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Biden campaign launches Seniors for Biden-Harris to reach older Pennsylvania voters

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Biden campaign launches Seniors for Biden-Harris to reach older Pennsylvania voters

Jun 11, 2024 | 6:30 am ET
By Kim Lyons
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Biden campaign launches Seniors for Biden-Harris to reach older Pennsylvania voters
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President Joe Biden greets attendees after speaking at a campaign event on April 16, 2024 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. President Biden, who grew up in Scranton, will be in Pennsylvania for three straight days of campaigning. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is launching an outreach initiative for senior voters in Pennsylvania, as the candidates for president try to woo this huge segment of the state’s electorate. 

Seniors for Biden-Harris has events scheduled in three Pennsylvania cities over the next week; in Lancaster, Scranton and Philadelphia, where the campaign will spotlight the Biden administration’s policies that benefited senior citizens, such as reducing costs of prescription drugs, capping insulin prices for seniors at $35, and pushing for Social Security and Medicare. 

During his March 7 State of the Union address, Biden said he would seek to prevent any attempts to reduce entitlement programs. “If anyone here tries to cut Social Security or Medicare, or raise the retirement age, I will stop you,” he said.

Seniors for Biden Harris will also focus on what presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has said about what he would do if elected to another term in office. 

For example, Trump said during a March 11 interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box show “there is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting, and in terms of also the theft and the bad management of entitlements,” when asked how he would approach Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. 

Earlier in the 2024 campaign, Trump renewed his calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying  Republicans should “never give up” trying to overturn the 2010 health care law, and calling it a “catastrophe.” Trump later said in an April video post he was “not running to terminate” the ACA.

The senior vote is one that presidential candidates must win in Pennsylvania, the state with one of the largest senior populations among 2024 battlegrounds. Bloomberg reported Biden’s campaign has been courting senior voters by organizing bingo games in key states and running TV ads during shows with large senior viewing audiences, such as the Price is Right.

“The over 10 million seniors across battleground states are a force to be reckoned with and will be essential to our work to reelect President Biden – a leader who knows that being president is about the American people, not himself,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement.

The campaign plans “senior-focused events” across the country as part of the seniors initiative, including a pickleball tournament in Virginia, a pancake breakfast in Georgia, bingo in Arizona, and a phone bank with second gentleman Douglas Emhoff in New Hampshire.

In Pennsylvania, the campaign plans a press conference in Philadelphia with former U.S. Rep. Bob Brady on Thursday, a roundtable in Scranton with former Mayor Jim Connors on Friday and an event in Lancaster next Monday with state Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster), which will include an organizing event with local retirement communities.

A March Quinnipiac University poll showed Biden leading Trump  53% to 45% with Americans 65 and older. Among voters between 50 and 64, however, Trump edged out Biden, 54% to 41%.

A May 7 AARP Pennsylvania election survey  found 80% of voters 50 and over considered a candidate’s position on Social Security the most important, followed by Medicare (73%), helping people stay in their homes as they age (69%), and the cost of prescription drugs (67%).

The candidates, both senior citizens themselves, are set to meet for the first of three debates on June 27.

Biden beat Trump in Pennsylvania in 2020 by just over 80,000 votes.

Update: This article was updated at 7:45 a.m. June 11, 2024 with additional details from the campaign.