- REUTERS/Mike Segar
Donald Trump’s campaign is clearing out of Virginia, effectively conceding the battleground state’s 13 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton, NBC News reported on Thursday.
The move “blindsided” Republican operatives and Trump staffers in the state, according to NBC News.
Clinton’s lead in polls of the state, a modest 4 percentage points this summer, has now ballooned to 7.5 points, according to a RealClearPolitics average of state polls.
Trump’s increasingly narrow road to victory now hinges on four other battlegrounds, which his campaign will now primarily focus on: Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio.
But former Trump Virginia state chairman Corey Stewart blasted the decision, telling NBC News it was “totally premature” and insisting on Facebook that his state was “winnable” in November.
“Thousands of dedicated volunteers have spent millions of hours knocking on doors, making phone calls and raising money for Mr. Trump over the past 15 months,” Stewart said on Facebook. “Virginia is winnable. Pulling out now would be a betrayal to these volunteers.”
Stewart was fired by the Trump campaign this week after he took part in a protest outside the Republican National Convention headquarters.
Virginia is the home state of Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.