The final round of campaign stops for the Biden-Harris ticket suggests the Joe Biden campaign priced in a little extra bang for their buck in states that not only could hold the key to winning the presidency but could also decide the fate of the Senate.
On Tuesday, former vice president Biden made two stops in Georgia—a state where he holds the narrowest of edges in The New York Times aggregate and that is also fielding two competitive Senate races. In fact, Civiqs polling released Tuesday put Biden ahead by five points in Georgia while Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both have a shot at breaking the 50% threshold and potentially avoiding a runoff to win the seat.
- Senate-A: Ossoff 51%, David Perdue 45%
- Senate-B (special): Warnock 48%, Doug Collins 23%, Kelly Loeffler 22%, Matt Lieberman 2%
Other polls show a tighter race between between Ossoff and GOP Sen. David Perdue, but the contest is clearly competitive and turnout will be key. The rapper Common, who opened for Biden Tuesday at the Lakewood Amphitheater in Atlanta, campaigned with both Ossoff and Warnock earlier in the day in the Democratic stronghold of Clayton County, where Democrats will need heavy turnout in order to win any of the statewide races.
To Democrats haunted by Hillary Clinton’s slips in the upper Midwest in 2016, Biden’s final stops in Georgia and Iowa this week may feel a tad optimistic. But polling aggregates show Biden a hair ahead of Donald Trump in the Peach State and holding an even bigger three-point edge in the Hawkeye State. To date, Biden has focused more energy on Pennsylvania in terms of time and money than probably any other state, and he holds a six-point edge there in aggregates—solid but not definitive. So making some last-minute stops in a state like Georgia, which the campaign clearly sees as promising, is also about opening up alternative pathways to 270 if Biden loses Pennsylvania.
At the same time, bagging just one of the three Senate races in Georgia and Iowa could determine control of the U.S. Senate and whether Democrats have any chance of passing key agenda items under a Biden presidency. If Biden prevails next week, Democrats need a net gain of three to retake the Senate, but every seat they manage to win beyond those three seats would give them far more room to maneuver on everything from nuking the filibuster to enacting new voting rights legislation and more. So on the one hand, making a run in those two states could be seen as an insurance policy against any unexpected losses elsewhere in terms of both the electoral vote and retaking the Senate. On the other, it could give Democrats cushion if, for instance, one Senate race is tied up for months by Republicans intent on hamstringing a potential Biden presidency.
Plus, on a really excellent night for Democrats, bagging a couple extra Senate seats in those states could net upwards of five seats and position Democrats to enact the most progressive agenda since Lyndon B. Johnson. Yes, that would be a very good night, but also not out of the realm of possibility.
Which is also why vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is being dispatched to Texas on Friday—because why not? Cook Political Report just moved the whopper state to tossup territory. Plus, a whole bunch of Democratic donors and PACs have recently unloaded north of $30 million in the state to boost both the Biden-Harris ticket and Democrat MJ Hegar in her bid to unseat GOP Sen. John Cornyn. Add all that cash to the fact that, through early voting alone, the state has already logged close to 90% of its entire 2016 vote count and the Lone Star State may truly be the biggest wild card on the map.
Perhaps a little safer bet is Iowa, where Biden will visit Friday as he tries to convert a three-point lead in the aggregate into a win on election night. Similar to Georgia and Texas, Iowa is host to a very competitive Senate race between Democrat Theresa Greenfield and GOP Sen. Joni Ernst. The Hawkeye State, however, arguably poses one of Democrats’ best chances to pick up a Senate seat that wasn’t on the radar at the outset of the cycle.
And while every one of these campaign stops carries the bonus of benefitting a key Senate race, they could also deal a death blow to Trump’s path to 270. A win in Texas or even Georgia would likely obliterate Trump’s narrow path to 270; but even taking Iowa would upend their electoral map since their path depends on all three states going for Trump.
As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told his GOP counterparts Monday just before they voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, “The next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited your right to tell us how to run that majority.”
The Biden campaign seems intent on not only winning back the White House but also ensuring that the only input Senate Republicans have on anything for the next couple years is through some epic whining in the corner of the upper chamber.