Trump 'Playing to Win' Virginia, GOP Leader Says - NBC4 Washington

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Trump 'Playing to Win' Virginia, GOP Leader Says

Trump's accusations of voter fraud and "rigged" elections ring true for some Virginia voters

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    The latest poll numbers out of Virginia show Clinton has a double-digit lead over Trump, calling into question whether the Commonwealth is still a battleground. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016)

    Donald Trump's campaign says it is stepping up efforts in Virginia -- not stepping away -- despite previous reports that the campaign is pulling out of the state.

    The latest poll results show Hillary Clinton leading Trump by 15 percentage points in Virginia, raising questions about whether the Commonwealth is still a battleground state.

    But some Republican Party leaders insist Trump is not giving up on Virginia.

    "Oh, they're absolutely playing to win and... I wish people who had written that story a few weeks ago saying Trump was pulling out of Virginia had come and spoken with me because we've had Trump paid staffers on the ground since August and nothing has changed," said Loudoun County Republican Committee Chairman Will Estrada.

    Trump's 'Rigged Election' Assertion Rings True With Some Voters

    [DC] Trump's 'Rigged Election' Assertion Rings True With Some Voters
    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey spoke with some Loudoun County voters about their trust in the election process following Donald Trump's accusations that the country's election system is rigged and voter fraud is prevalent.
    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016)

    This week, the Trump campaign announced it is reviving its efforts in Virginia, putting up $2 million dollars worth of new advertisements and naming a new leadership team.

    "Three weeks is not very long in an election year, but in this election, it seems like three weeks is an eternity as well. We're still out there, we're getting out the message. We're door knocking. We're finding huge numbers of undecided people and those are our market," Estrada said.

    Trump supporter Nico Adlung said he made up his mind weeks ago and he thinks plenty of his Loudoun County neighbors share his viewpoint that it's time for a political outsider.

    "It seems like we're entrenched in this country in a very self-serving political machine that has kind of left behind the people of this country and their viewpoints," Adlung said.

    Some Loudoun County Trump supporters agree with their candidate's recent claims of rigged elections and voter fraud.

    "It worried me. Actually, when I went in there I was kind of curious who is running it, but they allowed me to put it in a box that seemed to be safe and locked up," said Michael Kinder, who dropped off his absentee ballot on Wednesday.

    Estrada said that while he has confidence in the elections office, it doesn't hurt to put a spotlight on potential fraud.

    "I think the most important thing is all of us need to understand we have free and fair elections, but we need to be on our guard for anything that threatens that because that cuts both ways. It hurts our country," Estrada said.

    However, Trump's claims have brought sharp criticism from Republican and Democratic leaders alike and, according to multiple campaign experts, a rigged election is highly unlikely.

    Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Swecker said his claims are dangerous. 

    "To stir that up and to think that that would happen in this country is just utter nonsense," Swecker said.

    "I think [the voting system is] reliable. He's just making excuses now because he's behind in the polls," said Diane Sanchez, a Loudoun County voter who supports Clinton.

    In Northern Virginia, Clinton has taken a 34 percent lead, according to a poll of 809 likely Virginia voters by the Wason Center for Public Policy.

    However, Swecker said she still sees Virginia as a battleground.

    "We're taking nothing for granted. We still have 1,000 organizing events a week here in Virginia, 34 field offices, thousands of phone calls made every day and we are not letting up on the gas. We are competing in every nook and cranny," Swecker said.