"Forgotten" Pennsylvania region holds key to Trump’s fate

Trump won working-class Luzerne by 26,000 votes in 2016 — nearly 60 percent of his margin of victory in a state that he narrowly carried. As part of his strategy to win Pennsylvania again, his campaign is betting on increased turnout in the small cities and rural reaches of the northeast…

Trump is trailing Biden by 7 points in Pennsylvania, according to RealClearPolitics’ polling average. His allies in the state said that it is critical for him to run up the score in northeastern Pennsylvania to offset the large gains Biden is expected to make in the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Republican National Committee has boasted that it invested $350 million to upgrade its data program, which is expected to help Trump locate scores of first-time or irregular voters in such areas.

As of September, the GOP had registered nearly 12,000 additional net voters in Luzerne County since 2016, whereas Democrats have lost more than 1,000. Even Barletta, the GOP Senate nominee in 2018, won the county despite losing the state overall by 13 percentage points. A year later, Republicans flipped party control of the county council in Luzerne and received the most votes there in a state superior court race.