On the eve of Election Day, President Joe Biden will headline a political rally in Maryland, where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore appears poised to become the state’s first black governor.
Ahead of Election Day, Biden stunned Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in New York over the weekend and made another visit to Pennsylvania to promote Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Gov. John Fetterman, who is running for governor. Senate candidate in one of the most watched races in the country.
All of these Democrats have one notable thing in common: They are all running against Republican opponents who are known election deniers, or at least have expressed skepticism about the outcome of the 2020 election.
On Monday, Biden will campaign for Moore, who is expected to defeat Republican candidate Dan Cox. Cox has denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election, promoted false conspiracies about the final presidential race, and hired buses to take supporters to the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin, who is running against Hochul in the New York gubernatorial race and is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, voted against ensuring Biden’s election victory in a race where Hochul has consistently trailed Zeldin.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Shapiro is running against one of the GOP’s most notorious and extreme election deniers, Doug Mastriano, who has openly spread lies about Trump’s election fraud in the state’s gubernatorial race. A Mastrian state senator has pushed false claims of massive voter fraud and worked to try to overturn the results of the last presidential runoff.
Mehmet Oz, Fetterman’s opponent in the Pennsylvania Senate race, has raised questions in the past about the results of the 2020 election, though he has said he would not oppose securing those results if he were a member of Congress.
Democratic officials say that underscores the political reality of how many GOP election denialists are on the ballot this cycle — a dynamic that Biden has made a central theme of his political campaign in the final round before Tuesday.
He gave a speech last week near Capitol Hill, where a group of election deniers stormed the legislative building to try to prevent members of Congress from verifying the results of the 2020 election. He has called numerous Republican candidates in this week’s election questioning the legitimacy of the last election.
“As I stand here today, there are candidates for every office in America: governor, Congress, attorney general, secretary of state, candidates who will not commit to accepting the results of the current election,” Biden said. “That’s the road to chaos in America. It is unprecedented. It is illegal. And it’s un-American.”
But with control of Congress on the line, some Democratic strategists have criticized the campaign’s late-stage focus on issues related to election integrity as a mistake, given that voters are mostly concerned with the economy and inflation.
CNN Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Hilary Rosen predicted on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that Democrats would have a “bad night” on Tuesday — largely because, she said, Democrats didn’t listen to voters.
“When voters tell you over and over again that they mostly care about the economy, listen. Stop talking about democracy being at stake,” Rosen said. “Democracy is at stake because people are fighting a lot about what the election means. In other words, the voters told us what they wanted to hear and I don’t think the Democrats have really delivered this cycle.”
In a recent CNN poll, 51% of voters said the economy and inflation would be most important to their vote for Congress, far ahead of any other issue. By comparison, only 9% of likely voters, including 15% of Democrats, called “voting rights and election integrity” their top issue.
Biden’s last pre-Election Day stop in Maryland is also the last bookend to his midterm campaign season – which kicked off the midterms in August.
It should also serve as a “bright spot” for Democrats, said a Democratic official familiar with campaign planning, as the party is confident Moore will defeat Cox there, flipping the governor’s mansion — currently occupied by Republican Larry Hogan — from the red. blue.
Much of Biden’s recent campaign has also focused on areas where Democrats hope to increase enthusiasm and turnout for Biden among Democratic voters, rather than trying to convince undecided voters.
This dynamic was visible on Sunday in Westchester County, where Biden campaigned heavily, in 2020 Biden won more than two-thirds of the votes in the New York district.
A Democratic official familiar with the planning said Biden’s appearance was designed to draw attention to the closer-than-expected governor’s race and help Hochul’s campaign “build excitement” in the final days.
A similar dynamic played out last week as Biden campaigned in the districts he comfortably won in California and Illinois.