Left Menu
Development News Edition

Biden campaign to start in-person voter outreach as U.S. election nears

Some of Biden's Democratic allies have expressed concern the campaign has been too cautious about getting boots on the ground for voter mobilization in the states that will decide the Nov. 3 election. The campaign had put safety first in light of the pandemic, choosing to forgo door-knocking in favor of remote contacts even though President Donald Trump's campaign has been running an extensive in-person effort.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 02-10-2020 02:52 IST | Created: 02-10-2020 02:50 IST
Biden campaign to start in-person voter outreach as U.S. election nears
Joe Biden (File photo) Image Credit: ANI

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign said on Thursday it would launch an in-person voter-canvassing operation in several battleground states, shifting tactics in the final weeks of a race upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Some of Biden's Democratic allies have expressed concern the campaign has been too cautious about getting boots on the ground for voter mobilization in the states that will decide the Nov. 3 election.

The campaign had put safety first in light of the pandemic, choosing to forgo door-knocking in favor of remote contacts even though President Donald Trump's campaign has been running an extensive in-person effort. But in coming days, the Biden team will send several hundred volunteers to Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania to focus on contacting voters who may be difficult to reach by phone or computer, with plans to expand the effort to more states ahead of the election.

"We're now expanding on our strategy in a targeted way that puts the safety of communities first and foremost and helps us mobilize voters who are harder to reach by phone now that we're in the final stretch," said Biden's campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, who had dismissed criticism of Democratic field organizing. Democratic allies worried the lack of an in-person ground game could be a misstep given the close margins in several battleground states that helped the Republican Trump narrowly defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

"Trump's running a full-blown get-out-the-damn-vote operation and the Democrats are doing a virtual get-out-the-vote effort by Zoom," said Brad Crone, an independent political consultant in North Carolina. "There's a world of difference." Some Biden supporters in Florida – a huge prize with 29 electoral votes – also have been uneasy about the campaign's quiet presence there, particularly with recent polling in the state showing Trump making gains with crucial Latino voting groups. On his first campaign trip of the year to the state last month, Biden barely interacted with voters.

"We need to door-knock," said Jose Parra, a Florida-based strategist who heads the Hispanic-focused communications group Prospero Latino. "Even if it only manages to move 10,000 votes, that could be the difference in a state as close as Florida." Both Florida and North Carolina are among states that will see an expanded voter-canvassing operation in coming weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

RAMPING UP SCHEDULE The Biden campaign maintained that its remote outreach was engaging voters and had already resumed dropping pamphlets at homes.

Biden has consistently led Trump in national opinion polls, although the race is closer in the battleground states. Other indicators show Biden and Democrats generating momentum as voters begin to cast early and mail-in ballots. A Reuters/Ipsos poll in late September found 82% of registered Democrats and 81% of registered Republicans were "completely certain" they would vote, eliminating a traditional enthusiasm gap favoring Republicans.

Spurred by opposition to Trump, a record-breaking surge of fundraising by Biden has also buoyed Democratic hopes for November. In August, Biden and the national Democratic Party outraised Trump and the Republicans by $364.5 million to $210 million, translating into a blitz of television advertising. Biden has begun to crank up his campaign schedule. The former vice president last week made his first trip of the general election to North Carolina, where polls show a dead heat with Trump, who racked up five visits there in a month's time between late August and late September.

Biden and his wife, Jill, took a train trip through Ohio and western Pennsylvania on Wednesday after the debate in Cleveland, the kind of multi-stop battleground-state tour that some of his backers had pushed. Trump's campaign, which for months has knocked on doors and hosted large rallies, often over the objections of local elected officials and public health experts, said its rival's efforts were too little, too late.

"You can't just parachute in a month before the election and hope to make up ground," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Venezuelan opposition politician Lopez arrives in Madrid, Spain says

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez arrived in Madrid on Sunday, Spains foreign ministry said, after spending the past year at the Spanish ambassadors residence in Venezuela to escape house arrest.Lopez, in a series of tweets ea...

Israel to start human trials of COVID vaccine on Nov 1

Israel Institute for Biological Research IIBR will start human clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate Brilife from November 1 after receiving all necessary approvals from the Ministry of Health and the Helsinki Committee, the Isr...

Lithuanian centre-right opposition claims victory in general election

Lithuanias main centre-right opposition Homeland Union party said it won the general election and will begin forming a new government with two smaller liberal parties, which together have a majority vote in the 141-seat parliament. At this ...

UPDATE 1-U.S. says humanitarian ceasefire to take effect on Monday in Nagorno-Karabakh

A humanitarian ceasefire will take effect Monday morning in the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, a joint statement from the U.S. State Department and the two governments said on Sunda...

Give Feedback