Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska Jeff Daniels narrates new Biden campaign ad for Michigan MORE plans to air 90-minute radio programs on gospel stations across the country this weekend urging Black voters to head to the polls in a final sprint of early voting before Tuesday’s elections.
The Biden campaign will pay about $109,000 to air the programs on 29 radio stations in seven states, according to sources watching the advertising market. The programs are set to air in Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Democrats typically run Souls to the Polls programs aimed at Black churches in the final weekends before a November election, when some of the party’s most loyal voters crowd onto buses and head en masse to polling places near their houses of worship.
Those programs look different this year because of the pandemic, which has fallen disproportionately on Black and Brown Americans. The radio play is a way to reach those voters even if they cannot attend church in person on Sunday.
A similar Souls to the Polls program aired on 65 stations last weekend, featuring actress Meagan Good, producer DeVon Franklin, and guests including Mary J. Blige, Samuel L. Jackson, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsSunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Atlanta school board committee recommends renaming Henry W. Grady High School after Ida B. Wells COVID-19 — is everyone receiving the benefits of urban parks equally? MORE and basketball legend Magic Johnson. Vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden pushes into Trump territory The Hill’s Campaign Report: One week from Election Day | Biden looks to expand map | Trump trails narrowly in Florida, Arizona The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands MORE (D-Calif.) gave opening remarks.
A Biden campaign spokesman did not have any details to add about what the programs would feature.
But Biden, more than most Democratic candidates, owes his success to Black voters. After stumbling badly in the first three contests in the 2020 primary, he won big in South Carolina, on the strength of his support among Black voters and aided by a key endorsement from Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
Days later, Biden used that win to steamroll through the rest of the Democratic field on Super Tuesday.
Early voting data shows African American voters are turning out in droves to vote early, just as in previous years. More than 5.4 million Black voters have cast a ballot so far this year, up from about 3 million at this point in the 2016 contest, according to TargetSmart Consulting, a Democratic firm tracking the early vote.
In several states including Texas and Georgia, the number of older Black voters who have cast a ballot already exceeds the total number who voted in 2016, including on Election Day.
More than 3.3 million Black voters over the age of 50 have already cast a ballot. About 357,000 Black voters have cast their first-ever ballots this year, and another 1.1 million African Americans who cast ballots infrequently have voted.