WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden begins a three-day campaign swing aimed at cementing his standing in the Sun Belt. This is part of an aggressive attempt to revitalize key parts of his 2020 electoral coalition.

Much of Biden’s time on this week’s trip, which also includes stops in Nevada, Arizona and Texas, will be spent courting the Latino voters who carried his coalition to power in 2020 and his union leaders – and highlight pro-abortion messaging.

Biden’s first stop on Tuesday is Reno, Nevada, where he will meet with local officials and campaign aides in Washoe County before heading to Las Vegas to promote his administration’s housing policies.

He will next travel to Phoenix for another campaign stop in a critical swing county, coupled with an event where he will talk about what he has done to strengthen the computer chip manufacturing sector.

Biden’s push with Latino voters this week is also part of the campaign’s broader effort to create the infrastructure to re-engage diverse constituencies that will be crucial to the president’s re-election. These efforts are even more important as key parts of Biden’s base, such as black and Hispanic adults, are increasingly disillusioned with the president’s performance in office.

In an AP-NORC poll conducted in February, 38% of U.S. adults approved of the way Biden did his job. Nearly 6 in 10 Black adults (58%) agreed, compared to 36% of Hispanic adults. Black adults are more likely to approve of Biden than white and Hispanic adults, but that approval has declined in the three years since Biden took office.

Biden’s reelection campaign, along with allied Democratic groups, has opened offices in Washoe County and certain areas of Las Vegas that aides said will help the campaign appeal to Black, Latino and Asian American voters.

There are already bilingual campaign organizers in Arizona, and the campaign has opened an office in Maryvale, a large Latino community in Phoenix. The campaign has hired more than 40 staff members in Nevada and Arizona.

Campaign officials believe tuned-out voters are beginning to pay attention to the reality of a rematch between Biden and Trump now that the two candidates have secured their respective nominations. Now that the matchup is set, they are trying to jump-start coalition-building efforts in the battleground states, using the energy from Biden’s State of the Union address earlier this month to energize their campaign.

This includes, for example, ensuring that chapters are present across college campuses so students have a place to organize, and that campaign offices are open and stocked with yard signs, campaign literature and other materials. Democrats hope that Trump and the Republicans will have difficulty catching up in key states.

The campaign has already launched Women for Biden-Harris, an initiative led by First Lady Jill Biden to mobilize women voters who were a key part of Biden’s winning coalition in 2020, as well as Students for Biden-Harris. Harris,” who will focus on organizing and activating young voters.

“This isn’t stuff you can just put down. “These are things that need work,” Quentin Fulks, principal deputy campaign manager for the Biden campaign, said in an interview. “It requires training. It’s important to make sure your local volunteers and supporters have everything they need.”

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee laid off dozens of staffers after new leaders closely aligned with Trump took over last week. Those fired include people who worked in the party’s community centers and helped build relationships with minority groups in some Democratic-leaning areas. The committee’s new leadership has since insisted that these centers remain open.

The RNC, already strapped for cash, is also trying to fend off suggestions that it will pay for Trump’s ever-increasing legal fees.

Despite their financial and organizational advantages, the Biden campaign and the broader Democratic Party still face their own problems. In addition to Biden’s weaker job performance numbers, Democrats are seeing lower support from key voter groups during the election campaign. While Biden won 63% of Hispanic voters in 2020, that percentage fell to 57% for Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterm elections, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the national electorate.

Despite the falling approval numbers, campaign officials are confident they will ultimately support the president once the contrast between the president’s agenda and Trump’s plans for a second term is presented to disillusioned members of Biden’s coalition.

“As a Latina, I can say this: We are always late to the party. We like to make a big entrance,” said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. “I think we’ll see that again because when it comes to people making a real decision that matters to their future, the future of their children, the future of their communities, then it’s not a random phone call from an anonymous pollster – I think the Democratic coalition will come home.”

In addition to the campaign stops, the administration is also hosting official events at the White House on issues of particular importance in the two states. In Arizona, Biden will continue to talk about a law he signed to boost domestic computer chip manufacturing, which has already spurred significant private investment in the state, particularly in Phoenix.

And in Nevada, Biden will continue to push a new housing proposal that includes a mortgage relief credit for first-time home buyers and a seller tax credit to encourage homeowners to sell their first homes. According to Zillow, the online real estate marketplace, the housing issue is sure to turn heads in Nevada, where home prices have nearly doubled since the start of 2016.

“As the president has said, the bottom line is: We have to build, build, build,” said Lael Brainard, the director of the White House National Economic Council.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., stressed that Democrats cannot take the state — which has not elected a Republican presidential candidate since 2004 — for granted, even as she dismissed some polls showing Trump with the advantage in Nevada is.

“You have to be there and talk to voters, especially in Nevada,” Cortez Masto said. “It’s still small enough, it’s 3 million people, they expect you to show up, right? It is a swing state. It is very diverse. And people just expect that kind of engagement so they can decide for themselves.”

Biden’s three-day trip ends in Texas, where he will hold three fundraisers in Dallas and Houston.


Associated Press writer Linley Sanders contributed to this report.

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