‘No do overs.’ In Democratic bastion, Jill Biden urges Georgians to vote early

Jill Biden speaks in Decatur on Oct. 12, marking her first in-person visit to Georgia since Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

‘If we deliver Georgia, we deliver America.’

At the epicenter of Georgia’s most important Democratic stronghold, Jill Biden urged voters to persevere through long lines and cast their ballots during the three-week early voting period that began Monday.

“I know you’re stretched so thin. But this election is too important not do every single thing we can,” said Biden, marking the first in-person visit to the state for either of the Bidens since her husband won the Democratic nomination. “This is it. This is it, Georgia. There are no do-overs.”

Polls show a deadlock between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden in Georgia, a state Republicans have carried in every White House vote since 1996. Biden’s campaign has snapped up $4 million in TV airtime for the final stretch of the race, a sign of the state’s competitiveness.

ExploreHeavy turnout and glitches mark start of early-voting period

“You have to show up – like you’re doing right now – put your shoulders back and work like we’ve never worked before,” Jill Biden told a crowd of socially-distanced activists and elected officials scattered across a parking lot near the Decatur Square.

“One vote can make the difference between winning and losing a precinct. One precinct could win this state. And one state – this state – could decide our future for generations to come.”

Jill Biden speaks in Decatur on Oct. 12, marking her first in-person visit to Georgia since Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Her visit coincides with the start of an early-voting period that’s more crucial than ever this election cycle, when a still-raging coronavirus pandemic and changing voter habits have reshaped the way people vote. Roughly two-thirds of Georgians plan to cast their ballot by mail or in-person before Nov. 3.

ExploreWhy early voting matters more than ever in Georgia

While Biden has other paths to victory without Georgia in his column, the state is a must-win for Trump’s campaign. He and a string of top surrogates have recently visited the state, and Donald Trump Jr. is headlining events in Savannah and Kennesaw on Monday.

DeKalb County is a linchpin to Biden’s hopes of carrying Georgia. Though the former vice president will easily capture the densely-populated county, he’s aiming to tally up vast margins that could help him withstand lopsided losses in rural parts of the state.

Jill Biden’s decision to stump in downtown Decatur, rather than metro Atlanta’s closely competitive suburbs, spoke to that importance.

DeKalb chief executive Michael Thurmond kicked off the rally with a plea to the crowd, standing in hoola hoops to keep physically separated during the pandemic, to stay energized: “Let’s go get it done."

ExploreGeorgia voter guide

State Rep. Billy Mitchell, one of Biden’s earliest supporters in Georgia, followed up by echoing the Democrat’s mantra that the election is a battle for the soul of the nation.

“If we ever needed decency in government, we need it now,” he said. “Every day now, from here on out, is Election Day. I don’t want to wakeup like I did four years ago and believe I was in a nightmare.”

And Stacey Abrams traced the narrowing statewide margins from 2016, when Trump carried Georgia by 5 percentage points, to her razor-thin defeat two years ago.

“If we deliver Georgia, we deliver America,” she said. “And they will not count us out again.”

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