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Politics

Biden fundraising in Florida fuels doubts over 2024 strategy

By Jake Beardslee · January 30, 2024

In brief…

  • Biden visiting Florida for fundraising but has no public events planned except brief airport remarks
  • More Democratic surrogates should visit Florida to keep it competitive, state Democrats say
  • Biden won in 2020 but his chances look worse in Florida for 2024
President Biden is visiting Florida briefly for fundraising but his lack of public events raises questions about whether Democrats view it as a 2024 battleground.  Joe Biden: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (source: Joe Biden); User:TDKR Chicago 101 (clipping)Donald Trump: Shealah Craighead (source: White House)–°ombination: krassotkin/Wikimedia

President Joe Biden is making a brief visit to Florida on Tuesday, but he has no public events scheduled other than speaking to the media at a Palm Beach airport. Biden’s trip is focused on fundraising, with high-dollar events planned in Palm Beach and Miami where tickets are selling for up to $250,000. This raises questions about Biden’s strategy in Florida, a crucial swing state that Democrats have not won at the presidential level since 2012.

A national Democratic operative said anonymously that Florida is no longer a true battleground, Politico reported. “It’s the nation’s ATM,” the person said. “Democrats are going to go there to raise money - as they should.” The campaign will then “invest it in states that are actually competitive, unlike Florida.” Biden’s chances look worse than in 2020 given Republican gains in voter registration and Governor Ron DeSantis’ strong performance in 2022.

Latino voters could also be a problem for Biden in Florida. A recent poll showed Trump winning Latinos nationally by 5 points against Biden, reflecting downward trends in other polls. Democratic strategists raised concerns about disinformation targeting Latino voters in 2020 and 2022. As Joshua Karp said, “We’re not going to win that fight if we don’t compete in the densest Latino media environment in the country.”

Biden has visited Florida six times as president, including surveying hurricane damage after Ian. Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Merrick Garland have also recently been to Florida. State Democrats still see hope, citing some 2022 local election wins. Miami-Dade Democratic Chair Robert Dempster said more surrogate visits would help. “If you don’t, the money will get spent over the same swing states the Democrats won last time,” he said.