Saturday July 4th, 2020 2:03AM

Biden turns to Pa. to pitch rebuilding American middle class

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — By picking Pennsylvania for his first campaign speech of the presidential race, Joe Biden is signaling he hopes to own what may be the 2020 election's toughest battleground.

Planting a flag in Pennsylvania makes sense for the longtime former senator from Delaware: He was born in Pennsylvania, has numerous ties to it and is using his deep inroads with influential state party figures to his advantage in the primary.

For Democrats, it's a late primary state that may have little value in the nomination. But Donald Trump's campaign is already mapping out a strategy to win Pennsylvania a second time, and the Republican won't easily cede a state that forms the core of his likeliest path back to 270 electoral votes.

"It is early in the game, but I just think this imperative in 2020 is such that we have to start early," said Pennsylvania's Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who is endorsing the former vice president. Pennsylvania is "so big and it's so consequential that it's going to take time to make the case here."

Biden's planned speech to an organized labor crowd Monday in Pittsburgh comes days after he announced his candidacy and promptly went to a fundraiser in Philadelphia organized by the area's prominent Democrats. In Pittsburgh, he'll receive the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters and speak about rebuilding the middle class.

No other primary candidate is from Pennsylvania, and it will be the last of the delegate-rich states to vote, except perhaps for New Jersey. It's received limited attention from Biden's rivals.

Among those who have come, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each held a well-attended rally in recent weeks, and Sanders made the case for why he can beat Trump in Pennsylvania.

Several others have nibbled around the edges, attending private fundraisers in Philadelphia or doing a low-key meet-and-greet. Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — like Biden — campaigned last year for Casey.

But in the general election, Pennsylvania is tied with Illinois for the nation's fifth-biggest Electoral College prize. And the "blue wall" states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that unexpectedly tipped to Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election may have supplanted Florida and Ohio as the nation's premier presidential battlegrounds.

As Biden prepared to announce his campaign last week, top Trump campaign officials were meeting Pennsylvania's GOP brass two blocks from the state Capitol.

Undoubtedly on their minds is an avalanche of losses, both statewide and in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, since 2016. Their meeting Wednesday emphasized unity, and national officials encouraged the state Republican Party to step up its field and fundraising operation, according to a person familiar with the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe it. Republicans said the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee would soon have similar meetings with other target states.

For Democrats, Pennsylvania is an outsized electoral prize: Harry S. Truman in 1948 was the last Democratic presidential candidate to lose Pennsylvania but win the election, and Trump's victory in the state was a shock to their system.

Trump became the first Republican presidential nominee to win Pennsylvania since 1988, even though he didn't necessarily need Pennsylvania to secure the White House. In any case, Republicans have proved repeatedly they can win the presidency without Pennsylvania, as George W. Bush did twice.

"Clearly Pennsylvania is in the top tier of states that we want to win," said the state's Republican Party chairman, Val DiGiorgio. Trump took the state by less than 1 percentage point, and this time some Republicans are pushing for him to make a strong pitch to Philadelphia and its suburbs, where voters rejected Trump in huge numbers and have since rejected Republicans in historic fashion. "The question is, how do we get suburban voters back into the fold?" DiGiorgio said.

Biden's supporters see in him a candidate who can stanch the massive losses in the rest of Pennsylvania that delivered victory to Trump and flipped some traditionally Democratic counties far from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Biden begins with some advantages, at least among Democrats.

He is backed by influential Philadelphia Democrats who nicknamed him "Pennsylvania's third senator" when they routinely went to him for help that they might not get from the state's two Republican senators.

"He was our senator, we adopted him," quipped Bob Brady, Philadelphia's longtime Democratic Party chairman.

Biden routinely reminds audiences that he was born in northeastern Pennsylvania and spent his boyhood there, a normally Democratic-leaning area where Trump performed particularly well.

In Pittsburgh on Monday, Biden is returning to a city where he has come to be a regular in the Labor Day parade.

"On a national level, nobody has made more visits here than Joe Biden," said Darrin Kelly, president of the Pittsburgh-area branch of the AFL-CIO. "Nobody has called Pittsburgh home more than him."

