Vulnerable Nevada Democrats Offer Tepid Support for Biden, But Stop Short of Full Endorsement

Sen. Jacky Rosen and Rep. Susie Lee join stampede of Democrats distancing themselves from Biden

Jacky Rosen, Joe Biden in 2018 (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
July 9, 2024

Nevada's two most vulnerable elected Democrats have distanced themselves from President Joe Biden as polls show his support in the state plummeting following his disastrous debate performance in June.

Nevada senator Jacky Rosen and congresswoman Susie Lee have issued statements within the past week offering tepid support for Biden as the better choice against former president Donald Trump, but both have stopped short of granting their full endorsement to the octogenarian president. Lee, who is seeking a fourth term in Nevada's swingiest congressional district, said in a statement Monday she has "serious concerns" about Biden's mental fitness that have lingered since the debate. The congresswoman said that if the choice came down to Biden or Trump in November, though, she'd stick with the former.

"I expressed serious concerns after the debate and I still have them," Lee said in a statement to the Nevada Independent. "Whether President Biden remains on the ticket is his decision, not mine. … Trump is a 34-time convicted felon who helped overturn Roe v. Wade, and is a threat to our democracy, national security, and Nevadans' fundamental rights. If that is the choice, it's a clear one for me."

Rosen, who faces a tight reelection bid against her Republican challenger, Army veteran Sam Brown, offered a similar sentiment in a statement to reporters on Friday. Conspicuously missing from the senator's remarks, though, was any direct mention of Biden's name.

"There is a clear choice for voters this November between an administration focused on lowering costs, growing the middle class and restoring reproductive freedom and Trump's MAGA agenda that would ban abortion and devastate hardworking Nevada families," a Rosen spokesperson told Fox News. "Senator Rosen is focused on her own re-election campaign and continuing her track record as one of the most bipartisan, independent and effective Senators."

Rosen and Lee did not return requests for comment.

Rosen's hesitancy to utter Biden's name is a trend for the first-term senator who has voted in line with the president 93 percent of the time since he took office. While she appeared with Vice President Kamala Harris at a campaign rally one day after the debate, she only used Biden's name once, according to the Independent.

The Nevada Democrats' efforts to create distance between themselves and Biden comes as leaked internal polling from the progressive nonprofit OpenLabs shows the president's support plummeting in the Silver State and other critical swing states amid an enduring national debate over his mental acuity. The poll, which was leaked to Puck News, showed Biden trailing Trump by nearly 9 points in the state following the debate.

Rosen and Lee are hardly the only vulnerable Democrats moving to create separation between themselves and Biden as reports of internal polls show that House Democrats could be on pace to lose as many as 20 seats in November if the president remains atop the ticket.

Several ranking House Democrats, including Reps. Mark Takano (Calif.), Adam Smith (Wash.), Jim Himes (Conn.), Joe Morelle (N.Y.), Jerry Nadler (N.Y), and Susan Wild (Va.), called on Biden to drop out of the race during a Sunday call with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), CNN reported. Later, on Tuesday morning, a coalition of despondent swing-district House Democrats seeking to oust Biden held a private meeting that, according to Axios, resulted in "actual tears" from Democratic lawmakers—"and not for Biden."

And several Democrats voiced support for Biden to withdraw from the race during a funereal caucus meeting on Tuesday about the president's fitness for office.

Biden vowed during an interview Friday that only God could persuade him to drop out of the race.