Biden campaign chair: Florida not a battleground state

Biden campaign chair: Florida not a battleground state

President Biden’s reelection campaign Chair Jen O’Malley Dillon ruled out Florida as a battleground state in an interview published on Monday,

O’Malley Dillon told Puck News’s John Heilemann that she viewed North Carolina as a battleground state. But when asked the same about Florida, she said “No.”

Her comments come after Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said the Sunshine State was in play.

“That’s why I’m here now,” Harrison told ABC Action News in Tampa last week. “We’re opening offices. I feel good about the direction that we’re going.”

“And I believe that a November of this year, once again, we’re going to be saying, ‘Florida, Florida, Florida,’” he continued.

The Hill’s Decision Desk HQ polling average shows former President Trump leading Biden in Florida by more than 6 points.

Florida has increasingly been seen as a Republican stronghold in recent years. Former President Trump won the state by just over 1 percent in 2016 and by just over 3 percent in 2020. Republicans further solidified their standing in the state during the 2022 midterm elections, with nearly every statewide GOP candidate winning by comfortable margins and the party expanding its grip on the state Legislature.

But Democrats saw a glimmer of hope in the Sunshine State earlier this year when the state’s Supreme Court issued two rulings on access to abortion, one of which upheld the state’s 15-week abortion ban and another that gave the green light to a ballot measure that would protect access to abortion in the state if passed in November.

In a statement to The Hill, the DNC cited the reaction to the state’s abortion policies as proof the state is still in play.

“With a changing and diverse electorate and with Donald Trump’s overturning of Roe v Wade paving the way for a six-week abortion ban in Florida, Democrats inside and outside of the state know that there is a pathway to victory in Florida,” said Abhi Rahman, deputy communications director at the committee.

“Under Nikki Fried, Florida Democrats are leading in the fight for reproductive rights and are undergoing a resurgence. Recent elections – including in a district that Republicans won handily in 2022 – have swung towards Democrats while Florida’s cost of living surge, happening under Ron Desantis’ watch, continues to damage the livelihoods of Floridians across the state. Floridians know Trump and Desantis’ failures firsthand and Florida Republican MAGA extremism, and are ready to send Trump back to Mar-a-Lago for good in November.”

The Biden campaign also said in a separate statement to The Hill that Florida “is in play.”

“Florida is in play for President Biden and Democrats up and down the ballot. Trump and his out of touch loyalists are taking the state for granted, while their extreme agenda continues to increase costs and rip away Floridians’ freedoms,” said Dan Kannien, the Biden campaign’s battleground states director. “The President has a strong story to tell on the issues that matter most to Floridians, which is why our campaign continues to scale up our presence and investments into the state.”

Both Biden and Vice President Harris have made trips to the state following the news, while Democratic Senate candidate and former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Florida) has taken the issue front and center in her campaign.

Additionally, Biden’s reelection campaign is running ads in Florida and has hosted a number of events across the state.

Updated: 7:39 p.m. ET

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.