COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Joe Biden told Floridians on Thursday that they “hold the key” to his effort to replace Donald Trump in the White House.
“Right here in Florida, you hold the key,” the Democratic presidential nominee said during a drive-in rally in Coconut Creek. “Florida goes blue, it’s over. It’s over.”
The former vice president is campaigning again in the crucial battleground state that carries 29 electoral votes.
Biden’s visit to Florida’s most Democratic county comes on the heels of a new Quinnipiac poll that shows him leading Trump 45%-42% in the state. With the margin of error, that’s essentially tied.
“Florida is going to be within 1%, so we’re crossing our fingers,” Biden supporter Edward Leuchs said.
There is also talk in the Trump campaign that Florida is a must-win state for the president to be able to get to 270 electoral votes on Nov. 3.
Trump was campaigning Thursday afternoon in Tampa, hours before Biden headed there.
After first flying into Fort Lauderdale, Biden spoke for about a half-hour to supporters at Broward College’s north campus in Coconut Creek, touching on his major campaign themes — COVID-19, bolstering the middle class, and gun violence.
Biden wore aviator sunglasses as he addressed about 200 cars at the invitation-only event.
He was introduced by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, the parents of Manuel Oliver, one of the students killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Biden thanked them and also Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and ex-NBA player Matt Barnes for speaking at the event.
“Am I allowed to say nice things about the Miami Heat even though I come from Sixers country?" Biden joked. "I apologize for that. But I want to tell you, [the Heat] made it to the Finals full of grit and toughness.”
Biden also noted that Towns “knows what it’s like to deal with this coronavirus,” after Towns' mother Jacqueline died of COVID-19 in April.
Ultimately, Biden urged people to get out and vote.
“Five days left, folks,” Biden said. “Millions of Americans are already voting, millions more are going to vote by the end of this week. And I believe when you use your power, the power to vote, you’re going to change the course of this country for generations to come.”
“At home and abroad, this election is the most important one you’ve ever voted in. Whether it’s your first or tenth, ladies and gentlemen, the heart and soul of this country is at stake.”
Biden had also been in Broward County two weeks earlier, campaigning in Miramar and Pembroke Pines.
Before leaving for Tampa late Thursday afternoon, the ex-VP made a surprise stop in the Sistrunk area of Fort Lauderdale to energize more supporters at an outdoor campaign center. He was joined there by Barnes and Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem.
Through all the excitement about Biden’s visit, local Democrats are being careful not to get too optimistic.
“I’m concerned because I’ve been working the polls every day for about seven hours in Parkland,” Broward voter Ellen Levine said at the Coconut Creek event, “and there definitely is a lot of Biden support there, but there also is a lot of Trump support.”