The coming Presidential Election will be decided by a handful of swing states and within them, a handful of swing counties. Some of these have been known to be decisive swing counties for decades, like Hamilton County, OH or Hillsborough County, FL. The Hill, however, compiled a list of ten counties that do not often rise to the top of the swing county list, but still have interesting cases to be made for why they should be included. Some are suburban areas President Barack Obama won in 2012 that President Donald Trump won in 2016, some are traditional Republican strongholds that show signs of slipping, and some are historically Democratic counties that Mr. Trump flipped.
Erie County, PA is a traditional Democratic County that went Republican in 2016 for the first time since 1984. Sauk County, WI is another, which Mr. Trump won by just over 100 votes, putting the county in the Republican column for the first time in 28 years. Muskegon County, MI has been deep blue for decades, but Hillary Clinton barely won it in 2016, a sign that Mr. Trump’s message can resonate with the manufacturing-heavy county. Peach County, GA is a “pivot” county, meaning one Mr. Obama won in 2012 and Mr. Trump won in 2016.
Maricopa County, AZ and Tarrant County, TX are traditionally Republican counties. However, in 2016, Mr. Trump won Maricopa by just 3.4 points and Tarrant by less than ten points. Both these counties are heavily suburban and see shifts in college-educated, female voters, especially. New Hanover County, NC is usually safe-Republican, however, Mr. Obama came close to winning it in 2012, and Mr. Trump won it with less than 50% of the vote in 2016. The Hill labels Washington County, MN and Hillsborough County, NH as areas where Mr. Trump can grow his map in 2020. He lost Washington and barely won Hillsborough in 2016. Even more interesting is The Hill’s take on Lincoln County, ME. They explain that this county may be a microcosm for the country as a whole, citing the political tension between working-class and business owner voters and Ms. Clinton’s two-point win there.
These are not the only counties to watch in 2020, but these ten counties represent regions, voters, and trends Republicans must watch and take seriously in order to win next November.