The Democrat also announced that he will not reveal his running partner until August.
FLORIDA — Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced Monday key staff hires to run his 2020 presidential campaign in Florida, the nation’s largest swing state with 29 electoral votes and a must-win for Trump’s reelection effort, something that becomes more evident as November gets closer.
On Friday, for example, FiveThirtyEight.com showed Biden leading Trump 49.0% to 42.7% in Florida, an advantage of 6 percentage points for the Democratic hopeful.
When taking into account that the margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election in Florida was 112,911 ballots, these numbers become significantly important. And with Latinos making up 20.5 of eligible voters in the state, according to the Pew Research Center, the Hispanic vote could potentially swing the election.
A Democrat Dream Team
But despite this apparent advantage over the incumbent, Biden seems not to be taking any chances and has gone to the “tried and true” for his campaign staff.
Jackie Lee retains her position as Florida state director. The founding partner of JLee Strategies in Orlando previously led Biden’s Florida campaign ahead of the March 17 Democratic primary, when he bested Democratic rival Bernie Sanders. She also served on the Florida leadership team for former President Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
Brandon Thompson, a former national campaign staffer for California Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential bid, has been hired as Coordinated Director for Biden’s Florida team. Thompson, who worked on President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in Central Florida and is a former campaign director for Organizing Together 2020 Florida, is tasked with coordinating operations with the Democratic National Committee and the Florida Democratic Party.
Making a Push for the Latino Vote?
The Biden campaign has been criticizedfor its lack of a focused and concerted Latino outreach strategy. In fact, so far it shown “little or no activity” in the Hispanic community, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson told Politico. This could be due to the former vice president’s connection to the Obama administration’s aggressive deportation policy, which he now calls “a big mistake.”
In an effort to reach Hispanic voters, the Biden campaign has tapped Florida Democratic Party (FDP) Executive Director Juan Peñalosa, a veteran Democratic communications strategist who has increased statewide Democratic voter registration margins, as well as the Democratic Party’s vote-by-mail enrollment advantage over Republicans to 400,000 voters.
To reach the diverse Latino population in the Sunshine State, which has a majority of Cubans and Venezuelans in South Florida, and Puerto Ricans in Central Florida, “Peñalosa and party staffers have customized talking points to reach different Latino communities,” reported the Associated Press.
In a Spanish language TV ad for Biden, for example, the narrator had a Cuban accent for the version that aired in Miami, a Puerto Rican accent for Orlando, and a Mexican accent in Phoenix, Arizona.
Another Florida strategist, former Organizing Together 2020 political director Karen Andre, a senior adviser to former Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, is also onboard for the Biden campaign.
A Decisive Decision
Thirty-five percent of Democrats questioned in a USA Today/Suffolk University survey said it was “very important” to them that Biden choose a woman of color as his running mate on his bid for the White House, while 37 percent said it was “somewhat important.” Twenty-six percent opined that it was “not very” or “not important” at all.
But after the former vice president announced in March that he would name a woman as his running mate, the names of several possible contenders have repeatedly come up, with Sen. Kamala Harris of California, former Orlando police chief Rep. Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Georgia House leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President Obama Susan Rice, emerging as likely candidates for the post.
Thirty-five percent of Democrats polled said they would be “excited” if Kamala Harris was named as the vice presidential nominee, with 28 percent choosing Abrams. At the same time, 27 percent said they would approve if progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is white, was named the running mate.
However, in recent days Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth has emerged as a top contender for the vice-presidential candidacy. Of Thai and Chinese descent, Duckworth is a veteran of the Iraq war and a Purple Heart recipient.
On Tuesday, Biden told reporters during a news conference that he has a list of “women of color” for consideration.
“There are Latino women. There are Asian. There are — [women] across the board,” Biden said, adding that his team is currently in the process of conducting deep background checks, and for this reason, his decision will likely not be announced until August.