Four years ago, President Trump won Georgia by 5 points, but all signs point to a tight race in a state that hasn’t voted Democratic in a presidential race since 1992. On Monday morning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released a new poll showing Biden with a 1-point lead, following multiple polls that showed a tied race.
The former vice president is set to visit Warm Springs, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt owned a private retreat, on Tuesday. According to Biden’s campaign, his remarks will touch upon “bringing Americans together to address the crises facing our nation.” Throughout his campaign, Biden has spoken about Roosevelt and the challenges he faced upon entering office during the Great Depression.
“Nearly a century ago, Franklin Roosevelt pledged a New Deal in a time of massive unemployment, uncertainty and fear,” Biden said in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in August. “Stricken by disease, stricken by a virus, FDR insisted that he would recover and prevail, and he believed America could as well. And he did. And so can we.”
Following the event in the small western Georgia town, Biden will hold a drive-in event in Atlanta, where Democrats hope to continue their recent successes in the city and its surrounding suburbs. The Trump campaign is hoping to wring more votes out of the state’s whiter and more rural areas.
In addition to the presidential race, Georgia has two Republican Senate seats that Democrats are attempting to flip. Democrats have funneled millions of dollars into the state in recent months in an effort to defeat Sens. David Perdue, who was elected in 2014, and Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to replace retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson earlier this year.
Loeffler is in the middle of a three-person race against Democrat Raphael Warnock, a pastor, and Republican Rep. Doug Collins. Perdue, meanwhile, is locked in a battle with Jon Ossoff, a 33-year-old Democrat who gained national recognition for his failed House bid in 2017. If no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote in either contest, both races would head to runoff elections in January.
All the Republican candidates have tied themselves closely to Trump in a race to paint themselves as the true conservatives, a strategy that carries some risk in a state where the president’s success is in doubt.
“This guy is providential. He didn’t happen by accident,” Perdue said at a Trump rally earlier in October. “How in the world in our political system could Donald J. Trump come on the scene in 2016 and do what he did? Tell me. God’s watching.”
Loeffler has also touted the endorsement of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican House candidate with a history of racist and xenophobic statements along with outspoken support for the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.
Trump visited Macon on Oct. 16, and his son Donald Jr. held events in the state on Friday. The flurry of campaign activities comes as the state shatters early voting records, with more than 2.7 million votes cast as of Sunday night, already double the 1.3 million early votes cast there four years ago. Following long waits at the polls in previous elections and charges of voter suppression leveled against Kemp, Georgians are turning out in droves well before Election Day.
“Georgia is a battleground state, and our 16 electoral votes are up for grabs,” tweeted Stacey Abrams, a former gubernatorial candidate and one of the state’s most prominent Democrats, after the announcement of Biden’s visit. Abrams has advocated since last year for Democrats to shift more attention to the state.
Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, visited Georgia last week and is set to visit Arizona, another typically Republican state where Biden holds a slight polling lead, on Tuesday.
Harris will continue her tour of states that traditionally vote Republican in presidential races by heading to Texas, where Biden appears to be competitive, on Friday. According to a New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday afternoon, Trump leads Biden by 4 points in the state, with 47 percent support compared with Biden’s 43 percent, and another 10 percent undecided.
In the late stages of the 2016 campaign, Democrats similarly shifted some of their focus to red states. First lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Chelsea Clinton visited Arizona in October, and Hillary Clinton made a visit in the days just prior to the election. Trump ended up winning Arizona by 4 points, and the Clinton campaign was criticized for not focusing enough on Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which all flipped to Trump and gave him the Electoral College votes he needed to secure the presidency.
But Biden and Harris may be boosted in the state this time around by a Senate race in which Democrats are hoping for a landslide victory. Polling shows Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, with a substantial if perhaps narrowing lead over Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat in 2019.
Current polling shows Biden with an average lead of 5 points in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and a lead of 8 points in Michigan. In Minnesota, another Midwestern state the Trump campaign targeted after a narrower-than-expected Clinton win in 2016, Biden holds a 6-point lead.
As Biden heads to the Peach State, Trump is attempting to lock down support in red areas he won four years ago. On Tuesday night he will visit Omaha, Neb., attempting to boost his chances in the state’s Second Congressional District, which is worth one vote in the Electoral College. He won the district by 2 points in 2016.
The Omaha media market also includes a chunk of western Iowa, another Republican-leaning state where Trump may be in trouble. The current polling average in Iowa shows Biden up by less than a point. In 2016, Trump won Iowa by nearly 10 points.
Polling indicates that Iowa also has a competitive Senate race, with incumbent Republican Sen. Joni Ernst effectively neck-and-neck with Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield.
Trump is spending Monday holding three events in Pennsylvania, a state he won by just 44,000 votes in 2016. To start the week, Biden visited a field office and voter activation center in Chester, Pa., just outside Philadelphia.
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