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Biden campaign chair: Florida not a battleground state

Jen O’Malley Dillon, President Biden’s reelection campaign chair, argued in an interview published Monday that Florida is not a battleground state.

O’Malley Dillon said Pack News John Heilman said she considers North Carolina a battleground state, but when asked the same about Florida she said “no.”

Her comments came after Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison said Florida was at stake.

“And that’s why I’m here now.” HarrisonHe told ABC Action News“We’re opening an office. We feel good about the direction we’re heading,” he said in Tampa last week.

“And I believe this November we’ll be saying ‘Florida, Florida, Florida’ again,” he continued.

The Hill’s Decision Desk polling average shows former President Trump leading Biden by more than six points in Florida.

In recent years, Florida has often been seen as a Republican stronghold. Former President Trump won the state by just over 1% of the vote in 2016 and just over 3% in 2020. Republicans further consolidated their position in the state in the 2022 midterm elections, with nearly all of their Republican candidates in the state winning by large margins and the party expanding its influence in the state Legislature.

But Democrats found a ray of hope in the Sunshine State earlier this year when the state Supreme Court handed down two rulings on abortion access: one upholding the state’s 15-week abortion ban and the other approving a ballot measure that would protect abortion access in the state if passed in November.

In a statement to The Hill, the DNC said the reaction to state abortion policies is proof states still have influence.

“With a changing and diverse electorate and Donald Trump paving the way for a six-week abortion ban in Florida by overturning Roe v. Wade, Democrats both in and out of the state know they have a path to victory in Florida,” said Avi Rahman, the committee’s deputy communications director.

“Under Nikki Fried, the Florida Democratic Party is leading the fight for reproductive rights and enjoying a resurgence. Recent elections have seen Democrats gain advantages, including in districts that Republicans could easily win in 2022. Meanwhile, Florida’s rising cost of living under Ron DeSantis’ watch continues to hurt the lives of Floridians across the state. Floridians know firsthand the failures of Trump and DeSantis and the MAGA extremism of the Florida Republican Party, and they are ready to send Trump back to Mar-a-Lago for good in November.”

In a separate statement to The Hill, the Biden campaign said Florida is also “on the table.”

“Florida is a top-to-bottom battleground for President Biden and the Democratic Party. Trump and his unrealistic supporters have taken Florida for granted, but their extreme policies continue to drive up costs and diminish freedoms for Floridians,” said Dan Kannien, battleground states director for the Biden campaign. “The president is telling a powerful story on the issues that matter most to Floridians, which is why our campaign will continue to expand our presence and investment in Florida.”

Biden and Vice President Harris have visited the state following the news, while Democratic Senate candidate and former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell of Florida has put the issue at the forefront of her campaign.

Additionally, Biden’s reelection campaign has been running ads in Florida and hosting numerous events in the state.

Update: 7:39pm ET

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