Joe Biden’s new Georgia ad volley courts Black men

The Democrat hopes to avoid a drop-off in Black male voters

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign will launch a new round of TV ads in Georgia this week focused on his criminal justice policies in a targeted appeal to Black men who are critical to his hopes of flipping the battleground state.

The 60-second “Shop Talk” ad features several Black men discussing in a barber shop the Democrat’s plans to abolish private prisons and get rid of cash bail. In a separate 30-second spot, the same group praises Biden’s selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running-mate.

The ads, which are set to debut Tuesday, are part of a TV expansion to offer multiple paths for Biden to win the presidency if he falters against President Donald Trump in top-tier battleground states such as Arizona and Florida. Along with Georgia, a new round of ads is also airing in Iowa.

The volley comes a week after Trump’s campaign rolled out a barrage of new ads in Georgia and other competitive states that aim to shift the focus of his re-election bid from law-and-order policies to the economy, one of the issues where polls show the Republican with an edge.

Exit polls show Trump won only 8% of Black voters in 2016, and Biden is expected to easily win the demographic in November. While Black women are the backbone of the state Democratic party, surveys show Black men aren’t as loyal as a voting bloc in recent statewide races.

Biden is trying to recapture the excitement that generated record-setting Black turnout in 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama was on the ballot – and avoid the dropoff that contributed to Hillary Clinton’s loss four years ago.

Pew Research estimated that nearly two-thirds of eligible black women voted in the 2016 election, while 54% of eligible Black men said they cast a ballot in that race. Strategists worry that a repeat of that trend could cost the Democrat in close states.

Polls show a tight race between Biden and Trump in Georgia, and the Democrat’s campaign has forced the president to play defense in a state that Republicans have carried in every White House race since 1996. Still, Georgia hasn’t attracted the same sort of resources or attention as other battleground states that Biden and Trump have more intensely targeted.

Though the president hasn’t visited Georgia since July, a string of his surrogates have stumped around the state, including a visit planned Monday by his daughter Ivanka Trump to tout a recent crackdown on human trafficking.

Here are the ads: