Trump plans to visit Georgia on Friday as polls show tight race

President Donald Trump is scheduled to return to Georgia on Friday, the latest sign he’s playing defense in a state that Republicans have held in every White House contest since 1996.

The president is likely to stage a campaign event in metro Atlanta that promotes the Black Voices for Trump initiative that he launched in Georgia in November, according to multiple officials with direct knowledge of his plans.

It’s part of an effort to undercut Democrat Joe Biden’s standing with Black supporters who form the cornerstone of his coalition in the state.

Trump and other Republicans are on the defensive in Georgia, home this year to two U.S. Senate races and a slate of competitive down-ticket contests. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Tuesday shows Biden and Trump tied at 47% apiece.

The former vice president has increasingly devoted resources to the state. His campaign recently hired more than a dozen staffers and launched a round of TV ads this week in Georgia that focus on his criminal justice policies in a targeted appeal to Black voters.

Unlike Trump, who has little path to victory if he loses Georgia, Biden has multiple routes to the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win if he falters here. The Democrat has focused much of his campaign thus far on the Rust Belt states that Trump flipped in 2016 — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — as well as Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.

Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, has touted its extensive grassroots organization in Georgia and recently rolled out a barrage of new ads 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 holds an edge.

This will be Trump’s 10th visit to Georgia since taking office, and it comes after a July trip to a UPS facility highlighting a transportation initiative. A string of his surrogates have recently stumped in the state, including appearances from his children Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump within the past week.