President Joe Biden Campaign Chair Admits Florida Isn’t a 2024 Battleground State in Candid Moment

In a new interview, President Joe Biden’s campaign chair appeared to wave the white flag early in Florida. Jen O’Malley Dillon said the country’s third-most populous state isn’t a battleground in 2024. 

When asked by Puck’s John Heilemann on his podcast if the campaign considered Florida a battleground state, she replied, “No.”

Heilemann joked he feared Dillon was “going to lie” and thanked her for being candid.

The remark contradicts rhetoric from other leading Dems and even Biden, who told Tampa supporters in April, “Florida’s in play, nationally.”

“I think the campaign’s job is to keep as many battleground states in play for as long as possible so that we can navigate any flexibility in the race,” said Dillon on “Impolitic with John Heilemann,” released on Friday.

Dillon told Heilemann she looked at North Carolina as a battleground and agreed that Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada were top campaign targets. Biden won all states except North Carolina in 2020 on the way to defeating Trump.

Dillon also managed Biden’s 2020 campaign, but it appeared she was conceding Florida this time.

Florida has long been one of the country’s most hotly contested battlegrounds. Former President Donald Trump narrowly won Florida in 2016 over Hillary Clinton and then won by a more substantial margin in 2020 over Biden. 

Additional proof the state had gone from purple to red came when GOP Governor Ron DeSantis was re-elected by a landslide in 2022, following a tight race in 2018.

Republican Senator Rick Scott’s 2018 election gave Florida two Republican U.S. Senators for the first time since Reconstruction. GOP Senator Marco Rubio additionally sailed to re-election in 2022 over his Dem challenger.

Florida’s size makes it one of the most costly states in the country to campaign and advertise in; however, its 30 electoral votes are a substantial prize for the victor.

Dillon’s interview drew significant attention and some anger

Dillon’s interview drew considerable attention, and at least one far-left commentator was angry she appeared to be giving up on Florida.

Kevin Cate, former spokesperson for Barack Obama, fumed on X, “Writing Florida off through a paywalled Puck News article while @FloridaForBiden staff are on the ground organizing here is not great. Not many staffers, consultants, or organizers are in a position to say it, but this was such an unnecessary, demoralizing gut punch.”

The Hill additionally noted that Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison had just participated in an interview with a local ABC affiliate in which he remained bullish on Florida despite poor voter registration indicators and recent major results in elections where Democrats were thumped.

“Florida is in play,” said Harrison to ABC Action News last week. “That’s why I am here right now.”

Florida has long been considered one of the most critical battleground states in presidential elections. From 1964 to 2016, the winner of the state went on to win the White House in every election but 1992. The trend halted in 2020, when Trump won Florida and lost the general election to Biden.

The last Democrat who won Florida in a presidential election was Barack Obama in 2012 when he beat Mitt Romney by less than a point.

Dan Kanninen, the Biden campaign’s battleground states director, said Florida is “in play for President Biden and Democrats up and down the ballot.”

“Trump and his out-of-touch loyalists are taking the state for granted while their extreme agenda continues to increase costs and rip away Floridians’ freedoms,” said Kanninen.