Biden returned to the campaign trail in Northern Virginia to tout Terry McAuliffe’s bid for a second term in the governor’s mansion.
He began by praising Virginia’s vaccination rate, which he said is higher than the national average, and thanked the current Democrat governor, Ralph Northam, who cannot run for another term in November.
‘Here’s the truth. If you are fully vaccinated, you are safer and with a higher degree of protection,’ said Biden.
Joe Biden’s return to the campaign trail on Friday night was almost immediately interrupted by hecklers, who reacted when he spoke about Alabama’s Republican governor, and her urging of the state’s residents to get vaccinated
Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of the president’s, is running for election as governor of Virginia. On Friday night (pictured) he campaigned at Lubber Run park in Arlington
‘What we have now is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
‘A lot of our conservative friends have had a second thought. They’ve seen the Lord.’
He added: ‘Thank God the governor of Alabama spoke today.’
He was then interrupted by hecklers, but declared: ‘This is not a Trump rally, let him holler.’
As Biden makes his return, Democrats are doubling down on his presidency, making it the centerpiece of their 2022 midterm strategy.
Looming over their efforts is the shadow of Donald Trump, who is already inserting himself into the next rounds of Republican primaries.
With control of Congress at stake, along with Biden’s ability to pass his legislative agenda, Democrats have invested heavily in Joe, establishing party embeds in some of the major battle ground states as part of the coordination effort with the White House.
That coordination includes a united messaging strategy, specifically promoting Biden’s legislation agenda, including the Child Tax Credit and his American Rescue Plan. Last week the three Democratic campaign committees released a rare joint ad touting the Child Tax Credit and its benefits on the middle class.
The economy will be a key talking point.
A White House official told DailyMail.com the focus is on ‘the strength of our agenda, and the impact that it is already having – through things like the Child Tax Credit – and will have through more jobs, tax cuts, and lower costs for working families.’
Biden was be in Arlington, Va., on Friday night, for McAuliffe’s campaign – his first candidate-specific stop as president.
The Virginia race, along with New Jersey’s off-year gubernatorial contest, is seen as a bellwether how the party will do in the 2022 midterms.
President Biden returned to the campaign trail on Friday evening as Democrats double down on his presidency heading into the midterm elections
President Biden campaigned for Terry McAuliffe, who is running for Virginia governor; above McAuliffe and Biden campaigned together in Virginia during the 2020 presidential contest
Polls show the Virginia race is tight with Republican Glenn Youngkin narrowly trailing McAuliffe. A JMS Analytics survey released last month showed McAuliffe leading Youngkin 46% to 42%, within the poll’s 4.2-point margin of error.
McAuliffe, a former head of the Democratic Party, is close to Biden and campaigned for him in the 2020 election. The Democratic National Committee is also investing $5 million into this race, the committee announced this week.
Youngkin’s campaign is using McAuliffe’s strong ties to prominent Democrats to portray him as a Washington insider.
‘Terry McAuliffe must be worried about his terrible poll numbers if he’s already calling in political favors this early in the campaign. We expect he’ll bring his mentors Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton here soon too, just like he did the first two times he ran for governor,’ Younkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement.
And while Friday marks Biden’s official return to the campaign trail, a soft sell of endangered Democrats have been in the works for weeks by the White House.
When Biden was in Illinois earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood, a top GOP target next year, was at his side. And when he went to Wisconsin, he had endangered Democratic Rep. Ron Kind with him.
And when Jill Biden visited a COVID clinic in Georgia this month, Sen. Raphael Warnock, the most endangered Democratic senator, was touring it with her. And when the first lady went to New Hampshire for a July 4th barbeque, vulnerable Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan joined her for the celebration.
‘The President’s time is one of the most valuable commodities that a White House has,’ the White House official noted. ‘Where he is spending that time is an indication of what we see as the strength of our argument with the American people.’
But bringing in Biden has its risks.
While Biden enjoys a high approval rating – 63% in an Associated Press poll last week – polls also find that voters think the country is sharply divided and Republicans give him low marks.
And, historically, the president’s party tends to do badly in the first midterms after they talk office. Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump saw their respective parties lose control of the House of Representatives in their first midterms – 2010 and 2018.
With the midterm elections over a year away, Senate races are garnering the early attention. Six of the nine Senate races rated competitive by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report are in states Biden won last year.
And Democrats hold a narrow majority in the 50-50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as tie breaker.
The president is expected to be active in helping his party keep control of Congress.
‘I would expect that the president will be actively engaged in in the 2022 election,’ Democratic Senator Gary Peters, who is head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told DailyMail.com. ‘I fully expect the president to be very engaged in making sure that we hold the majority and expand the majority.’
A soft sell campaign has already started with President Joe Biden having Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood (left of Biden), a top GOP target next year, at his side when he was in Illinois earlier this month
Jill Biden Sen. Raphael Warnock, the most endangered Democratic senator, at her side when she visited a COVID vaccine clinic in Savannah earlier this month
Democrats have four vulnerable incumbents up for re-election in New Hampshire, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. And the party faces crowded, competitive primaries in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The DSCC is already invested on the ground, putting in communications staff in key Senate battleground states and investing heavily in voter protection as Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed new voting laws that critics say will hurt minority groups – which tend to vote Democratic – at the ballot box.
The coordinating on messaging and strategy is already in play.
‘The DSCC coordinates communications and political strategy on an on-going basis with state parties in battleground Senate states as well as other committees like the DNC, DCCC, and DGA and with the White House political department,’ a DSCC aide told DailyMail.com.
Republicans are expressing confidence heading into 2022. On Wednesday, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy referred to Nancy Pelosi as the ‘lame duck speaker’ – which she would be if Republicans win control of the House next year.
And the Republican National Committee said they will hold the Biden administration accountable in the election.
‘Americans are rejecting the failed policies of the Biden administration and turning towards Republicans’ proven message,’ RNC Spokesperson Emma Vaughn told DailyMail.com. ‘We look forward to holding Biden and Democrats accountable for their resounding failures when we take back the House and Senate in 2022.’
Over it all looms the shadow of Donald Trump – although how far and dark a net the former president will cast on the midterms remains to be seen.
Trump has weighed in on Senate races in Georgia and Arizona – featuring two of the most Democratic incumbents – and advised Virginia voters to watch their ballots in the November election. Trump has endorsed Youngkin in the governor’s race.
Former President Donald Trump has already inserted himself in the 2022 midterm election, picking favorites in competitive GOP primaries
And Republicans have primary problems of their own, mainly among candidates touting who has the most support from Trump.
Of the nearly 700 Republicans who have filed initial paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for either the Senate or the House of Representatives, at least a third have embraced Trump’s false claims about his defeat, according to a Washington Post analysis earlier this month.
Trump’s base of MAGA supporters remains devoted to him and could prove to have huge sway in the GOP primaries.
The former president has already christened some favorites.
In Georgia, which Trump claims he won and has railed against Republican officials there for not supporting him in that lie, Trump is publicly pushing football star Herschel Walker to run for the Senate. Walker has made no formal announcement of his intentions.
The former president will hold a campaign rally in Arizona on Saturday where Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is running for re-election. Trump has repeatedly attacked Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, even after Ducey said he is not running for Senate.
Trump also has been touting a recount of Maricopa County, ordered by the Republican-controlled state Senate, that has yet to announce its results. Previous recounts found no evidence of voter fraud and confirmed Biden’s win.
He will also likely attack Biden on border policy, an area the president could prove vulnerable among voters.