MIAMI – Joe Biden is in Miami for the first time as the Democratic presidential nominee Monday, campaigning for votes that could be crucial to his election in the swing state of Florida.
After landing before 2:30 p.m., his first stop was at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.
“There’s no quit in America. Well, there’s clearly no quit in the Haitian community. There is none,” Biden told an audience wearing masks. “And I promise you there’ll be no quit in my part as your president making sure the Haitian community has an even shot to get back on its feet and move in the direction to be able to realize its incredible, incredible potential.”
Biden then visited the Jose Marti Gym in Little Havana before a town hall event at the Pérez Art Museum later tonight. His wife, Jill Biden, is on the trip and will be campaigning in Boca Raton on Monday night.
The former vice president’s trip comes on the last day to register to vote in Florida.
And it comes to a specific location key to securing Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
“The current polls show that Biden is ahead by anywhere from a half percent to about 3-4% here in Florida. So it’s a soft lead,” said Charles Zelden, a professor of political science at Nova Southeastern University. “And the key element to Biden winning — or any democrat winning — is to run up the numbers in South Florida. They’ve got to win big in South Florida, because they’re going to lose big in the panhandle and probably southwest Florida.”
Zelden said a high turnout of Haitian-American voters — “a constituency that generally feels a little left out sometimes in politics” — could offset the anticipated losses for Biden in Miami-Dade County with Cuban-American voters.
“The Cuban vote has always been more conservative and Republican than other Latin constituents,” Zelden said.
Paul Christian Namphy, a Haitians for Biden supporter, said: “If there are two issues that most clearly define our situation today, it is the issue of COVID and the issue of immigration.”
Biden addressed the coronavirus at his stop in Little Havana, shortly before President Donald Trump was scheduled to leave a Washington-area military hospital where he’s been treated for COVID-19.
“Since the president went into the hospital on Friday ... more than 100,000 more people have been diagnosed with COVID,” Biden said. “I hope the president’s recovery is swift and successful, but our nation’s COVID crisis is far, far from over. Today my prayers are with the 210,000 Americans who died from the virus.”
As for immigration, Biden said that his stance on temporary protected status is clear: “This is not the time to lift it,” he said. “This is not the time to end it.”
This is Biden’s first trip to South Florida since becoming the Democratic presidential nominee. Last month he visited Tampa and Central Florida.
Trump rallied Latino supporters in South Florida during a Sept. 25 visit to Doral.
I also spoke w/ @CharlesZelden re: #Biden strategy with first stop in #LittleHaiti. A high turnout with #HaitianAmerican voters (“a constituency that generally feels a little left out sometimes in politics”) he said, could negate anticipated losses with #CubaAmerican vote. ▶️ pic.twitter.com/KfNDEpbR9r— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) October 5, 2020