Why Biden Thinks He Has A Shot Now At Winning Florida

Trump won the Sunshine State's 29 Electoral College votes in 2020. But Biden's campaign thinks a critical ballot measure puts the state in play for Democrats.

Florida may no longer be a lost cause for Joe Biden and Democrats in 2024.

After losing the once-perennial swing state to Donald Trump in 2020, Biden’s campaign seems encouraged by this month’s Florida Supreme Court ruling that upheld a six-week abortion ban while also giving voters the chance to effectively decide whether to undo the measure in November.

“The last time there was an abortion referendum on the ballot in 2012, President Obama won the state,” Michael Tyler, communications director for the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris campaign, told reporters Monday. “So with our enormous financial advantage, the Biden-Harris campaign can afford to invest in many paths to victory, and that includes Florida.”

The campaign’s remarks previewed its thinking ahead of a speech the president is giving Tuesday in Tampa on “reproductive rights.” (Biden has shied away from using the term “abortion” as president, instead cloaking an issue that’s central to his reelection campaign in the language of reproductive freedom.)

“The entire point of tomorrow’s trip is for the president to forcefully advocate for reproductive freedom and call out Donald Trump’s abortion bans, as he’s been doing since Roe was overturned,” Tyler said.

Joe Biden's campaign is betting on Florida, where the president will deliver remarks on abortion rights this week.
Joe Biden's campaign is betting on Florida, where the president will deliver remarks on abortion rights this week.
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Florida’s high court on April 1 cleared the way for an unpopular and ultra-restrictive abortion ban to take effect at the end of the month. But it also greenlighted a measure for the November ballot that could allow voters to effectively reverse the ban and codify abortion rights in the state constitution — which Democrats are betting will energize their base and independent voters in what’s expected to be a challenging reelection campaign for Biden.

The campaign noted that voters have overwhelmingly turned out in support of abortion rights in states as conservative as Kansas and Ohio since the fall of Roe v. Wade. Tyler said the campaign is also optimistic about similar measures likely to appear on the ballot in Arizona and Nevada.

The campaign did not offer a dollar amount for what it’s planning to spend in the Sunshine State — although the campaign has cash to burn. Biden has $155 million on hand to spend against Trump over the next seven months.

And though Florida has gone red in recent elections, its trove of Electoral College votes may be too significant for Biden to overlook.

“We take Florida very seriously. The idea that Donald Trump has the state in the bag could not be further from the truth,” Tyler said.

Trump won Florida in 2016 and 2020. That was after Democrat Barack Obama flipped the state in 2008 and narrowly carried it with his reelection in 2012 — the year Florida voters rejected a ballot measure that would have inserted language in the state constitution to prohibit the use of public funds for abortions.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Biden’s visit to his home state while he’s tied up in court in New York City.

In recent weeks, Trump — who has previously claimed credit for nominating the conservative justices who helped overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022 — has moderated his stance on abortion rights, saying it’s a state issue and declaring his support for rape and incest exceptions.

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