Biden seeks to revitalize diverse coalition in critical 2024 campaign toward the West

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Las Vegas

President Joe Biden is taking his re-election bid to a pair of disputed Western states this week, heads to Nevada and Arizona to reinforce support in key states it seeks to defend against former President Donald Trump in November.

Biden’s speech will focus on efforts to improve housing costs and create clean energy jobs and manufacturing while showing Americans that their policies are working for them. He will also use the trip to highlight the first organizing efforts in these two states that the campaign believes will be “pivotal” to electoral victory.

The president is also seeking to appeal to Latinos, who make up a sizable portion of voters in Arizona and Nevada, as his predecessor has sought to make inroads in a community that has long been key to the Democratic coalition. Biden launched the “Latinos with Biden-Harris” campaign organizing initiative during a visit to south Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday night.

While the president bested former President Donald Trump in both Nevada and Arizona in 2020, The first polls indicate his path to victory. in these Western swing states may be a challenge this year. Nevada is expected to be a close race, and in Arizona, Fox News survey of the state reflected a slight lead for Trump over Biden, who has also been hampered by low approval ratings across the country.

But Biden’s team hopes that a number of issues – including reproductive rights and arguments about democracy – could work in their favor against Trump, especially among moderate voters.

Arizona and Nevada could see abortion rights provisions on their state ballots this November, which the campaign believes will be key to its organizing and could galvanize women and moderate voters.

“Nevada and Arizona residents are gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that gives voters the opportunity to protect abortion access in their state constitutions in 2024. Nevada is one of the most pro-choice states in the nation. And the vast majority of Arizonans also support abortion access,” said Dan Kanninen, key states director for the Biden campaign.

Along with issues like job creation and union protection, the campaign also plans to make the battle for democracy a key point of its argument in these states.

“Issues of democracy are particularly important and priority in both states. Trump’s allies in Arizona launched their infamous election audits after his 2020 loss. The state Republican Party in Nevada is literally run by Trump’s accused fake electors. “Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans have come together to defeat far-right candidates in these states who have rejected Trump’s lies,” Kanninen said.

Victory in both states will require activating Biden’s 2020 coalition and mobilizing new voters. The campaign is targeting diverse voters in both states, including AAPI, Latino, Black, Indigenous, youth and women voters, Kanninen said, and Biden also hopes to enlist the support of union workers.

In a pair of interviews with Spanish-language media broadcast Tuesday, Biden criticized his predecessor’s comments about immigrants and Latinos.

“This guy (Trump) despises Latinos; I understand Latino values,” he said. “You know, we just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, I hope you’re not offended if I say this, but you know, the thing about the Irish that came here is that it’s about family, it’s about faith, it’s about decency , and that is exactly what the Latino community is about,” Biden told Univision’s “El Bueno, La Mala y El Feo.”

He added: “Latinos were essential to my victory in 2020, and they are essential again, working hard to earn your vote. The first advertising campaign ever conducted to communicate directly with Latino voters about what we have done, in English and Spanish. The campaign is being organized on the ground in our Latino communities.”

The Sun Belt tour is part of the Biden campaign’s March month of action, building on what his team considered a successful State of the Union address with trips to all the battleground states. Senior campaign advisers have argued that the western states – along with the so-called blue wall and two southern states – will be key in his path to 270 electoral votes.

“Across the Southwest, Donald Trump and his extreme MAGA agenda have taken over the Republican Party establishment, causing deep divisions among traditional GOP voters and an opening for Democrats that has increasingly become a trend,” wrote Julie Chávez Rodríguez, Biden’s campaign manager, in a memo.

In the weeks since the State of the Union, Biden has traveled to Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, along with New Hampshire, and the president and Vice President Kamala Harris plan to visit North Carolina, a state the campaign sees as a possible upturn. opportunity, next week.

This comes as the campaign is also expanding its battlefield operations, including expanding its physical presence with more than 100 new offices and 350 new team members, including 40 in Nevada and Arizona, according to Chávez Rodríguez’s memo .

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

President Joe Biden arrives at a campaign event at El Portal restaurant on Tuesday in Phoenix.

In a first stop in the Reno, Nevada, area, Biden met with local leaders and campaign volunteers in Washoe County, which Kanninen said is a “key swing county that has been critical to Democrats’ victories in recent cycles.” ”.

biden traveled On Tuesday he headed to Las Vegas for a stop where he highlighted his plan to combat rising housing costs and called on Congress to pass legislation that the White House says will help unlock the housing market for buyers. housing for the first time and will improve affordability for renters. There is a shortage of affordable rental housing available for extremely low-income renters in the state. according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“For many people, the dream of having a good home still seems out of reach. I get it,” the president told an audience, many of whom were wearing union T-shirts, at a community center in Las Vegas. “As more people move to Nevada in search of good-paying jobs, we need housing that is affordable.”

In making his speech, Biden described his proposals – many of which require congressional action – in digestible terms.

“Nevada is the perfect place to lay out the president’s State of the Union housing goals and housing agenda,” said Gene Sperling, Biden’s senior adviser, because it is a state that benefited from the housing provisions in the package. of Covid aid approved in 2021, but there is also much more need.

To that end, Biden has proposed $258 billion in real estate investments in the budget you presented to Congress earlier this month. Calls on Congress to approve a mortgage relief credit for middle-class first-time homebuyers of $10,000 over two years, proposes new policies and rules to reduce closing costs, and offers tax credits and a competitive grant fund to build more affordable housing.

And for renters, Biden is calling on federal agencies to fight excessive rent increases by corporate landlords, cracking down on rental rates, and calling on Congress to expand housing choice vouchers to more than 100,000 to more than 500,000 homes.

“People are tired of being made fools of, and I’m tired of being made fools of,” he said to applause in Las Vegas.

Many of the provisions requiring congressional approval could face an uphill battle with a divided Congress in an election year, although a senior administration official told reporters that the policies are “incredibly bipartisan” at the state level.

Later Tuesday he arrived in Phoenix, where he gave a speech at a local Mexican restaurant to kick off the “Latinos for Biden-Harris” campaign initiative. The organizing effort, which will include online and in-person training and messaging for Latino supporters, comes as the campaign is working to boost bilingual organizers and open offices in areas with Latino communities.

“You are the reason I, in large part, beat Donald Trump. …Kamala and I desperately need his help,” Biden said at the restaurant. “Because look, there are only about six or seven states that will determine the outcome of this election, they are battleground states, and this is one of them.”

The president will also deliver remarks on his “Investing in America” agenda in the Phoenix area on Wednesday. The event is expected to include a major funding announcement related to the CHIPS and Science Act, a source familiar with the plans said, as the president looks to boost chip manufacturing in the United States.

Biden’s trip this week will also fill his campaign fund: The president is expected to participate in fundraising events in Dallas and Houston, days after the campaign announced he would bring 53 million dollars in Februarya sign of growing donor interest as Biden maintains a significant monetary lead over Trump.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.

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