Biden picks Philadelphia for 2020 campaign headquarters

Move comes before Saturday rally

By Eric Bradner, CNN
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Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally at Teamsters Local 249 Union Hall April 29, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

(CNN) - Former Vice President Joe Biden will base his presidential campaign in Philadelphia -- a move that highlights his personal ties to Pennsylvania and showcases the state's importance in the 2020 race.

Biden's campaign announced the long-expected decision in a statement Thursday, two days before a major rally planned for Saturday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Pennsylvania is among the most important swing states in the 2020 election. With 20 electoral votes, it was part of a "blue wall" essential to Democrats winning presidential elections. But in 2016, Donald Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton there -- as well as in Wisconsin and Michigan -- positioning the three states as potentially the most important battlegrounds of the 2020 election.

Biden held his first rally as a candidate in Pittsburgh. And on Monday, on the heels of Biden's first major speech, Trump will visit Montoursville, in north-central Pennsylvania.

The state also carries personal weight with the Scranton-born Biden: He represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate, but has long been closely connected with Philadelphia. After the vice presidency, he launched the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.

"We're proud to anchor our campaign in the birthplace of American democracy," Greg Schultz, Biden's campaign manager, said in a statement. "Philadelphia is a thriving city and a testament to the American spirit, built by the ingenuity and tenacity of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. Its storied history and celebrated diversity will serve as an inspiration for Team Biden, and is the ideal setting to continue our fight for the soul of this nation."

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