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Joe Biden elbow-bumping a worker during a campaign stop in Wisconsin. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is storming states with competitive Senate races this week to help boost Democratic candidates in the run-up to the election.

Why it matters: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death is galvanizing Democrats to fight harder for control of the Senate with less than two months before Election Day.

  • Winning that chamber is the only hope Democrats have of responding to
    Republicans' plan to vote on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election.
  • Biden's campaign is also engaged in joint fundraising efforts with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) to help candidates across the U.S.

Driving the news: Biden will be in North Carolina on Wednesday, while his his wife, Jill Biden, and Doug Emhoff, Sen. Kamala Harris's husband, take on Maine and Iowa.

  • The campaign just added Georgia and Iowa — two states Trump won in 2016 — to its list of TV and digital ad campaign targets heading into the election.
  • On Tuesday the Biden campaign started airing TV ads in New Hampshire, which Hillary Clinton won by less than a single point.
  • The Cook Political Report ranks the Georgia, Iowa and Maine Senate contests as toss-ups.

By the numbers: In all five of those states, polls show a neck-and-neck race between Biden and Trump at the top of the ticket, and Democrats leading or within striking distance of their Republican opponents.

The big picture: Democrats hope Biden's presence and investment in these states will create more favorable conditions for their Senate candidates, and they point to his campaigning with successful candidates in 2018.

  • Biden made dozens of campaign stops with House and Senate candidates, including Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, who helped Democrats make gains in swing districts during the midterms.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump slams McConnell for blocking vote on $2,000 stimulus checks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) request to hold a vote on a House standalone measure that would boost the size of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person.

Why it matters: President Trump has demanded that the payments be increased, creating a rift between him and Senate GOP leadership ahead of a crucial runoff election in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber. He tweeted on Tuesday afternoon: "Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. "

Dec 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley says he will object to Electoral College certification

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said in a statement Wednesday that he will object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, alleging that some states failed to follow their election laws and that Big Tech interfered on behalf of Biden.

Why it matters: Hawley is the first senator to say he will object to the certification, joining a group of House Republicans. Biden will still be certified the winner, but the move will force Senate Republicans to go on the record on whether they agree with Trump's baseless allegations — many of which have been thrown out in court — that there was widespread election fraud.

Updated Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Georgia's GOP senators back $2,000 stimulus checks ahead of runoff

Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Tuesday both came out in favor of increasing direct payments in the coronavirus relief package from $600 to $2,000 per person.

Why it matters: The two Republican senators are on the ballot in a pair of runoffs in Georgia next week that will determine control of the Senate.