Two of the three major Democratic contenders for high office on the ballot in Pennsylvania have suddenly found something better to do than appear with their president during his trip to the Keystone State on Friday.
I’m sure they’re being totally honest when they say that “scheduling conflicts” are the reason they’ll miss the chance to be photographed with one of the most… um, popular politicians in the state.
Actually, there are some viruses more popular than Biden in Pennsylvania. But ten months out from the midterm elections the president finds himself in a very precarious position in swing states like Pennsylvania. And it doesn’t help that his approval numbers are so far underwater that the Navy has been called in with their deepwater sonar to aid in the search.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading Senate candidate, and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the likely Democratic nominee in the race for governor, will be absent because of “scheduling conflicts,” according to their spokespeople. Senate candidate Rep. Conor Lamb, a longtime Biden supporter, will be there.
The high-profile absences come as Democrats in other states have begun taking modest steps to distance themselves from the first-term president, whose approval ratings have fallen sharply in recent months. And while Fetterman and Shapiro indicated that politics had no bearing on their schedules, their decisions to avoid Biden, particularly in his home state, could fuel further questions among anxious Democratic candidates elsewhere as they decide whether to embrace the struggling president.
“Josh Shapiro is running to be the governor of Pennsylvania and he’s focused on the issues that matter to Pennsylvania families,” Shapiro spokesperson Will Simons said.
Shapiro made three appearances with Biden last summer and fall when the president’s numbers were better. But the gubernatorial hopeful has a scheduling conflict this time, Simons said, without detailing the conflict.
This isn’t the first high-profile snub Biden has had to endure recently, Last month, Georgia candidate for governor Stacey Abrams skipped a chance to appear with Biden citing — you guessed it — a “scheduling conflict.”
You know if Biden’s numbers were flying high, Abrams would have turned down an audience with the pope to be seen with a popular president.
Then there’s the case of perennial political loser Beto O’Rourke. You know him. He’s the second coming of JFK — or so the Democrats tell us every time he runs for office and is crushed at the polls.
Last week, Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke said he didn’t need the Democratic president’s assistance in his campaign for governor.
“I’m not interested in any national politician — anyone outside of Texas — coming into this state to help decide the outcome of this,” O’Rourke said, according to The Dallas Morning News. “I think we all want to make sure that we’re working with, listening to and voting with one another here in Texas.”
How bad is it for the “Biden brand” among Democrats? This bad.
And this week, Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 3 House Democrat, refused to say whether vulnerable Democrats on the ballot this fall should embrace the label “Biden Democrat.”
“I want every Democrat to run as Democrats who deliver,” Hoyer told Politico when asked directly about “Biden Democrats.”
And whatever you do, Hoyer might have added, don’t mention the “B” word when giving a speech to your constituents. Maybe they’ll forget what party you belong to.