Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

House and Senate races draw renewed focus for Democrats after Biden’s bad debate

By 37ci3 Jul9,2024



President Joe Biden’s shaky debate performance has focused more attention on post-ballot races in the Democratic Party, with donors, candidates and strategists looking for ways to shore up their congressional bulwark against the chance of another Donald Trump presidency.

A major liberal fundraising group says it’s seen a big surge in donor interest in down-the-vote efforts. The battleground candidates are mostly keeping their heads down amid the intra-party debate over whether Biden should stay in the race. Democratic strategists in the House and Senate races note that their candidates have long been well ahead of Biden in public and private polls as the president struggles to consolidate the party’s base, including black and young voters.

The big concern now is that voters unenthusiastic about their options at the top of the ticket and perhaps worried about Biden after the debate decided not to show up in November, depriving other Democrats of their votes.

“Look, if the president doesn’t do well, there are concerns about the impact on down-ballot races,” California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, his party’s Senate candidate, said. NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“Right now, our down-ballot candidates are doing well in the Senate and the House. It’s all ahead. They are well ahead of the president,” Schiff added. “But you can only go ahead of the president.”

While only a few swing-seat Democrats have weighed in on Biden’s future as the party’s presidential nominee, they likely won’t stay silent for long as they face reporters in the Capitol hallways when he returns. to Washington this week.

Biden, for his part, said he would stay in the race.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden said told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. Monday. “I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t fully believe I was the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump in 2024.”

Cash dash

Democrats are looking to pick up a slim majority in the Senate and a net four seats to take control of the House in November. polls showed a more or less dead heat in the race for the House for months. “Hell yes,” one insider told NBC News when asked if donors were concerned.

Lawmakers spent the weekend immediately following the June 27 debate urging donors to increase their fundraising numbers at the end of the quarter.

One of the donors told the deputy, “We were deceived. I give only to members of the House of Dems, because they are our last hope,” said the current president of the Democrats during those conversations.

Pamela Shifman, president of the liberal donor group Democracy Alliance, said the group has seen a boost in down-vote efforts, including super PACs known as Battleground New York and Battleground California, which focus on competitive House races in those states.

“We’re seeing an increase in support for initiatives like Battleground NY as donors understand how investing in organizers will win the House, Senate and White House this year,” Shifman said. “Mobilizing resources for organizers on the ground is what we’re all focused on right now to make sure we win up and down the ballot in November.”

In a recent fundraising email, the Campaign Committee for Progressive Change, which is opposing Biden during the 2020 Democratic primaries, openly appealed for donations, claiming that “the House could be our last bulwark against Trump.”

“The specter of a second Trump presidency is becoming more possible, more disturbing and more terrifying by the day. We must think the unthinkable. We need a contingency plan,” the group wrote, before identifying several Democratic House members in tough races and asking donors to help them.

Some Democratic campaign workers working in low-ballot races also reported an increase in donor interest.

“Donor calls have skyrocketed, and people are starting to see the Senate as the top of the ticket,” said one Democratic strategist who works on Senate races, adding, “There’s been an increase in both frequency and intensity of calls from donors. ‘Okay, this is our race.’

A day after the Biden-Trump debate, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., moderated a previously planned fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with former President Barack Obama. Obama stressed the importance of securing the House of Democrats, according to two sources in the room. While there was no broader conversation about the House being a firewall against Trump, one source noted that talk of a “firewall” came up in side conversations throughout the night.

The fundraiser raised $3 million for the DCCC, and the committee also raised $1.3 million online in the four days following the debate, which came during a regular quarter-end fundraising campaign., According to a source familiar with the committee’s fundraising.

But some who work in down-ballot races have disputed the idea that interest in these contests has grown, noting that they have been the focus of attention since the election cycle began.

“We always understood that this election was going to be close and there was a chance that Trump could win,” he said. adapted PAC.

“And so we’ve also created the idea that we have to win at every level, including the House, as part of a firewall,” he said.

Lay low – for now

As some donors focus on down-ballot races, many Democrats running in competitive states and districts have remained silent on Biden’s future as the party’s nominee.

Some Democrats have endorsed Biden, including Sen. Bob Casey, who campaigned with Biden in Pennsylvania on Sunday, during his tough re-election campaign in the state.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, a vulnerable Democrat in a tight re-election race in Ohio, did not directly answer whether he believed Biden should stay or go. A campaign spokesman pointed to remarks Brown made during a visit to Youngstown on Monday.

“I’m not going to judge people in my party, what they say, or what Republicans say,” Brown said. “I am not an expert. I’ve talked to people in Ohio. “They have legitimate questions about whether the president will continue his campaign, and I will continue to listen to people.”

Sen. John Tester of Montana, one of two Democrats running for re-election in the states along with Brown in 2020, said in a statement: “President Biden needs to prove to the American people, including me, that he is up for four more years. In the meantime, I’ll continue to do what I’ve always done: stand up to President Biden when he’s wrong and protect our Montana way of life.”

Only one member of the DCCC’s Frontline program for vulnerable officials—Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn. — clearly said Biden should step aside.

Rep. Susan Wild, R-Pennsylvania, expressed concern about Biden’s influence in competitive districts like hers in a phone call with Democratic rank-and-file members on Sunday, according to two people familiar with Biden’s comments. Wild said in a later statement that “the same anxiety that Americans across the country are struggling with means that President Biden could be elected at the top of the ticket.”

Other vulnerable lawmakers have said they plan to focus on their own race.

“The president had a tough night, but I’m running a different race in my community,” said Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, one of five Democrats running in Trump’s 2020 districts. Cartwright also represents Biden’s hometown of Scranton.

“Northeastern Pennsylvania knows me,” Cartwright added. “They know I offer good-paying jobs, lower prescription drug prices, and stand up for our rights.”

Sensitive Democrats are discussing Biden’s impact on their race, but are wary of speaking out if Biden remains a candidate and campaigns in their district, according to a top aide in the battleground.

It remains to be seen whether more lawmakers will speak up when they return to Washington.

“If you’re a Democrat in a tough race, calling on the president to resign will accomplish nothing except to ensure that your message about what you’re doing for your state and why your opponent is bad is completely drowned out.” National Democratic strategist said. “If you want to keep the conversation private, that’s another matter.”

Former Rep. Max Rose, senior adviser to VoteVets, a group that supports Democratic candidates with military and national security backgrounds, told NBC News that he had contacted the candidates in recent days. “What’s really remarkable is the extent to which these candidates — they just keep their heads down,” Rose said.

“Our advice hasn’t changed, and it’s very simple,” Rose continued, adding, “People need to understand the enormity of the decision before them. It’s about the future of our country and protecting the values ​​and rights we hold dear.”

“And those stakes didn’t change last week, they didn’t change last year,” Rose said.



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