit margins. Meanwhile, Democrats in Minnesota boast the longest winning streak in the country for Democratic presidential candidates, dating back to 1972 — and culminating in 1984 on behalf of Walter Mondale — when Ronald Reagan ran for re-election.

But political strategists said it is a common ploy to expand the battlefield and triumphantly claim a bigger map.

“If you're a party leader, Democrat or Republican, you have to say you're going to win,” said Mike Erlandson, former chairman of the state Democratic Party in Minnesota.

An increasingly tight race in any state has the potential to impact hard-fought local races, including for Congress. Representative Angie Craiga Minnesota Democrat who successfully won a seat in the House of Representatives told CBS News: “We can't take anything for granted this year: the race for the Second District is always extremely competitive and expensive – especially in the s of the presidential election, so we must ensure that we are ready to defend ourselves against the attacks that we know are coming.”

Hunter Woodall contributed to this report.

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