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Biden campaign staffs up in Georgia

Biden campaign staffs up in Georgia
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Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS US mulling cash payments to help curb migration MORE’s campaign has added five senior staff members in Georgia, a sign the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee intends to contest the traditionally red state that Democrats believe is up for grabs in November.

The Biden campaign announced Tuesday it has hired Tracey Lewis as state director in Georgia. Lewis, the managing director at a woman- and Black-owned political consulting firm in the Peach State, was a senior adviser to Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign.

Former Georgia state Rep. Simone Bell (D) and Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson, who has advised top Georgia Democrats like Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats see opportunity as states push new voting rules Lobbying world Patagonia to donate million to Georgia voting rights groups MORE, will be senior advisers to the Biden campaign.

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Reese McRanie, a former strategist for Bottoms and a fundraiser for former President Obama’s 2012 campaign, will take on the role of deputy state director. Dominick Perkins, a longtime aide to Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.), was named state political director.

The hiring comes as Democrats are increasingly bullish about their chances of turning Georgia blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992.

President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE carried the state by more than 5 percentage points in 2016, but several recent polls have found a close contest.

A Fox News survey released last month found Biden ahead by 2 points, while a more recent poll by the conservative media outlet One America News found Trump ahead by 3 points.

In a phone call with reporters last week, new Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien taunted the Biden campaign, urging them to spend as much money as possible in Georgia. Stepien said the Trump campaign has more than 100 staffers on the ground in a state he said is safely Republican.

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In addition to the presidential race, there are two competitive Senate races in Georgia this year, making it a key state in the battle for control of the upper chamber.

Democrat Jon Ossoff released an internal poll last week showing him in a dead heat with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). The Perdue campaign became embroiled in controversy this week after it removed an ad with an image of Ossoff that appeared to lengthen his nose. Ossoff is Jewish.

Republicans are in a bitter fight of their own in the primary for Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerGeorgia's top election official looks to shake political drama Collins hits Warnock after All-Star Game pulled: 'Thanks for nothing' High anxiety over Trump in Georgia GOP MORE’s seat. Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsCollins hits Warnock after All-Star Game pulled: 'Thanks for nothing' High anxiety over Trump in Georgia GOP Five big takeaways on Georgia's new election law MORE (R-Ga.) leads Loeffler in some polls to finish out retired Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonFive big takeaways on Georgia's new election law Warnock: 'Almost impossible to overstate' importance of voting rights legislation Top Georgia Republican says he won't run for Senate MORE’s (R-Ga.) term. Democrats Matt Lieberman and Raphael Warnock are also in the running.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report recently moved both Georgia Senate races from "likely" Republican to "lean" Republican.