Democrats are turning out at lower rates than Republicans in Florida’s largest county, Miami-Dade, after Democratic nominee Joe Biden‘s campaign pared down field operations because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Campaign operatives told Politico that door-to-door efforts to persuade voters to jump on the Biden bandwagon were at a standstill and without funding — despite record-breaking fundraising hauls by the campaign — for months leading up to the final stretch before Election Day.
“We did not get the kind of funding for different vendors who would do that type of work until late in the campaign,” Rep. Frederica Wilson, who represents Miami’s heavily Black congressional district, told Politico.
In Miami-Dade, 152,964 registered Republicans cast early ballots, leading Democratic voters, 146,371 of whom turned out early to the polls, according to state data on Friday.
Meanwhile, Democrats who mailed in their ballots in the county nearly doubled that of Republicans, 208,803 to 116,040.
Of particular importance to Biden’s success are votes from young people and Black and Hispanic Americans. Miami-Dade has a high concentration of Cuban Americans, another crucial voting bloc that Biden needs to clinch.
To make up for the lag in voter-canvassing efforts in the region, Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, is hosting an event this weekend to rally young Black men to vote while the NAACP is getting involved in Black churches, which are planning “Souls to the Polls” events on Sunday, according to Politico.
Florida — the nation’s largest swing state — is considered a must-win for either candidate hoping to sail to victory on Nov. 3.
Biden and President Trump held dueling rallies Thursday to drum up support days before the election, with Trump hosting a Make America Great Again Rally in Hillsborough County in Tampa, while Biden appealed to voters in deep blue Broward County, which boasts 310,000 mostly Democratic Black voters.
Although Black voter turnout is up statewide, pockets of the state have seen lower turnout from Black Democrats than their Republican counterparts.
In Broward County, 45% of Black voters had cast their ballot as of Wednesday, compared with 57% of Black voters who voted early or by mail in 2016, according to a Hawkfish analysis for the Miami Herald.
“We’re seeing some gaps in young Black voter turnout,” Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of BlackPAC, told the Herald. ”The top five counties with the largest number of Black voters have some under-performance. In Broward and Duval, it’s off by a percentage point… In Miami Dade, it’s off by 5 percentage points. There’s a lot of work to do.”
A Monmouth poll puts Biden ahead of Trump by 6 percentage points this week in Florida.