Biden raises funds for his reelection campaign in Florida, a territory of Trump


Two of the most recognizable airplanes in the United States shared the same airport on Tuesday in Florida when U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in the state to raise funds for his re-election campaign. Near the presidential plane was the private jet used by Donald Trump, the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination.

This served as a reminder that Biden was in Trump's territory to collect funds for a potential rematch between the two men. The former president's residence in Mar-a-Lago is near the airport and less than an hour from the Pelican Club in Jupiter, the affluent enclave where Biden held his first fundraising event of the day.

"You are the reason Donald Trump is the defeated president," Biden told donors. "And you are the reason we are going to make him lose again."

Biden said that Republicans were determined to undo the progress of his government, such as limiting the cost of insulin and other medications, and accused Trump of "jeopardizing our democracy."

Another fundraising event will take place in Miami later in the evening. Biden has stayed afloat thanks to positive economic news as fears of a recession fade. Now, he is eager to raise campaign money to promote his achievements and face Trump in what is expected to be a challenging and expensive election year.

Biden's campaign and the Democratic National Committee reported raising over $97 million in the last three months of last year.

Florida was once considered a battleground state but has become a Republican stronghold, making it a fertile ground for fundraising but not for electoral votes for the Democratic president.

Although wealthy donors in Florida make it an important stop for Biden, it is unlikely they will lean in his favor come November. Former President Barack Obama won Florida in 2008 and 2012, but Trump won it in 2016 and 2020.

In addition, Republicans defeated Democrats in Florida in the 2022 midterm elections, winning campaigns for governor, the federal Senate, and other statewide positions by around 20 percentage points overall. The voter registration, which favored Democrats by 600,000 nearly a decade ago, now shows Republicans with an 800,000-voter margin.

Florida's rightward shift reflects the arrival of retirees from the central-northern and northeastern parts of the country, who generally vote Republican. It also reflects the political preferences of the state's Latino population, which makes up 18% of the electorate.

The AP's VoteCast survey found that Biden received only 54% of the Latino vote in 2020, well below his national average of 63%. He performed particularly poorly among Cuban-American voters, who make up 5% of Florida voters.

These narrow margins among Latinos also caused Biden to underperform in some of the most populous and affluent counties compared to previous Democratic nominees. For example, Biden won in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties in 2020, but by smaller margins than Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Inflation is also a major challenge in Florida, where residents tend to drive more, and the economy relies on tourism. Although consumer sentiment has improved and inflation has been contained, the rise in prices has had a persistent impact on Biden's approval ratings. The Consumer Price Index in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area increased by 5.7% in December compared to the previous year, compared to the national rate of 3.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton told reporters aboard the presidential plane that Florida's economy had benefited from Biden's policies, claiming that they had generated infrastructure projects and stimulated $9 billion in private sector investments. She noted that Florida's unemployment rate is below the national average at 3%, which was 5.9% when Biden took office.