First lady Jill Biden visits Atlanta to launch ‘Women for Biden’ initiative

First lady Jill Biden speaks to supporters Friday at Studio House Atlanta, a female-owned event and working space. Biden traveled to Georgia to launch "Women for Biden-Harris," a national organizing program to reach and mobilize women across the country to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  (Jason Getz / jason.getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

First lady Jill Biden speaks to supporters Friday at Studio House Atlanta, a female-owned event and working space. Biden traveled to Georgia to launch "Women for Biden-Harris," a national organizing program to reach and mobilize women across the country to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. (Jason Getz / jason.getz@ajc.com)

Four years ago, Georgia voted in favor of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes, helping cement the former vice president’s path to the nation’s highest office.

On the first day of Women’s History Month, first lady Jill Biden visited Atlanta on a rainy Friday to thank female voters in the state for their contributions to his campaign’s victory and to launch “Women for Biden-Harris,” a national organizing program intended to motivate women across the country to vote for President Biden and encourage their friends and family members to follow.

“It’s no accident that Georgia is where we’ve chosen to launch Women for Biden because four years ago, Georgia, you put us in the White House,” Jill Biden said at Studio House Atlanta, a female-owned event and working space. “That’s why I wanted to start here, in the place that lifted us over the top.”

In another sign of the state’s importance to Joe Biden’s campaign, the White House announced that the president will stump in metro Atlanta on March 9, although it didn’t release any other details.

Female voters are among those the Biden-Harris campaign is most eager to court.

They have been pivotal to both the president’s coalition and victories for Democrats nationwide. Black women in particular — who represent a large sector of Georgia’s voting body — proved their most staunch supporters, with 93% casting a ballot in their favor in the 2020 presidential election, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate.

The first lady’s visit, though, comes as her husband’s approval ratings have waned, and he faces a fractured base, including some Democratic voters in Michigan angry over the administration’s stance on Israel’s war against Hamas who encouraged voters to mark “uncommitted” this week on primary ballots.

With Georgia’s presidential primary on March 12, the campaign is keen to secure the support of suburban women, once reliably conservative voters who have moved toward more liberal candidates in recent years. For example, exit polls showed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams won 51% of the vote in 2018 among suburban women — 5 points more than Hillary Clinton in her presidential campaign in 2016. That group, which includes many college-educated women who have begun to favor Democrats, also unseated Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District in 2018.

Among these groups, the Biden campaign sees an opportunity. According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in January, 46.2% of women said they would vote for Biden compared with 26.4% of men.

First lady Jill Biden talks Friday to Sarah Pierre, left, at her store 3 Parks Wine in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward. Biden traveled to Georgia to launch Women for Biden-Harris, a national organizing program to reach and mobilize women across the country to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  (Jason Getz / jason.getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz

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Credit: Jason Getz

During her remarks Friday, Jill Biden touted a list of her husband’s accomplishments benefiting women, including efforts to expand access to contraceptives following the repeal of Roe v. Wade and efforts to make child care more affordable. She also trumpeted the president’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to ascend to the role.

And she noted how she watched the president draft the language for his Violence Against Women Act, which punishes those who commit domestic violence, “on reams of yellow legal paper by hand.”

“We know what’s at stake,” she said. “I’ve been so proud of how Joe has placed women at the center of his agenda.”

She sharply contrasted Biden’s record with that of his opponent, former President Donald Trump, who she said has “spent a lifetime tearing us down and devaluing our existence.”

“He mocks women’s bodies, disrespects our accomplishments and brags about assault,” she said.

“How far will he go?” she asked. “Too far,” the crowd shouted back.

“When will he stop?” she said. “You know the answer: He won’t.”

Biden asked attendees to get involved in campaign efforts by making phone calls and knocking on doors to talk to voters about the importance of the November election.

“Our daughters’ futures are at stake, and our country and its freedom hangs in the balance,” she said. “We are immovable and unstoppable.”

Following her speech, Biden shook hands with voters and visited 3 Parks Wine, a female-owned shop in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, where she sampled a few drinks and took home bottles of red and white wine.