Biden, Harris to launch Black voter outreach campaign in Philadelphia Wednesday

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the 2024 race to the White House ramping up, President Biden will travel to Pennsylvania on Wednesday for another campaign event in Philadelphia.

On his latest stop in the Keystone State, Mr. Biden will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris. The president and vice president will appear at Girard College in Fairmount to launch their “Black Voters for Biden-Harris” initiative.

“Today, Team Biden-Harris is launching Black Voters for Biden-Harris, a national organizing program to bolster our continued historic investments in outreach to the backbone of the Biden-Harris coalition – Black voters,” the Biden campaign said in a statement. These voters were instrumental in electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in 2020, paving the way for the Biden-Harris Administration to deliver a record low Black unemployment rate, Black wealth increased by 60%, more Black Americans with health care coverage than ever before, and billions forgiven in student loan debt that disproportionately impacts Black borrowers. Now, these same voters will be critical to defeating [former President Donald] Trump’s racist and toxic agenda at the ballot box – again.”

Mr. Biden also plans to visit a Black-owned small business in the city following the event at Girard College, where he’ll meet with local business owners to “continue discussions around this administration’s commitment to increasing Black wealth.

Timing and traffic impacts of Biden’s visit

Mr. Biden is set to land at Philadelphia International Airport around 12:55 p.m., where Mayor Cherelle Parker is scheduled to greet him. He’ll then travel to Girard College, located in the city’s Fairmount section, for remarks scheduled to begin around 1:30 p.m.

Mr. Biden is scheduled to depart from PHL at 4:45 p.m., so the evening commute along I-95 south could be impacted by delays.

Initiative aimed at mobilizing Black voters

According to the Biden team, the Black Voters for Biden-Harris campaign involves an eight-figure investment in programming with Black community groups and student and faith-based organizations in battleground states and across the country.

Throughout the summer, the coalition will work to increase outreach to Black voters, work to improve voter education and registration and according to the campaign, “safeguard the Black vote from continued MAGA attacks.

“This coalition and the newly announced summer outreach and engagement programming serve as the next phase of our campaign’s ongoing historic investments in outreach to the backbone of the Biden-Harris coalition – Black voter,” deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks said in part in a statement. “While we are busy putting in the work to earn Black America’s support – Donald Trump continues to show just how ignorant he is. Hosting janky rap concerts to hide the fact that he lacks the resources and competence to genuinely engage our community.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of Black voters went for Mr. Biden in 2020, compared to 8% of those who voted for Trump.

The Black Voters for Biden-Harris launch is the latest move by the Democratic incumbent to court Black voters. Earlier this month, Mr. Biden delivered the commencement address at Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta, before traveling to Detroit to meet with Black business owners and address the NAACP’s “Fight for Freedom Fund” dinner.

In a March CBS News poll in Georgia, 82% of Black voters said they’d vote for Mr. Biden, compared to 88% in a 2020 exit poll. In an April CBS News poll in Michigan, Mr. Biden got support from 77% of Black voters, with other third party options on the ballot. 

Biden and Harris making frequent visits to Pennsylvania

The president has already made multiple visits to Pennsylvania this year, most recently in April when he spent three days crisscrossing the commonwealth for appearances in Pittsburgh, Scranton and Philadelphia.

While in Philly on April 18, Biden was endorsed by members of the Kennedy family during an event at the Martin Luther King Jr. Rec Center.

Harris has also been to Pennsylvania several times this campaign season. On May 21, the vice president was the keynote speaker at the SEIU International Convention. Earlier in the month, the vice president appeared alongside actress Sheryl Lee Ralph in Montgomery County for a discussion on abortion access and women’s health care.

In April, a CBS News poll found Mr. Biden and Trump were locked in a close race in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, all of which have proven to be key battleground states.

After trading criticism back and forth in speeches and on social media, Biden and Trump agreed to meet for two debates before the November election, first on June 27 and then again on Sept. 10.

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