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Biden Aims to Defend Nevada, Arizona in Western Campaign Swing

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden is ramping up efforts to win back the western battleground states of Arizona and Nevada, with visits designed to shore up support from voters who backed him in 2020 and have since drifted.

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Biden’s trip this week will include appeals to voters of color and union workers, as well as stops in the Reno and Phoenix areas that will burnish his economic policies, campaign aides said. He’ll also raise money at a trio of Texas fundraisers in an effort to extend his cash advantage over Republican Donald Trump.

“As we enter the general election, we have multiple clear paths to victory through a number of critical swing states,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a memo released Monday, adding that Nevada and Arizona make up part of a key route back to the White House.

The president’s trip is part of a post-State of the Union travel blitz aimed at breathing new life into his reelection campaign, as polls show him trailing Trump. Biden’s team is working to reassemble the coalition that elected him four years ago and defend key swing states.

Since his national address, Biden has visited Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — the three Rust Belt battlegrounds that make up the so-called “Blue Wall” for Democratic presidential candidates. This week’s trip is Biden’s second western swing in the past six weeks.

The president must make up ground against his predecessor there, especially in Nevada, to improve his chances of winning in November. Nevada has become a core state for Democratic presidential candidates. No Republican nominee has won it since President George W. Bush in 2004. Biden was the first Democrat to win Arizona since 1996.

Biden won more than six in 10 of Nevada’s Hispanic voters and 80% of the Black vote in 2020, according to exit polls. He trails Trump 48% to 42% in a hypothetical rematch in the state, according to a February Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll. In Arizona, Biden trails Trump 49% to 43%.

During Biden’s February visit to Nevada, he campaigned at a historically Black neighborhood in an attempt to win back voters who helped him carry the state in 2020. He also met with union voters at a Las Vegas hotel. Trump has looked to cut into Biden’s support among both groups in this year’s campaign.

Polls show that Black, Latino and young voters have soured on Biden as they say they’re squeezed by higher prices and progress has stalled on key priorities like voting rights, immigration and student-debt relief.

Biden’s campaign raised $53 million last month, boosting his war chest to $155 million. Campaign aides said that money has allowed them to open offices in North, East and Southwest Las Vegas, as well as Washoe County, Nevada, in addition to Maryvale, Arizona, a predominantly Latino community in Phoenix.

Trump has yet to report his latest fundraising numbers but last month spent more than he brought in, and the Republican National Committee has laid off staff.

The president is expected to drive home his messages on democracy, immigration and reproductive rights at this week’s campaign events, aides said. Biden’s team has looked to draw contrasts with Trump on all three, raising his effort to overturn the 2020 election, exact retribution on his opponents, appoint Supreme Court justices who overturned nationwide abortion rights and rally Republicans to kill a bipartisan border security bill.

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