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Harris to Address Black Sorority       07/24 06:10

   Voters in Indiana haven't backed a Democratic presidential candidate in 
nearly 16 years. But when Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the solidly 
Republican state on Wednesday, she'll speak to a constituency she hopes will 
turn out for her in massive numbers in November: women of color.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Voters in Indiana haven't backed a Democratic 
presidential candidate in nearly 16 years. But when Vice President Kamala 
Harris heads to the solidly Republican state on Wednesday, she'll speak to a 
constituency she hopes will turn out for her in massive numbers in November: 
women of color.

   Just three days after launching her bid for the White House following 
President Joe Biden's departure from the race, Harris will address the biennial 
gathering of the historically Black sorority Zeta Phi Beta in Indianapolis.

   It's a moment for Harris, a woman of Black and South Asian descent, to speak 
to a group already excited by her historic status as the likely Democratic 
nominee and one that her campaign hopes can expand its coalition. In a memo 
released on Wednesday, campaign chair Jen O'Malley Dillon pointed to support 
among female, nonwhite and younger voters as critical to success.

   "Where Vice President Harris goes, grassroots enthusiasm follows," O'Malley 
Dillon wrote. "This campaign will be close, it will be hard fought, but Vice 
President Harris is in a position of strength -- and she's going to win."

   Still, Democrats face challenges as the country is nursing frustrations over 
higher prices following a spike in inflation, while former President Donald 
Trump, the Republican nominee, survived a recent assassination attempt that 
further energized his already loyal base. But the memo was more optimistic than 
the narrow path the campaign saw after the 81-year old Biden delivered a 
disastrous debate performance in June.

   While the campaign will keep emphasizing what it calls its Blue Wall states 
of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to get the needed 270 electoral votes, 
Harris hopes to be competitive in North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.

   Trump has generally run stronger with white voters who do not hold a college 
degree. AP VoteCast, a comprehensive survey of voters and nonvoters that aims 
to tell the story behind election results, found that group composed 43% of all 
voters in 2020 and Trump won them by a margin of 62% to 37%, even though 
overall he lost the election.

   For Democrats, Black women would likely make a fundamental difference in 
November, and Harris has already shown signs of galvanizing their support.

   In the 2020 election, AP VoteCast found that Black women were just 7% of the 
electorate. But 93% of them voted for Biden, helping to give him narrow 
victories in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

   After Harris announced her candidacy, roughly 90,000 women Black women 
logged onto a video call Sunday night for her campaign -- a sudden show of 
support for an alumni of Howard University and sister in the Alpha Kappa Alpha 
sorority who has made Beyonce's song "Freedom" her walk-on music at events.

   Harris will follow her Indiana trip by going to Houston to speak at the 
national convention of the American Federation of Teachers, which endorsed 
Harris' candidacy on Monday.

 
 
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