PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s no shock to political insiders that Joe Biden would pick western Pennsylvania to help kick off his presidential campaign.
Biden knows he must reconstruct the Obama coalition to include two groups President Trump won in 2016.
“They’re the blue collar western Pennsylvania white voters that drifted off to Trump three years ago and … it makes sense that he would try to appeal to bring them back,” said Nello Giorgetti, a local Democratic political strategist.
Giorgetti says minorities and white liberals are not enough to defeat Trump in 2020.
“There aren’t enough. There aren’t enough. That’s the base. You need more than the base,” Giorgetti told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Besides the base, the Democratic candidate for president has two target groups in this region, says Giorgetti.
First, white suburban Republican women.
“These are folks who were not necessarily comfortable with Trump’s personal life but were willing to vote for him partly because they didn’t like Hillary,” Giorgetti said.
And then the white blue collar males, many union members, that a moderate Democrat like Conor Lamb attracted in his special election with Joe Biden’s support.
“I think it’s no coincidence that Joe Biden came out for Conor Lamb in his special election, came to western Pennsylvania,” Giorgetti said. “[He] has an appeal to those white blue collar working class folks.”
Biden will need all those voters, plus the base of African-Americans and white liberals, to win primaries and the general election.
Many of the 2020 candidates are expected to drop by this region in the coming year.
But Pennsylvania’s primary election next April is so late in the process that the Democratic nominee could already be decided by then.
Biden’s advance team was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and no changes yet on his planned trip Monday afternoon.
President Trump is also not taking the state for granted.
His campaign team met Wednesday in Harrisburg with Republican leaders to plan his reelection efforts here, too.
The road to the White House clearly runs through Pennsylvania – and Pittsburgh.