Hillary Clinton's hunt for Electoral College votes takes her to Nebraska on Monday, a seemingly odd place to kick off her first full week as the Democratic presidential nominee.
The GOP nominee won the popular vote in the deep-red state of Nebraska in 2012 and 2008, but the Clinton campaign thinks it has a shot of swiping a single Electoral College vote just as Obama did in 2008. The Clinton campaign's stop in Omaha suggests it is not taking the recent polling bump she received after the convention for granted.
Nebraska and Maine award electoral votes via a congressional district method, meaning the winner of each district earns an Electoral College vote and the winner of the popular vote statewide gets the two electoral votes allocated to the U.S. senators' seats. In 2008, President Obama lost Nebraska by 15 percentage points and more than 100,000 votes, but took the Omaha area and added a Electoral College vote to his column.
Nebraska's second congressional district, which encompasses the Omaha area, is held by Democratic congressman Brad Ashford. And the Clinton campaign thinks it has a fighting chance.
"I think it's a reach but Nebraska's second congressional district, that's another place that President Obama won in 2008 and I think we have a shot at winning it now," said Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, during a breakfast in Philadelphia last week. "It's an economically prosperous area that is changing demographically in ways that are favorable to us."
Several Republicans have recognized the Democrats' efforts and pushed legislation to return Nebraska to the winner-take-all format it employed 25 years ago. The legislation came up short earlier this year, as it has 15 previous times.
To date, the Electoral College has split its vote in Nebraska only once — in 2008 when Obama earned a single electoral vote. But dissatisfaction with Donald Trump in the Cornhusker State may have led the Clinton team to make a play for Nebraska. Republican Sen. Ben Sasse is one of the leading proponents of the conservatives' Never Trump movement and his screeds against the GOP nominee may provide ammunition for the Clinton campaign to reach Nebraskan voters.
Clinton's message in Nebraska on Monday is focused on the economy, particularly on "building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top," according to the campaign.
If Clinton and Trump are running neck-and-neck come November, the time the Clinton team spends on eastern Nebraska in July could pay off.