Biden travels to two swing states for Labor Day in midterms push

President Joe Biden is spending Labor Day making appearances in two battleground states — Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — both of which have election contests this fall that could determine the future of the U.S. Senate.

Biden first visits Milwaukee, where he is to join Gov. Tony Evers and deliver a speech where he’ll discuss the dignity of work, according to the White House. It is a theme he has underscored since his 2020 presidential campaign.

Evers is competing against Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels in a race that is in a dead heat.

Wisconsin’s Democratic Senate nominee Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes does not plan to appear with Biden, according to a spokesperson, though he will take part in Monday’s Laborfest, a celebration that spans three cities in Wisconsin. Barnes is locked in a competitive race against two-time incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc.

Biden will then travel to Pittsburgh where he is scheduled to speak at the United Steelworkers of America Local Union 2227. This is Biden’s third visit to Pennsylvania in recent days.

The Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who has led in a contest against his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, had said he was hoping to discuss marijuana legalization with the president during his Labor Day visit. He did not join Biden at either of his appearances last week in Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia, though.

The lukewarm welcome from Barnes and Fetterman signifies the feeling of Democratic candidates more broadly who have sought to distance themselves from the president. Democratic candidates for federal office are outperforming the president in their state polls, even as Biden’s approval numbers are on the rise.

During an interview with NBC News on Monday, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, declined to say whether Biden’s appearance benefits or harms his campaign.

“I don’t take my cues from Washington, D.C., I take my cues from Washington County, Pennsylvania,” he said. “That’s the folks I listen to. I’m trying to lead Pennsylvania forward.”

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