President-elect Donald Trump acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that Maine, which he visited five times during his campaign for the White House, was always part of his electoral strategy.

In an interview with reporters, editors and columnists at The New York Times, Trump spoke about the Electoral College and how he wasn’t a fan of the system until it helped get him elected. Trump said:

“What it does do is it gets you out to see states that you’ll never see otherwise. It’s very interesting,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview published Wednesday. “Like Maine. I went to Maine four times. I went to Maine (2nd District) for one, because everybody was saying you can get to 269 but there is no path to 270. We learned that was false because we ended up with what, three-something (electoral votes).”

Maine is one of only two states – Nebraska is the other – that apportions its electoral votes by congressional district. Each of the state’s two congressional districts is worth one vote and the state as a whole is worth two.

The Republican businessman who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton this month in one of the most divisive presidential elections in modern times actually made five trips to Maine during his campaign, including one to Lisbon just 11 days before the election.

Some wondered why Trump was spending so much time in a state with so few votes, especially one that had voted for a Democrat for president in every election since 1988. But Maine’s northern 2nd Congressional District has become more conservative in recent years, and by winning the district Trump picked up one electoral vote, even though he lost the state overall.

Although he ultimately didn’t need that one electoral vote from Maine, there were several scenarios, including some that were talked about on election night, where it might have made the difference.

“But there is no path to 270, you have to get the one in Maine, so we kept going back to Maine and we did get the one in Maine,” Trump told the Times. “We kept going to Maine (2nd District), and we went to a lot of states that you wouldn’t spend a lot of time in and it does get you — we actually went to about 22 states, whereas if you’re going for popular vote, you’d probably go to four, or three, it could be three. You wouldn’t leave New York. You’d stay in New York and you’d stay in California. So there’s a certain genius about it. And I like it either way. But it’s sort of interesting.”

 


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