ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — President Joe Biden took off on a personal final-days campaign sprint Thursday that reflects the Democrats’ major concerns before next week’s midterm elections, appealing to New Mexico voters to defeat “reckless and irresponsible” Republicans and reelect Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
New Mexico is normally safe Democratic territory, but Lujan Grisham is facing a determined challenge from her Republican opponent, former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti.
At a rally headlined by the president, she warned that Democrats in the state are “a little behind” but assured supporters “we catch up fast.”
In fact, the headwinds facing Lujan Grisham are indicative of the difficulties for Democrats in many parts of the country as Biden set off on a multistate campaign swing largely focused on shoring up support in usual party strongholds.
“Remember this is not a referendum. This is a choice,” he said, pointing to the stakes next Tuesday.
Biden said Republicans would follow through on proposals to slice healthcare and retirement benefits if they win control of Congress.
“They’re just saying it,” he said. “They’re not even hiding it.”
Biden’s itinerary in the campaign’s final days illustrates the limited political clout of a president who has been held at arm’s length by some Democrats in tough races this cycle. It also suggests that the president, whose approval ratings remain underwater, has concluded that he can be most effective using the waning days before polls close to shore up support for Democratic candidates in areas that he easily won in 2020.
Biden’ four-state, three-day trip includes California, Illinois and Pennsylvania, where Biden has deep roots.