VP Harris to return to Atlanta as second-term bid heats up

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Days after President Joe Biden launched his reelection bid, Vice President Kamala Harris announced plans to return to Georgia in a sign of the battleground state’s importance to the Democrat’s campaign for a second term.

Harris will headline the Democratic Party of Georgia’s annual Spring Soiree fundraiser on May 12, officials said.

It’s her second visit to the state in about a month, after she trekked to Georgia in early April to announce a $2.5 billion expansion of the Qcells solar panel plant in Dalton. In February, she spoke to Georgia Tech students about federal efforts to curb climate change.

Both parties see Georgia as one of the most competitive states on the 2024 political map. Gov. Brian Kemp and other Republicans view Georgia and its trove of 16 electoral votes as a must win for whoever emerges as their party’s nominee, while Democrats hope to repeat their recent success in the state.

Biden topped then-President Donald Trump in Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes in 2020, making him the first Democrat to win the state since 1992.

Since then, a durable bloc of swing voters has helped Democrats score victories in U.S. Senate races that sealed the party’s control of the chamber even as Kemp and other Republicans swept the rest of the statewide ticket.

Harris’ visit is only the latest marker of Georgia’s role in the upcoming campaign. Biden’s launch video Tuesday included several references to the state, and his campaign this week began airing a volley of ads in Atlanta.

Despite middling support in polls, senior Democrats and activists have rallied behind Biden as the party’s best hope of preventing a Trump comeback. DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond labeled the president “Trump kryptonite.”

Polls in Georgia and in other competitive states show Biden’s approval rating well below 50%, with many voters citing the 80-year-old’s age as a concern. He and his allies have tried to dispel those concerns by pointing to an agenda that includes massive federal infrastructure, health care and climate change initiatives.