Ohio is always a critical swing state in a presidential election year, but this year it's something more: a testing ground for a question at the heart of the Trump-Clinton race: which is more important in a close race, traditional campaign mechanics or sheer enthusiasm?
Clinton's Ohio staff — with twice the number of offices as Trump and the Republicans — is big enough to go after even the smallest sample of Democrats deep in Republican turf.
But Trump has held a mostly steady lead in Ohio since mid-September, and his rallies in Ohio draw crowds of cheering, chanting supporters. He is betting big rallies, cable television coverage and personal engagement on Twitter have changed the nature of presidential campaigning, at least for this election.
While the Clinton campaign is working directly with volunteers to seek out Democratic households in the state, Trump has mostly outsourced the grueling but essential work of identifying voters and getting them to vote to the Republican National Committee and local party organizations.
"Donald Trump is not your typical political candidate," said Mark Weaver, a longtime Republican political consultant in Columbus who is not aligned with the Trump campaign. "He's found a way to energize people without performing the due diligence of a ground game."
Clinton is counting on chipping away at Trump's lead with a campaign organization that dwarfs the Republican's operation. She started building a political infrastructure in the state months earlier than Trump and now counts 64 offices with campaign staff across the state compared with 31 offices that Trump has jointly with the Republican National Committee and local county party organizations.
The ground game has been central to winning Ohio in recent presidential elections. Republican George W. Bush won Ohio in 2000 by 165,000 votes out of 4.7 million cast. Four years later, Bush turned out more than a half-million additional votes even though John Kerry boosted Democratic turnout as well. Barack Obama topped them both in 2008 by winning 2.94 million votes, the highest total in state history.
The state's demographics favor Trump's campaign. Ohio is less diverse than the U.S., with a population that is almost 83 percent white compared with 77 percent nationally, according to the Census Bureau. The state also has lower education levels, with 25.6 percent of residents having a bachelor's degree or more compared with 29.3 percent nationwide, data show.
But the Clinton campaign is counting on its organizational advantage to deliver enough votes to carry the state, Ohio Director Chris Wyant said.
"We certainly look at the dynamics of the state and have built our campaign from the very beginning with the expectation that our team, the ground game that we're building, is going to be the difference," said Wyant, who also worked on Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns in the state.
Asked what the biggest challenge is for Clinton's Ohio ground game facing an unconventional candidate such as Trump, Wyant said focus.
"To some degree, it is not being distracted by this unusual, unorthodox campaign and recognizing we know the path forward, we just need to execute it," he said.