Hillary Clinton’s campaign has added more staffers to their operation in traditionally red Utah, a source with knowledge of the moves tells CNN.
Five new staffers will start work in Utah early next week, according to the source, and visits from surrogates will increase in the final weeks of the campaign.
The moves signal a growing confidence that Utah, a state that has not voted for a Democrat in the presidential election since 1964, could end up in Clinton’s column on Election Day.
Clinton’s campaign has eyed Utah as a possible expansion state for months, given Donald Trump’s struggles with Mormon voters and the success of third-party candidate Evan McMullin. These moves, first reported by Buzzfeed, are just the latest step in their effort to turn the state blue.
Clinton’s campaign has organized a Mormons for Hillary group in the state and opened an office in Salt Lake City earlier this year.
The former secretary of state’s opening salvo in the Beehive State was an op-ed published by the Deseret News, a paper owned by the Mormon church.
Clinton nods to the church’s history of persecution in her op-ed, noting that other Mormons have compared Trump’s comments to “when Missouri Gov. Lilburn Boggs singled out Mormons in his infamous extermination order of 1838” and “President Rutherford B. Hayes’ attempt to limit Mormon immigration to America in 1879.”
To the surprise of both Democrats and Republicans in the state, polls show a tight race between Trump, Clinton and McMullin.
A Y2 Analytics poll, published first by the Deseret News last week, found both Clinton and Trump at 26% among likely Utah voters, with McMullin at 22% and Libertarian Gary Johnson at 14%.
McMullin, a Mormon, was a late entrant to the presidential race and has focused on Utah, where he was born. It’s one of the few handful of states where the former CIA employee will be on the ballot in November.
Clinton has yet to visit Utah as a candidate and aides have said that there are currently no plans for her to visit the state. Clinton’s campaign is also not on the air in Utah.