Biden makes late push to paint Georgia blue one week before election

Trump playing defense in state won by Republicans in presidential elections for quarter century

With one week to go until Election Day on Nov. 3 and the latest polls in Georgia indicating a tight race between Joe Biden and President Trump, the Democratic presidential nominee is making his first general election stop in the longtime red state that has become a crucial battleground.

A day ahead of his Tuesday visit, the former vice president said he has "a fighting chance" to win Georgia.

Biden’s trip comes four days after running mate Sen. Kamala Harris campaigned in Atlanta – the state’s largest city and its capital.

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“The whole state of Georgia is so important,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee stressed.

"It's important in terms of, you know, the people of Georgia deserve to have a president who sees them and cares about them," Harris, D-Calif., emphasized as she courted Black voters. "Georgia has been so hard hit by the pandemic you're looking at, you know, almost half, nationally, almost half of Black businesses will be permanently closed because of the failure of this administration to address the pandemic."

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during a campaign event at Morehouse College, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during a campaign event at Morehouse College, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Southerner Bill Clinton in 1992 was the last Democrat to carry Georgia in a presidential election.

Republican President George W. Bush won the state by double digits in the 2000 and 2004 elections. But thanks in part to changing demographics, Georgia tightened and Trump captured the state’s 16 electoral votes by just 5 points in the 2016 presidential election.

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An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll conducted by the University of Georgia released on Monday indicates the race all knotted up – with Biden at 47% support among likely Peach State voters and Trump at 46%.

Another new survey – from New York Times/Siena College – showed the two major party nominees deadlocked at 45%, with other polls released in recent days also pointing to a close contest between Biden and Trump.

“There’s been a demographic change in Georgia,” said M.V. Hood, a political science professor at the University of Georgia and director of the school’s survey research center. But Hood added that another reason for the close contest is plenty of “moderate voters and suburban voters who are turned off by Trump.”

The former vice president’s campaign swing in Georgia comes a day after his wife, former second lady Jill Biden, campaigned in Macon and Savannah. It was her second trip to the state this month.

President Trump and Vice President Pence have made numerous stops in Georgia this summer and autumn. Pence was in the state at the end of last month, to energize conservative evangelicals in suburban Atlanta. And the president held a rally in Macon a week and a half ago.

“I love Georgia,” the president proclaimed. And Trump predicted that “a giant red wave is coming from Atlanta to Augusta, from Savannah to Columbus, and from Marietta to right here in Macon, Georgia.”

President Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Macon, Ga.<br>
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Macon, Ga.<br> (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In another sign of how crucial Georgia has become in the White House race, both campaigns and allied groups are shelling out big bucks to blitz the state with commercials.

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The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee have outspent the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee $8.2 million to $6.9 million to run ads in the state since the end of September. But pro-Trump super PACs have dramatically outspent their pro-Biden counterparts $7.4 million to $3.2 million to run spots over the past 30 days, according to figures provided by Advertising Analytics, a leading ad tracking firm.

“With only 8 days left until the election, both candidates are seeing heavy support in Georgia from outside groups,” Advertising Analytics' John Link highlighted. “This indicates the overall importance of the state.”