Surrogates out in full force for one last pitch
The final week of the midterm campaign will feature a final blitz by each party’s major surrogates, aimed at shoring up support for candidates in 2010, and in some cases planting the seeds for future campaigns as well.
The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that President Obama will deliver a closing pitch to voters in Philadelphia, Bridgeport, Conn., and Chicago on Oct. 30. He and Vice President Joe Biden team up on Oct. 31 for a final get-out-the-vote kickoff rally in Cleveland.
Obama is campaigning in California and Nevada Friday as he aims to shore up support for senators whose reelections are key to the party’s hope of maintaining control of the upper chamber. On Saturday, he’ll raise money for House Democrats in Minnesota as well as campaign with gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton. On Monday, he’s schedule to hold official events in Rhode Island, while also raising funds again for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Biden, who says he’s campaigned for candidates in nearly 100 races this cycle, will make additional stops on his own next week, starting with an event in New Hampshire on Monday for congressional candidate Ann McLane Kuster. That event will also include Senate nominee Paul Hodes, but Gov. John Lynch, seeking his fourth two-year term, will not join the Democratic ticket.
The vice president may also appear again in Delaware with Senate candidate Chris Coons, though the Coons campaign said nothing was official yet. Biden is expected to vote near his home outside Wilmington on election day.
First Lady Michelle Obama is also making appearances on the Nov. 1, in Philadelphia and Las Vegas. She also is scheduled to attend fundraisers in California on Tuesday.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democrats top surrogate in red state America, will be making stops in Michigan, Kentucky and New York for various candidates.
Republicans will call on a range of surrogates, including once and future presidential candidates and rising stars in the party. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will be supporting candidates for their respective bodies, though spokespeople for both did not provide specifics.
Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele will continue his Fire Pelosi bus tour, in addition to an appearance Saturday in Florida with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to raise funds for the party. Palin will rejoin the Tea Party Express’ national bus tour in Phoenix next week.
Other potential presidential hopefuls in 2012 have busier itineraries. Mitt Romney, for instance, will hit all three major early nominating states next week. A spokesman said he will appear in Iowa Tuesday with gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad, in South Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday with gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley and congressional candidate Mick Mulvaney, and New Hampshire on Oct. 29 with gubernatorial nominee John Stephen and congressional candidates Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta. He’ll also support home state Massachusetts congressional candidates Jeff Perry and Sean Bielat – who is challenging Barney Frank – on Nov. 1
The Republican Governors Assn. has announced a Remember November tour in support of their candidates. Mississippi governor and RGA chair Haley Barbour, who is said to be considering a presidential run, is schedule to appear in more than a dozen states through election day, including New Hampshire and Iowa. Fellow Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, potential national candidates themselves, will join him at some stops along the way.
Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, governors elected last November in New Jersey and Virginia respectively, are also part of the tour. Christie in particular has become a much sought-after surrogate for candidates in traditionally Democratic states.
Another Republican said to be eyeing the White House, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, has stops scheduled in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and South Carolina scheduled next week.
At this stage of the election season, visits by outside surrogates are most helpful in earning free media for the campaigns as both parties look to spur their respective bases to get out and vote. As the itinerary shows, the stops often are mutually beneficial. The Republicans considering national campaigns gain access to voters they may be currying favor with again in the coming years, and potentially earn chits from the candidates they may call on for endorsements.
For the White House, the short-term focus is on sustaining the Democrats’ majorities in Congress and in the state houses. But they too are mindful that Obama’s reelection campaign unofficially begins on Nov. 3. It’s no coincidence that his closing appearance is in Ohio; it marks his 12th appearance in the traditional battleground state since taking office.