Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is making his first trip to Florida today since the coronavirus pandemic shut down campaigning, and he has chosen to stop along the I-4 corridor, long considered a crucial region to win Florida.
What You Need To Know
- Ex-VP and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be in Florida today
- He’ll meet with veterans in Tampa and members of Hispanic community in Kissimmee
- 2020 Elections
His campaign stops Tuesday include a meeting with veterans in Tampa, then in the evening, a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee.
Biden has not been to Florida since last year, when he attended three private fundraisers in May and October. He also was in the Sunshine State for the Democratic presidential debate last June.
President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has made at least 27 trips to Florida since February of last year. His so-called “Winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago, is in South Florida.
In the past few months, Trump has largely visited Florida for official White House trips, not campaign events.
The president has made eight stops in Central Florida in the past year and a half, including a Medicare bill signing in The Villages last year, a massive retirement community that is overwhelmingly pro-Trump.
Biden’s team, meanwhile, says it has been relying on virtual events across Florida and elsewhere amid the pandemic.
But with this being such a key state, many expected him to show up in person at some point.
And it is no coincidence Biden is in the Sunshine State during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Biden is expected to visit Tampa at around 1:30 p.m. for a veterans roundtable, then he’ll be at a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee at about 6:30 p.m.
Both Biden and Trump are now targeting Latino voters in their stump speeches as they travel the country. On Monday in Arizona, the president told Hispanic supporters, “You uplift the communities and promote our shared values of faith and family, community, hard work and patriotism. It’s really an amazing, you’re an amazing group of people. And I love you. And we’re taking care of you, and we’ll never let you down. I will never let you down.”
Political experts said the Latino vote in Florida is complex this election cycle. The Associated Press reports the Latino vote is split down the middle with most Cuban American’s leaning Republican and most immigrants leaning Democratic.
Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration has turned some Hispanic voters away. However, University of South Florida associate dean and sociology professor Elizabeth Aranda said there are also concerns with Biden’s record.
Biden has struggled with Hispanics and Latinos, which stem in part from Obama administration policies that deported around 3 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
“When President Obama was in office and Biden was his vice president, you saw the number of deportations of the number of Latinos go up pretty dramatically, and so Latinos haven’t necessarily forgot about that,” Aranda said.
There are now 32 million Latinos registered to vote in November, a subsection of registered voters that have grown more quickly than even African Americans since 2016.
In battleground states such as Florida, the Latino vote could sway the election depending on voter turnout.