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President Joe Biden visits Dallas and Houston for fundraisers

By Alejandra Martinez, The Texas Tribune

President Joe Biden visits Dallas and Houston for fundraisers” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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President Joe Biden is back in Texas on Wednesday for a pair of private campaign receptions and fundraising events.

The Democratic president, who is seeking reelection in November, is scheduled to attend two fundraisers in Dallas on Wednesday and one in Houston on Thursday, as part of a sweep in the West to mobilize voters.

He landed in Dallas around 5:40 p.m., 20 minutes after his expected arrival and was greeted by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. The president headed straight to his car to one of the two private fundraising events being held today.

One of Biden’s Dallas events will be hosted by Dallas-based trial lawyer Russell Budd and others according to an invitation. Budd hosted Biden’s first primary campaign fundraiser in Texas in 2019.

It is Biden’s second trip to Dallas this year and seventh to Texas since taking office. The president’s last trip to Dallas was in January to pay his respects and attend the funeral of retired U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Dallas Democrat, who died Dec. 31 at age 89.

His most recent trip to Texas was late last month to Brownsville, where he toured part of the U.S.-Mexico border. In South Texas, he received a briefing from officials with the Department of Homeland Security and made a push for Congress to approve the bipartisan immigration bill which has been abandoned by the House. That same day his Republican opponent Donald Trump was in Eagle Pass, another border town.

This visit to North Texas is part of a travel campaign since Biden delivered his State of the Union address earlier this month, but also comes as the courts go back-and-forth over whether Texas can enforce a new immigration law.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court permitted a law allowing Texas police to arrest people suspected of illegally crossing the Texas-Mexico border, but hours after a federal appeals court halted the state law by the high court.

“After his border crisis opened the floodgates to deadly fentanyl and migrant crime across the country, Joe Biden tried and failed to sue Texas for enforcing immigration laws. Rather than showing up with solutions, he now looks to use Texas to fill his campaign coffers, and voters are taking note,” Republican National Committee Chair Michael Whatley said in a statement about Biden’s visit.

Before making his way to Texas, Biden made trips to battleground states like Wisconsin and Michigan. Earlier this week he stopped in Nevada and Arizona where he tried to win support from Latino voters and launched “Latinos con Biden-Harris,” or Latinos with Biden-Harris. The campaign is aimed to engage Latinos, who were critical to Biden’s election in 2020. According to AP VoteCast, a survey of the national electorate, Biden’s Hispanic vote base has shrunk. In 2020 Biden won 63% of Hispanic voters, but in the 2022 midterms Hispanic support for Democratic candidates decreased to 57%.

The new Latino campaign rolled out ads in English, Spanish and blended both languages for Spanglish messaging. U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, is the campaign’s co-chair and in an announcement video she explained the key role Latinos will play in the campaign.

Escobar said Trump has demonized Latinos, and encouraged them to support Biden. Biden is emphasizing his support of labor union rights, pro-abortion rights and his efforts to cut housing costs to court Latino voters.

Texas has been a difficult state for Biden and is not expected to be a battleground in the presidential race. A Democrat hasn’t won Texas since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Among Latinos, Trump has found support among evangelicals and those focused on border security.

“When you’re talking about the Latino vote, it lives in the heart of the Lone Star State,” said Antonio Arellano, vice president of communications at NextGen America, the country’s largest youth vote mobilization platform.

Arellano said Biden is not taking Texas for granted, but there’s untapped potential in courting Latino catholic voters. Joe Biden is the second Catholic president in U.S. history, after John F. Kennedy.

“We have a very strong Catholic community, particularly in South Texas,” Arellano said.

He added that he’d like to see another visit to Texas from the Biden campaign to court Catholic voters, because it would “resonate deeply with those communities that have been yearning for leadership that reflects and understands their way of thinking and their values.”

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