In the wake of Pennsylvania Democrat Senate hopeful John Fetterman's disastrous Tuesday night debate performance, President Joe Biden, together with Vice President Kamala Harris, has rushed to the Keystone State in hopes of helping his party eke out a much-needed midterm win, as The Hill reports.
With control of the upper chamber hanging by a thread, the outcome of Fetterman's race against Republican contender Dr. Mehmet Oz has taken on greater urgency than ever for Democrats, and the former's confused, halting presentation on the debate stage has prompted them to dispatch the president and other big names in a last-ditch effort to sway the electorate.
The battle in Pennsylvania is thought to be so critical in Democrat circles that Biden and Harris – a duo not commonly seen on the road together – were slated to appear jointly in Philadelphia on Friday in a move intended to boost the political prospects of Fetterman, who suffered a stroke earlier this year and, as was evident during his recent debate with Oz, continues to battle cognitive difficulties. WATCH:
The moment John Fetterman lost the PA Senate race pic.twitter.com/P4KeExntFL
— Jesse Hunt (@JJHunt10) October 26, 2022
Fetterman's on-stage comportment was, according to NBC News, a wake-up call for supporters within the party who expected him to perform sufficiently well to maintain the polling lead he has enjoyed for much of the campaign. However, as Pittsburgh Democrat consultant and activist Khari Mosley noted, "Folks are pretty much freaking out on the Dem side. I think there was false hope he'd thread the needle last night so some wind was taken out of the sails."
Sidestepping the aforementioned panic-inducing elephant in the room, one Democrat strategist explained to The Hill their thoughts about the rationale behind sending Biden and Harris to Pennsylvania, "It's always helpful to have the two leaders of the party out there in the final push. Is it risky? Maybe. But it sends a powerful message in a really important race."
Another party insider told The Hill of Biden and Harris, "Their agenda is on the ballot" in the Fetterman race. "For Biden, it's about how he will be able to govern the next two years and for Harris, it's about deepening her relationships with the Democratic coalitions and expanding her name ID."
It is not only Harris who is being tasked with helping Biden salvage the Fetterman race, as former President Barack Obama is also scheduled to appear with the current commander-in-chief at stops in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Nov. 5, as Axios noted.
Obama is also currently appearing in an advertisement paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in which he exhorts Pennsylvanians to pull the lever for his party's candidates on Election Day, declaring that "the fate of our democracy and a woman's right to choose are on the line" and signaling just how precarious Fetterman's once-sizable lead in the polls has become in recent weeks.
Despite the Democrats' apparent willingness to pull out all the stops to facilitate a Senate win in Pennsylvania, the New York Post reports that the first polling numbers released after Tuesday's debate suggest that their efforts may be for naught.
According to figures from Insider Advantage, Oz now holds a lead of nearly three points in the race against Fetterman, even though the survey showed the pair locked in a tie just one week ago – strong evidence that the trainwreck that unfolded on the Harrisburg stage was a startling eye-opener for many.