President Joe Biden will stump for California Gov. Gavin Newsom in friendly territory next week, flying cross-country to rouse recalcitrant Democrats ahead of Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall. The White House said that targeting supporters is par for the course.
“Certainly, we don’t go campaign in states where we aren’t wanted,” press secretary Jen Psaki said to reporters on Thursday. Democrats hold a nearly 2-1 registration advantage in the state, which Biden won by a similar margin in the 2020 presidential election.
Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have warned that a loss in deep-blue California could signal trouble in upcoming races. But recent polling has shown Newsom on steadier ground, while Biden suffers the fallout of the chaotic drawdown from Afghanistan, rising inflation, and an economy hampered by the spread of COVID-19.
The White House insisted that Biden remains a draw.
“I would say that the president remains very popular in California, as he does in Virginia and other states where there are competitive elections this year,” Psaki said. In July, Biden campaigned for former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is making a bid to return to the office and who is facing off against Republican Glenn Youngkin, who has scored former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
A loss in either race could prove a messaging blow to Democrats as they seek to hold on to slim congressional majorities in the midterm elections.
The trip marks Biden’s first to the West Coast since taking office and includes stops in Boise, Idaho, and Denver, Colorado, on the way to and from California.
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Original Author: Katherine Doyle