Tom Moran voted by absentee ballot in Michigan so he could GOTV in Philly for Hillary Clinton. He was posted outside City Hall Monday morning.

It was 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, and I was catching up on some work when a man knocked at the door. He was wearing a “Clinton Kaine” sticker on his hoodie, knew my name and asked when and where I’d be voting on Tuesday. After chatting with me briefly, he and the woman he was canvassing with were quickly on their way to the next home in the neighborhood.

Although the visit felt personal, it wasn’t at all surprising. Mostly because the Hillary Clinton campaign’s presence here in Philadelphia has been widespread and consistent. As for the Donald Trump campaign? Not so much.

It makes sense Trump wouldn’t expend as many resources in the city of Philadelphia as Clinton. The city — with its 8-to-1 Democratic voter registration advantage — will overwhelmingly elect Clinton, but she needs turnout and a blowout in Philadelphia to help secure Pennsylvania. The state doesn’t have early voting, and it is critical to Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes.

The Clinton campaign’s sophisticated Get Out the Vote operation in the city and the rest of the state is massive and unprecedented.  Meanwhile, the Trump campaign’s ground game in Pennsylvania is decidedly smaller, and it’s leaving GOTV efforts largely up to the state party (which is apparently more concerned about the Senate race at this point).

Still, both campaigns are relying on appearances, volunteers, phone calls, door-knocking and the like to attempt to turn out voters in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. Let’s compare the two campaign’s final Pennsylvania and Philadelphia GOTV operations:


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally. Credit: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network

Hillary Clinton

Tonight in Philadelphia, Clinton will rally with the ultimate celebrity couple: Barack and Michelle Obama. The Clinton campaign is pulling out all the stops on the eve of Election Day, putting the Clinton family (Hillary, Bill and Chelsea) at the same rally as both Obamas.

Their very special guests: Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.

That follows a weekend of celebrity and political appearances across the state ranging from Joe Biden making stops on Saturday and Sunday to Chelsea Clinton canvassing the state to mobilize voters. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker held GOTV events in Philly Saturday. Actress Debra Messing canvassed across the city Friday night. And Stevie Wonder and Katy Perry both held free concerts for Clinton in Philadelphia this weekend.

The campaign also noted that throughout this weekend heading into Election Day, these Clinton supporters have made/ are making appearances across the state: actor Matt McGorry, actor Sean Patrick Thomas, member of the Little Rock Nine Ernest Green, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy, New York Congressman Gregory Meeks and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings. Clinton herself has made 16 stops to Pennsylvania since the DNC.

Donald Trump

In the week leading up to Election Day, Trump made several stops in Pennsylvania, holding a rally Friday night in Hershey and another in Moon Township outside Pittsburgh Sunday night. Pennsylvania’s significance to the campaign was further highlighted Thursday when Trump’s wife Melania gave her first speech since the Republican National Convention in the Philly suburbs.

Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on a call with press Sunday that Trump plans to make a stop in Pennsylvania on Tuesday after voting in New York.

Offices and staffing

Trump has a campaign office on South Street that's become a popular spot for protesters.
Trump has a campaign office on South Street that’s become a popular spot for protesters. Credit: Anna Orso/Billy Penn

Hillary Clinton

Hillary for Pennsylvania has 56 official campaign field offices statewide and has now launched more than 300 GOTV offices which the campaign has described as “local staging hubs where volunteers come together to knock doors, make phone calls and reach out to fellow Pennsylvanians.” Clinton has about 300 staff members in Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump

Trump has about a dozen field offices in Pennsylvania and the total size of Trump’s staff in Pennsylvania also numbered about a dozen in August, according to CNN. However, across the country, Trump’s campaign has a far smaller ground game. David Urban, the campaign’s senior adviser in Pennsylvania, said in a statement the support for Trump shouldn’t be measure by offices, but is best tracked by the massive crowds that show up to his events.

“We will have all the offices, staff and resources we need to win in November,” Urban said, “and any attempt to measure our strength by outdated metrics such as this one simply overlook the real state of play in the race.”

Here’s a look, side-by-side:

[table id=34 /]

Door-knocking and phone-calling

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to young voters at Temple University's Mitten Hall on Monday.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to young voters at Temple University’s Mitten Hall on Monday. Credit: Kaylee Tornay/Billy Penn

Hillary Clinton

Clinton campaign aides say volunteers in Pennsylvania knocked on 740,933 doors on Saturday alone. Last weekend, the campaign said volunteers knocked on more that half a million doors in 286 communities and neighborhoods. In the same weekend, more than a million phone calls were made. Since August 1, Clinton supporters in PA have completed more than 400,000 volunteer shifts and made seven million calls. Clinton for Pennsylvania also established a Pennsylvania Voter Assistance hotline (1-878-777-3861) to provide information about when, where and how to vote.

Donald Trump

The Trump campaign has a door-knocking and phone-calling operation with volunteers across Pennsylvania. The campaign didn’t provide specific numbers for the state. (However, there are also apparently people from Texas knocking on doors in Western PA.) The RNC’s national field director Chris Young said on a call with press Sunday that their volunteers have knocked on more than 16.7 million doors in battleground states and have made 13 million calls since the beginning of early voting. 

Election Day plans

vote here
Credit: Photo by Timothy Rezendes via Creative Commons

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s campaign will mobilize dozens of attorneys on Election Day who will monitor polls. Other volunteers will continue GOTV efforts like canvassing and helping Philadelphians get rides to the polls on Election Day.

Donald Trump

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request seeking information about the campaign’s Election Day operation in Philadelphia and the rest of the state. We do know the candidate’s most famous form of Election Day mobilizing, though: Asking his supporters to closely watch the polls to ensure voter fraud isn’t going down, especially in cities like Philly. (We’ve been over this before.)

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.