___

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

___

Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timelywriter

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden turns to Pa. to pitch rebuilding American middle class
Joe Biden is picking Pennsylvania for his 1st campaign speech of the presidential race, signaling hopes to own what could be the 2020 election's toughest battleground
3:19AM ( 10 minutes ago )
GOP's warning of socialism doesn't resonate with many voters
Coloradans give mixed reviews to Republican efforts to cast Democrats as pushing the U.S. toward socialism
3:17AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Church wants more vigorous crackdown on Sri Lankan Islamists
The Catholic church in Sri Lanka says the government should crack down on Islamists with more vigor "as if on war footing" in the aftermath of the Easter bombings
2:59AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden sets his sights on Pennsylvania early in 2020 race
Joe Biden is picking Pennsylvania for his 1st campaign speech of the presidential race, signaling hopes to own what could be the 2020 election's toughest battleground
12:33AM ( 2 hours ago )
Pols debate public workers' loan relief program: Nix or fix?
Political battle is reheating over a federal program that was designed to cancel student loans for certain public workers but has largely failed to deliver that promise
12:32AM ( 2 hours ago )
Are Dems pushing the US toward socialism? Citizens weigh in
A sampling of comments from Coloradans and others on socialism
12:30AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Podemos offers Spain leader desire to form govt
The leader of the United We Can anti-austerity party in Spain says that it has already offered the incumbent prime minister Pedro Sánchez his desire to form a left-wing coalition government
5:49PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: Spain govt official: Socialists win election
Spain's government spokeswoman says the Socialist party has won the country's general election with nearly all votes counted
5:18PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Far-right Vox claims 'historic' result in Spain
Vox general secretary Javier Ortega Smith has told supporters that "today is historic" after of the new far-right party won its first seats in the Spain's parliament
5:02PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Polls close in most of Spain amid divisions
Polls have closed in most of Spain in an election with one of the highest turnout levels in recent years amid division over the role that the far-right could play in influencing the country's politics
2:13PM ( 13 hours ago )
Moulton, an Iraq War veteran, says Trump 'is not a patriot'
An Iraq War veteran who is running for president says President Donald Trump "is not a patriot."
1:58PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: Turnout in Spanish election soars 9% higher
Voter turnout in Spain's general election is over 9% higher than during the 2016 vote, especially in the northeastern region of Catalonia
12:44PM ( 14 hours ago )
General Election News
The Latest: Warren faults Democrats' attention toward unions
Warren says Democrats, unions haven't done enough to protect each other
6:26PM ( 1 day ago )
Democratic presidential candidates pledge to bolster unions
Democratic presidential candidates are pledging to strengthen workers' rights to strike and organize and to work for a $15 federal minimum wage
6:24PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Hickenlooper targets decision against unions
Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper is calling for taking action against a key Supreme Court decision that hobbled unions last year
5:57PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
The Latest: Trump tells NRA grievances about Mueller probe
President Donald Trump is launching his speech to the National Rifle Association with a recitation of grievances about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation
12:45PM ( 2 days ago )
Biden enters Democratic race with strong anti-Trump theme
Former Vice President Joe Biden joins the crowded Democratic presidential contest, declaring the "soul of the nation" at stake
6:11AM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Biden: Charlottesville was epiphany on 2020 run
Former Vice President Joe Biden says the events in Charlottesville were an "epiphany" to him because he had never seen anything like it in his life
6:02AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Biden entry sparks a sharper edge to Democratic race
Biden's entrance triggers new, uglier phase of 2020 Democratic primary season
6:29AM ( 1 day ago )
2020 candidates to pitch working-class credentials to union
A half-dozen Democratic presidential candidates will descend on Las Vegas on Saturday to pitch themselves to one of America's largest unions as champions of workers and kitchen-table issues
6:24AM ( 1 day ago )
Biden reports $6.3 million 1-day haul, biggest in 2020 field
Former Vice President Joe Biden is reporting he raised $6.3 million in the first day of his campaign, the most of any of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in the first 24 hours after their announcements
9:15PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
GOP's warning of socialism doesn't resonate with many voters
Coloradans give mixed reviews to Republican efforts to cast Democrats as pushing the U.S. toward socialism
3:17AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Church wants more vigorous crackdown on Sri Lankan Islamists
The Catholic church in Sri Lanka says the government should crack down on Islamists with more vigor "as if on war footing" in the aftermath of the Easter bombings
2:59AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Indians vote in 4th phase of mammoth national election
Indians are voting in the fourth phase of a staggered national election, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party facing a major test
2:57AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Socialists set to reign in Spain, but not without support
Spain's third parliamentary election in less than four years has done little to dispel uncertainty over the political future of the eurozone's fourth largest economy
2:56AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Afghan leader's grand council risks exposing internal rifts
Afghanistan's president hosts grand council to agree on shared approach to peace talks with the Taliban
2:50AM ( 40 minutes ago )