Democrats' Quandary: Campaign With or Without Biden? U.S. President Joe Biden deliver remarks about project labor agreements at Ironworkers Local 5 on February 04, 2022 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
By Charlie McCarthy | Sunday, 06 February 2022 05:16 PM
Democrats running for office in November disagree on whether to embrace or avoid President Joe Biden.
Biden's approval rating has been in free fall since the U.S' chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of August. Rising inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis have added to the downward trend.
Sens. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Raphael G. Warnock, D-Ga., – from states that Biden won narrowly in 2020 but have since turned away from him – are among Democratic candidates who have not said whether they want the president to campaign for them.
"I'm focused on, right now, on things Arizonans care about, like the price of gasoline and groceries," Kelly said recently, The Washington Post reported.
"I know that the pundits are focused on the campaign. I really am focused on serving the people of Georgia," Warnock said, the Post reported.
Other Democrats in swing areas are more willing to embrace Biden.
"He's always welcome in my state, absolutely," said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., the Post reported.
Asked whether she identified as a "Biden Democrat," Cortez Masto said, "I'm a Nevadan first and foremost."
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., another Democrat preparing for a tough re-election fight, said she will "always welcome the president."
Republicans, too, are eager to keep Biden front and center when it comes to midterm races.
"The message that works everywhere, and the message that's most effective, is the failure of the Biden administration and Washington Democrats," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Chris Hartline told the Post.
Midterm elections usually are influenced strongly by how voters feel about the sitting president – a reason Kelly, for one, doesn't want to inject Biden into his senatorial campaign.
"What's going on on our southern border, at least in Arizona — no, it's not been effective," Kelly told the Post after being asked about Biden's immigration policy.
Some Democrats, however, told the news outlet that voters would see through candidates' attempts to run away from the head of their own party.
"Over the course of the spring and the summer, we’d love to see President Biden at 47 or 49 or 50 percent — and that will make all the difference in those elections," Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the Post.
"He's still a very likable, understandable human being. The people loved or hated Donald Trump, but they don't hate Joe Biden."
Biden himself said he would be "deeply involved" in the midterms.
"We're going to be raising a lot of money. We're going to be out there making sure that we're helping all of those candidates," he said at a news conference last month.
"And scores of them have already asked me to come in and campaign with them, to go out and make the case in plain, simple language as to what it is we’ve done, what we want to do, and why we think it’s important."