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Biden visit will break 24-year campaign drought

Warm Springs visit adds historical note

ATLANTA — Democrat Joe Biden will be the first Democratic presidential contender to visit here since Bill Clinton when he visits Georgia Tuesday.  He’ll be in Atlanta and Warm Springs.  

Biden will tug at the history of Warm Springs as part of his itinerary.  It’s home to the rehabilitation center founded by Democrat Franklin Roosevelt 95 years ago – when Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio.  The 32nd president was a regular visitor and died at his cabin here in 1945.  

Bill Clinton visited Atlanta in 1992 and 1996. He attended the '96 Olympics, and paid visits to Manuel's Tavern, among others.  Clinton won Georgia in 1992 but lost to Republican Bob Dole in 1996.  No other Democratic presidential nominee has campaigned in the state after accepting the nomination.  Barack Obama campaigned here in July 2008, prior to the convention. He also visited in June 2012.

RELATED: Joe Biden announces Georgia visit for Tuesday

History will only be part of the story of Biden’s visit. 

 "The fact that Biden is here, that he’s taking his most finite resource – time – to come to Georgia, suggests for the first time that the Biden campaign really thinks Georgia is in the "gettable" category, said Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist.

Warm Springs is in Meriwether County.  It’s a Republican County – but with enough Democratic voters to keep a Democrat like Bob Trammell in the state House of Representatives.

"You would call my district a swing district. You would call Georgia at this point, undeniably, a swing state in the presidential contest," Trammell said.

RELATED: Why is Georgia so important in this year's presidential race?

Democrats think the symbolism of a Biden visit to Warm Springs is important as America deals with its largest-ever public health crisis – and what many might describe as its unhealthy political divisions.

"His visit to Warm Springs is incredibly symbolic. Warm Springs is a place known for its incredible restorative and healing powers," Trammell said.  "We’re in a moment in time where the nation is desperately in need of healing."

President Trump won Meriwether County with 57 percent of the vote in 2016. But Trump got bigger vote totals in neighboring Troup, Coweta and Pike Counties.  Yet, Trump lost Talbot County, just to the south.  

Trammell replaced Stacey Abrams as the House Democratic leader. Trammell said Republicans have spent a million dollars on behalf of his opponent David Jenkins – unheard of in a state House race. 

"I’m confident voters will see through that excessively absurd expenditure. But it also communicates exactly how much Georgia really is in play," Trammell said.

And Biden stumping in mostly Republican rural Georgia may make some sense in a newly-christened swing state. 

 "For Trump, Georgia is truly must-win," Robinson said.  "If Biden is able to collapse Trump’s margins  a little bit in rural counties, that would be a major factor" in the state.

President Trump won Georgia by about 200,000 votes in 2016.  There are two million more registered voters in Georgia now than there were then.

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