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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Biden Courts Hispanic Voters in Florida Campaign Stop

Promising to rebuild the economy tattered by the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made a series of stops in South Florida on Monday as the race for the White House heads into the final month.

MIAMI (CN) — Promising to rebuild the economy tattered by the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made a series of stops in South Florida on Monday as the race for the White House heads into the final month.

Biden’s stop in Miami is the second campaign trip to the state since accepting his party’s nomination for president and comes after President Donald Trump canceled a rally in Central Florida on Friday after testing positive for Covid-19.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to turn this moment of crisis into a moment of progress in this country,” Biden told a small crowd at the Jose Marti Gym in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. “That’s why I have laid out a comprehensive agenda, not just to rebuild our communities, but to build them back, make bold investments into them so we can build back better than before the crisis.”

Biden’s campaign is heavily targeting Hispanics in Florida, who make up a quarter of the state’s population. Last month, the former vice president visited with Puerto Ricans in Central Florida who came to the state after Hurricane Maria hit the island three years ago.

During his speech in Miami, Biden made numerous overtures to the critical voting bloc.

“This pandemic and economic collapse has hit Hispanic communities particularly hard,” Biden said through a mask he kept on throughout the speech. “Essential workers, so many who are Hispanic, who have sacrificed so much to keep us going in this pandemic, are being left behind by the most unequal recovery in modern American history.”

Biden talked positively about immigration and condemned dictators worldwide, including the Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, who is extremely unpopular in South Florida’s Venezuelan expat community.

The former vice president also supported a $15 an hour minimum wage and promised to tackle climate change, an issue that directly affects Miami residents who already experience “King Tide” flooding due to sea level rise.

“This is not some distant future in Miami or South Florida, we’re dealing with it right now,” Biden said. “What do you have to do? Get knocked in the head to understand it?”

After wishing Trump well, the Democratic nominee called on him to mandate masks in all federal buildings.

“Listen to the scientists,” Biden said. “Support masks. Support mask mandates nationwide.”

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign went virtual as the president recovers from his Covid-19 diagnosis. Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s family will begin in-person campaigning later this week after a series of virtual events in the run-up to the vice presidential debate on Oct. 7.

Florida is a must-win battleground state for Trump, who changed his residency from New York to the Sunshine State late last year. The president narrowly won Florida in 2016 by less than 1% of the vote.

Earlier in the day, Florida Republican Party chairman Joe Gruters said the Trump campaign was a “well-oiled machine” and moving along even while the president is in the hospital.

“The RNC, the Trump Victory team and the Republican Party of Florida have been working together in a streamlined manner, really since 2016,” Gruters told reporters during a press call.

A series of polls released over the weekend show Biden with a slight lead over Trump in Florida.

A Florida Chamber of Commerce survey found Biden leading Trump by 5%. A New York Times/Siena College poll showed 47% of likely Florida voters support Biden and 42% favor Trump.

Biden will stay in Miami on Tuesday night for a town hall event with a group of undecided voters. That slice of the electorate is increasingly slim.

Monday marks the last day to register to vote in Florida. Already, supervisors of elections have sent out 4.78 million mail-in ballots — 2.1 million to registered Democrats and 1.5 million to Republicans.

Of those, 571,872 Floridians have already voted by mail with more than twice the number of Democrats as Republicans returning the ballots.

Follow @alexbpickett
Categories / Politics, Regional

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