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Joe Biden attends a virtual town hall event with Oprah Winfrey at The Queen theater in Delaware. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden's team is spending tens of millions of dollars on a national digital ad campaign in the final days before Election Day — but highlighting a plethora of voters from Pennsylvania in particular, underscoring how critically important the state is.

Why it matters: Biden's team is betting that COVID-19 is on the ballot, and amplifying the stories of those affected by the pandemic with an emphasis on persuading voters in key battlegrounds to support the former VP.

Driving the news: Through Friday, Biden's team will have three ads in rotation on the YouTube homepage masthead as a national component to their closing ad campaign.

  • In addition, they're trying to reach at least eight subsets of the electorate across 16 states: AZ, FL, MI, NC, PA, WI, MN, NV, CO, IA, GA, OH, NH, VA, TX, NE-2.
  • They're focusing on African American and Latino voters as well, but the ads over-index on voices from a handful of traditional battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona.
  • The ads they've cut with PA voters alone feature frontline workers, small business owners, teachers, farmers, veterans, seniors, union workers and football players — a snapshot of the broader appeal they're trying to have in the final days.
  • His team hopes that by continuing to talk about the realities and hardships facing Americans, crucial slices of the electorate across 16 battleground states will put Biden over the edge next Tuesday.

The big picture: Biden's team has consistently pushed a message focused on the coronavirus pandemic and its implications on health care and the economy — even as President Trump tries to bring up Hunter Biden and other distractions.

  • And now COVID-19 cases are spiking across the U.S., putting a renewed emphasis on the pandemic in the final stretch of the election.

Snapshot: A college football player in Arizona talks in one ad about the struggles of missing out on practice during the pandemic.

  • In Florida, seniors who are concerned about catching the virus and keeping their business afloat talk about how life has changed for them.
  • A veteran from Iowa talks about his experience working directly with Biden in the past.
  • And in Michigan a union worker criticizes the way Trump talks about social security benefits.

Go deeper

Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress certifies Joe Biden's Electoral College win

The House reconvenes Wednesday night for the joint session after pro-Trump mobs stormed the Capitol. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

A joint session of Congress ended a day of siege by officially certifying on Thursday President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in the November election, the final step ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.

The bottom line: The final votes in Congress confirm that Biden will be the 46th president of the United States—despite some Republican lawmakers' challenges and the rampage through the Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines.
  2. Health: Lessons for trapping the next pandemic.
  3. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  4. Politics: Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  5. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses — In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine its hardly using.
Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine it's hardly using

Macron, Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel (R) at a summit in October. Photo: Yves Herman/Pool/AFP via Getty

Italy on Thursday blocked the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia, becoming the first EU country to exercise an export ban due to a vaccine shortfall in the bloc.

Why it matters: The controversial step exposes multiple major challenges to distributing vaccines — even among the world’s richest countries.