Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Biden makes play for Florida — Trump’s new home state

Emily Hudson By Emily Hudson Jun3,2024

President Biden’s reelection campaign is making a play for Florida, hoping to steal a state that has been moving toward the GOP — and has become the new home state for former President Trump — away from Republicans in November.

Winning back the Sunshine State will be an uphill battle, but Biden’s campaign thinks the issue of abortion, which will be on the ballot thanks to a restrictive new state law, can give it and other Democrats a boost.

They also note that Democrats won Florida as recently as the 2012 presidential race, when President Obama defeated Republican Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) with Biden on his ticket.

Winning Florida will be an uphill battle, but the campaign isn’t taking any state for granted in an election that currently looks like a dead heat nationally.

“Writing Florida off as a long shot is a big mistake,” said Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins. “Those who underestimate the resilience and determination of Floridians do so at their own peril. Our campaign is deeply rooted in the communities across this state, and we are witnessing an unprecedented groundswell of support.”

Abortion has been an effective issue for Democrats ever since the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling in 2022, and it will be a major issue in Florida.

When Florida’s state Supreme Court ruled a six-week abortion ban approved by the state Legislature could take effect this month, it also allowed for a ballot measure to go to voters in the fall. That measure will allow voters to weigh in on whether to protect access to abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The Biden campaign and Democrats are hoping that measure will be a major force driving pro-Biden voters to the polls in the fall, and that it will put Florida’s 30 electoral votes in play.

Biden’s campaign released a memo announcing it would invest more in Trump’s home state as a state to flip, and Vice President Harris will travel to Jacksonville to campaign on Wednesday, the same day the six-week abortion ban takes effect.

Her visit comes a week after Biden visited Tampa for a campaign event that also focused on abortion rights. Florida’s new law will reduce the cutoff of legal access to abortion from 15 weeks to six.

Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg says there’s plenty of reason for Biden’s campaign to think the issue could make a huge difference in Florida.

“In Florida, the Republicans are going to be running on a six-week ban, and it polls in the low 20s,” he said. “Usually parties don’t support issues that poll so terribly.”

A recent Emerson College poll found that 57 percent of surveyed Floridians think the six-week abortion ban is “too strict,” and 42 percent said they will vote in favor of a ballot amendment to enshrine abortion protections into the state constitution.

Trump defeated Biden in Florida by more than 3 percentage points in the 2020 election.

But even before the new abortion law, Biden hadn’t given up on the state, where the campaign spent money in 2023 and this year.  

Trump easily won the GOP primary in Florida, and he’s been a power in the state. Ron DeSantis was elected Florida’s governor in 2018 while running as a strong Trump ally. DeSantis was strong enough to be seen as a potential Trump rival in the GOP primary after an easy 2022 reelection, though that challenge ruffled Trump’s feathers and ended after the Iowa caucuses.

Trump and DeSantis met over the weekend, reportedly to discuss potential joint fundraising efforts and DeSantis’s commitment to helping Trump.

Biden is behind Trump in public opinion polls in Florida. Trump was ahead by 9 points in a recent FAU/Mainstreet Research poll, 13 points ahead in an Emerson College poll and 6 points ahead in a survey from St. Pete Polls for WMNF Radio.

Ford O’Connell, a Florida GOP strategist, called Democrats’ strategy in the Sunshine State “basically throwing the kitchen sink at the wall to see what sticks.”

“I think that there’s a bad taste in a lot of Democrats’ mouths, national Democrats, in terms of how far Florida has slipped away from them,” he said.

Some Democrats are less optimistic about a return to glory in Florida.  

“Florida frequently feels like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football for Democrats. It’s a place where we get our hopes up, but boy, it’s hard to win in a state like that we haven’t won in a long time,” said David Thomas, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Vice President Al Gore.

John LaBombard, a former communications director for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), agreed that winning Florida will be a challenge.

“Even with the ballot initiatives at play in Florida, I would say that we as Democrats especially sometimes get a little too excited about this reverse coattail effect where we think that because of policy issues being put to voters where voters are very likely to agree with our preference on that policy, that does not always translate to increased support for the Democratic candidates elsewhere on that ballot,” he said. “We’ve seen that time and time again.”

Still, in a close election, Thomas argued it was important for Democrats to not rule out Florida.  

“I think it’s important for Democrats to be expanding the playing field as much as they can at this stage in the game because we know it’s going to be a close election,” he said. “You don’t want to totally write off big important states with big, huge numbers of voters and electoral votes.”

Julia Manchester contributed to this report.

Emily Hudson

By Emily Hudson

Emily is a talented author who has published several bestselling novels in the mystery genre. With a knack for creating gripping plotlines and intriguing characters, Emily's works have captivated readers worldwide.

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2 thoughts on “Biden makes play for Florida — Trump’s new home state”
  1. Winning Florida will be a tough challenge, but I believe Biden’s campaign has a strong chance if they focus on the issue of abortion. Democrats have won the state before, and underestimating the resolve of Floridians would be a mistake. Let’s stay rooted in our communities and work towards winning back this crucial state.

  2. Winning back the Sunshine State may seem daunting, but I truly believe that Biden’s campaign has a strong chance in Florida. The issue of abortion could be a game-changer and rally support for the Democrats. Let’s not underestimate the power of grassroots movements and community connections in this pivotal state.

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