Biden to hold first political rally in run-up to November elections

By Thomson Reuters Aug 25, 2022 | 5:08 AM

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Thursday will stage his first political rally in the final stretch to the November midterm congressional elections, looking to give Democrats a boost and prevent Republicans from taking control of Congress.

The Democratic National Committee event at Richard Montgomery High School, located in a Maryland suburb of Washington and featuring a host of Maryland political leaders, will begin for Biden what the White House has billed as a coast-to-coast tour to help Democratic candidates.

He is to speak at 7 p.m. EDT. A party official said Biden will be “highlighting the choice voters will have in the upcoming midterms.”

Republicans are hoping to ride voter discontent with inflation and high gasoline prices to victory in November, and they have history on their side.

The party that controls the White House usually loses seats in Congress in a new president’s first midterm elections, and political analysts are predicting Republicans have a solid chance to take control of the House of Representatives and possibly even the Senate. Democrats hold only a thin majority in the House while the Senate is evenly divided, with the vice president’s tie-breaking power giving Democrats control.

Republican control of one or both chambers could thwart Biden’s legislative agenda for the second half of his four-year term. Heavy losses could also intensify questions about whether Biden, 79, should run for re-election in 2024 or hand over to a younger generation.

But Biden and his team hope that a string of recent legislative successes, and voters’ outrage at the Supreme Court’s overturning of the 1973 ruling that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion, will generate strong turnout among Democrats.

A White House memo circulated to Democratic activists earlier in August said the midterms will offer a choice between Democrats working to overcome the influence of special interests like the gun lobby and the pharmaceutical industry and Republicans devoted to former President Donald Trump.

Democrats want the trip to boost the president’s poor poll numbers and draw attention to his achievements. But some candidates for Congress worry that campaigning with Biden will hurt them in the Nov. 8 election.

Biden, whose latest approval rating is 41%, is polling lower than most, if not all, Democratic candidates in competitive races, often by double digits, Democratic pollsters said.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)