Biden, Harris Not Welcome on the Campaign Trail

North Carolina's Cheri Beasley and other swing-state Democrats distance themselves from unpopular White House

September 7, 2022

Democratic candidates across the country are increasingly reluctant to associate themselves with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Despite asking voters to send them to Washington so they can vote in support of the Biden-Harris agenda, Democrats in swing states want nothing to do with the historically unpopular leaders of their party.

Cheri Beasley, the Democrat running for Senate in North Carolina, is the latest candidate to give a mealy mouthed response when asked about the prospect of inviting Biden or Harris to join her on the campaign trail. "You know, I'm not aware of what their schedules are," Beasley said on Wednesday. "We are 62 days away from Election Day. And so we're going to continue to run our race here in North Carolina."

The candidate's lack of enthusiasm echoes that of several other Democrats running in close races. A spokeswoman for Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), who is running for Senate against Republican J.D. Vance, told the Washington Post that Ryan "wants to be the face of this campaign" and does not plan to invite Biden or Harris to campaign on his behalf. Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) deflected by suggesting "anyone" is welcome to "come to Arizona and let me, you know, show them around the state." Sen. Michael Bennet's (D., Colo.) campaign had "no comment."

Biden has an approval rating of roughly 42 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight, while just 38 percent of Americans approve of Harris's job performance. Democrats are unlikely to retain power in the House next year but are hoping to keep control of the Senate, which would ensure that Biden can continue to appoint judges to the federal bench.

The Democratic incumbents in Arizona and Colorado are favored to win in those states, whereas the Ohio and North Carolina races are firmly in the "toss up" category. Vance leads Ryan by several percentage points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. In the Tar Heel State, Beasley and Republican candidate Ted Budd are statistically tied.

Beasley's success in the Democratic primary marks the first time that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has allowed a black woman to run for Senate in North Carolina. In 2020, for example, Schumer backed white man Cal Cunningham's bid to face Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), stomping all over the hopes and dreams of primary candidate Erica Smith, who complained that "Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for Senate in North Carolina." Cunningham was on track to beat Tillis until a Washington Free Beacon alum exposed him for having an extramarital affair.

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