Pennsylvania Races Draw Biden, Trump


President Biden and former President Donald Trump both are campaigning over the holiday weekend—historically the unofficial kickoff of fall campaigns—in Pennsylvania, a focus in the midterm elections for both parties. For Biden, his arrival Sunday in time for Pittsburgh’s Labor Day Parade will be his third visit to the state in a week, one of which was to deliver a denunciation of Trump’s “MAGA Republicans.” For Trump, a Saturday night rally in Wilkes-Barre will be his first public appearance since the FBI searched his Florida home on Aug. 8. His status as a Republican kingmaker is on the line in Pennsylvania, where two of his candidates are running problematic campaigns, Politico reports.

“Both of them appearing so soon around Labor Day not only says Pennsylvania is a battleground in 2022, but it’s a battleground in 2024,” said Celinda Lake, who’s conducted polls for Biden. “Both of them want to run in an environment where their candidates have won in 2022.” Showing up on the same weekend adds another element, said a GOP strategist who advised Trump’s 2016 campaign in the state. The campaigning this weekend could be “a little mano-a-mano foreshadowing perhaps—it’s an incredibly important state, whether it’s 1776 or 1986 or 2022 or 2024,” David Urban said. Polls have been more encouraging for Democrats lately after earlier pointing to heavy losses in Congress and statehouses in November.

For Republicans, the state of their big-ticket nominees accounts for their nervousness, per the New York Times; Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed concern about the quality of his party’s Senate candidates. Senate nominee Mehmet Oz, who won his primary by less than 1,000 votes, and gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano are running behind their Democratic opponents—Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Attorney General Josh Shapiro—in the polls, as well as in fundraising. The Trump rally will be one of the few events with Mastriano that national reporters have been allowed to watch. “We happen to have two of the biggest races in the country,” said Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. “The nation’s watching to see what will happen.” (Read more Pennsylvania stories.)