SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Both Georgia and South Carolina hope to add Vice President Joe Biden as a supporter of efforts to deepen the harbors to their busiest seaports. But neither state will be able to claim any favoritism.
Biden has scheduled back-to-back visits Monday to the rival ports of Savannah and Charleston, where he's expected to speak on growing American jobs by investing in ports. Both Savannah and Charleston are among East Coast ports scrambling for funding to deepen their harbors to make room for larger cargo ships.
Bernard Groseclose, former chief executive of the South Carolina State Ports Authority, says it's likely no coincidence Biden is visiting both ports on the same day given the competitive -- and sometimes combative -- history between the shipping rivals.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has become the point man for Savannah's port project. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and other leading Republicans have relied on Reed's influence with Democrats to put Savannah on the president's radar.
There's something in it for Atlanta. The mayor has been pushing to increase air cargo at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and says that combining the cargo with more room for large ships in Savannah will make Georgia the logistics hub of the Western Hemisphere.
Deal has made a deeper port the state's top economic priority.