Biden campaign staffs up in Georgia

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Joe Biden’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 Warren’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 Lewis, will be senior advisers to the Biden campaign.

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 Trump 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.

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 Loeffler’s seat. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) leads Loeffler in some polls to finish out retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’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.

Tags 2020 campaign 2020 elections Atlanta Biden campaign campaign staff Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Doug Collins Elizabeth Warren Georgia Joe Biden John Lewis Johnny Isakson Kelly Loeffler

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