The Democrats facing elections this year are not unified over how to handle Joe Biden as part of their campaigns. Since his disastrous withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan last summer, hamfisted handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the supply chain crisis and skyrocketing inflation hammering the economy, his approval numbers have been free-falling across the board.
Two candidates in a challenging position are Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA). Both are from states that Biden barely won amid voting controversy and have been much more Republican-leaning.
Kelly has refused to say if he will seek Biden’s involvement in his campaign, answering when asked that he is “focused on things Americans care about,” specifically citing rising gas and grocery prices. When Warnock was asked about Biden, he said that he would let “pundits focus on the campaign” while he “serves the people of Georgia.”
This year, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) will also face a tough challenge from a Republican opponent. As for Biden, she said that the President is “always welcome in my state.” When she was asked if she is a “Biden Democrat,” she said she is a Nevadan “first and foremost.”
Meanwhile, many Republicans are happy to keep Biden in the spotlight. National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Chris Hartline said that the most effective message is the failure of Biden and national Democrats, which “works everywhere.”
Because midterm elections are usually heavily influenced by the President’s popularity elected two years before, many Democrats have difficulty deciding how to distance themselves tactfully from the Biden White House.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that Democrats nationwide would “love to see” Biden’s numbers somehow reach “47 or 49 or 50 percent.” He acknowledged that the President’s numbers “will make all the difference” in some elections. Beyer added hopefully that people “don’t hate Joe Biden.”
Biden himself has said that he will be involved in “raising a lot of money.” He added last month that he wants to make sure that he is “helping all of those candidates.” Biden said at that time that “scores of them” had already reached out to him for help with their campaigns.
The chances look more likely with each passing day that President Donald Trump will be a more significant presence in critical national races this year than the sitting President.