Jun 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Dems Biden-proof their campaigns

Illustration of President Joe Biden under a glass dome

Photo Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios. Photo:Hector Vivas/Getty Images/Getty Images

Some Democrats in key congressional races are focusing their campaigns on abortion rights, MAGA extremism, inflation, the border and local issues — anything except President Biden.

  • Why it matters: Biden may get a bump in support because of Trump's felony conviction, but several Democratic lawmakers tell Axios the president's middling poll numbers to date have made distinguishing themselves from him a priority.
  • There is "more distancing now as his numbers continue to tank," said one House Democrat seeking re-election in a competitive district, adding that they are "pretty much washing my hands of his campaign."
  • Another House Democrat said there is "always an element where you run your own race," but "now it's even more pronounced."

Democratic incumbents, candidates and operatives told Axios many Democrats in tight congressional races are maintaining their independence from Biden without publicly rejecting him.

🔬 Zoom in: Some swing-district Democrats are latching onto opportunities to display a break from Biden on policy — particularly by pushing for stricter border security.

  • It's a strategy that many Democrats credit for Rep. Tom Suozzi's (D-N.Y.) special election victory in February.
  • 15 vulnerable House Democrats sent Biden a letter last month urging him to take action on the border. Michigan Democratic candidate Curtis Hertel sent a similar letter.

Other Democrats are welcoming Biden to their districts and expressing hope his poll numbers improve.

  • I think Joe Biden has a heck of a case to make for another term," said Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Penn.), vowing to "help Joe Biden in western Pennsylvania."

"Joe Biden created 15 million jobs, capped the price of insulin at $35 and made health care more affordable than ever," said Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz.

  • "That record of historic results for the American people is what the president and Democrats across the country will be running on."

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