Local Dems Desperate for Biden to Visit Less Swingy States

In between vice president and presidential nominee, Joe Biden held a different honorary title in the Democratic Party: chief surrogate.

In 2018, Biden was one of the most sought-after voices on the stump for down-ballot candidates, helping Democrats score Republican seats and win the House majority, while quieting cheers for his own eventual presidential run. Now, cautious not to replay the tactical and mathematical fiascos that made Hillary Clinton concede swaths of the country to Donald Trump, the former vice president has filled his closing itinerary with places like Southfield, Michigan and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He’ll be in Florida on Thursday and Wisconsin on Friday.

But some local party officials and strategists are hoping for more. In the final week, they are urging Biden to reach beyond top-ticket battlegrounds and are making the explicit case that his star power should also be used to help sway the Senate races that could totally realign the power structure in Washington in January.

“We’re trying to play a game without a quarterback,” said Dave Nagle, a former Democratic congressman from Iowa, in an interview late Monday morning.

There, Democratic Senate nominee Theresa Greenfield is running neck-and-neck against junior Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican incumbent, and, according to Nagle, a Biden visit could make a significant difference in the close.

“The Biden campaign should come here for two reasons: First of all, it will help the Greenfield campaign, and secondly, it forces the GOP to spend resources here which they don’t have,” Nagle said, sharing other Democrats’ murmurs in private. “Even if he just flies into the airport and flies out, I think his presence would be a tremendous boost here.”

It appears Bidenworld was listening. By 4 p.m., his campaign announced that he would enter the state on Friday with “additional details to follow,” marking his first physical general election trip.

At the presidential level in Iowa, Biden is leading Trump by a hair in current averages, a once unfathomable possibility that gives Democrats optimism before Nov. 3. In 2016, candidate Trump won Iowa by 9 percentage points.

Greenfield has fashioned her bid around a localized version of Biden’s national unity pitch. In advertisements, she promises to work in a bipartisan manner, dovetailing with the former vice president’s argument that he is poised to bring both parties together during an extended period of hardship.

“They really are pretty well aligned in terms of what their agendas are and what their message is,” said Peter Leo, who chairs the Carroll County Democrats.

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