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Joe Biden to make first visit to Florida as Democratic nominee

Biden’s trip will follow running mate Sen. Kamala Harris' trip to Miami tomorrow.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden meets with union leaders outside at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden meets with union leaders outside at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) [ CAROLYN KASTER | AP ]
Published Sep. 9, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Florida on Tuesday, his first visit to the Sunshine State since he officially became the Democratic nominee for president last month.

The campaign did not yet have details on where Biden will land. But when he touches down here, it will be the second time in less than a week that Florida will serve as the backdrop for the Democratic ticket. Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff are scheduled to swing through the Miami area on Thursday.

With less than two months until the election, both Biden and President Donald Trump are intensifying their pursuit of Florida’s 29 electoral college votes. In addition to Harris' visit, Biden’s wife, former second lady Jill Biden, recently met virtually with college students in Pasco County, and his campaign has bombarded the airwaves with ads about Social Security and Medicare, Trump’s past statements about the military and the administration’s coronavirus response.

Trump, meanwhile, visited Jupiter on Tuesday to ceremoniously sign an executive order that banned drilling in the Gulf of Mexico through 2022. The event, though an official White House visit, had all the pomp and flare of a campaign rally. He and Vice President Mike Pence swung through the Tampa Bay area in August as well.

The focus on Florida, the country’s largest swing state, will only sharpen with polls indicating a tightening race between Trump and Biden here. After the recent conventions, the Tampa Bay Times polling average shows Biden’s lead dropping at 4.8 points, down from 6.8 earlier this summer. The figure is a simple average of five recent polls from unique pollsters.

Biden has not made a public appearance in Florida since before the coronavirus pandemic. The public health crisis that has killed about 190,000 people in the U.S. has also derailed the presidential campaign, forcing both candidates to engage in fewer in-person rallies and more digital events. In May, Biden relaunched his campaign with a virtual rally targeted to supporters in Tampa and his team has attempted similar outreach events in the months since.