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Biden campaign launches a trio of new faith ads targeted at evangelical and Catholic voters

The seven-figure ad buy includes two 30-second television spots that will run on Catholic and evangelical programs.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a community event at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sept. 3, 2020. The future handling of the coronavirus pandemic is near the top of the agenda for the Biden administration. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(RNS) — Joe Biden’s campaign is launching three new ads this month targeted at religious voters, broadcasting messages that focus on the former vice president’s faith in hopes of winning over Catholics and evangelical Christians.

“We are running these ads to highlight to faith-motivated voters that Joe Biden is the clear moral choice in this election,” Josh Dickson, the Biden campaign’s faith engagement director, told Religion News Service in a statement. “Religious voters matter to this campaign and are a key part of our broad, diverse, and robust coalition.”  

The seven-figure ad buy includes two 30-second television spots that will run on Catholic and evangelical programs. The first is called “Principles” and features Biden in conversation with the Rev. Matt Malone, editor-in-chief of America magazine, a Catholic publication.

“My father would say (that) the cardinal sin of all sins is the abuse of power, whether it’s a man raising his hand to a woman, whether it is the government abusing its power, basic essential elements of what constitutes Catholicism,” Biden says in the ad.

The second ad, titled “Morning,” is geared toward evangelical Christian television programs. It details how Biden’s faith has given him strength during times of grief, such as after the death of his first wife and daughter and after losing his son Beau to cancer.

The ad closes with footage of Biden in a church reading from the Book of Psalms, saying, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

The third ad, which will run on Christian radio stations, features a member of Biden’s Catholic parish describing when she saw Biden in Mass and insisting she believes him to be a “man guided by faith.”

“You can tell how important Joe’s faith is to him,” the parishioner, Bernadette, says in the minute-long segment.

Officials said they also plan to run radio ads on gospel stations geared toward African American Christians.

The ads are slated to run in 14 states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“These ads are one component of our expansive, direct appeal to people of faith that Vice President Biden’s agenda is much more aligned with their common good values than the divisiveness, racism, and fear we see from the current administration,” Dickson said.

The faith-focused media push highlights the Biden campaign’s increasingly aggressive efforts to reach faithful voters. The former vice president has spoken at numerous religious events, such as the Progressive National Baptist Convention and a gathering of the faith-based anti-poverty group the Poor People’s Campaign. The Democratic National Convention was filled with religious references and dedicated an entire segment to discussing Biden’s faith.

Biden also spoke at an online summit for Muslim Americans in July, his campaign announced the endorsement of hundreds of faith leaders in August, and his staff has escalated outreach to Jewish voters in recent weeks. 

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