Biden, Trump push Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates ahead of midterms

PHILADELPHIA/LATROBE, Pa., Nov 5 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden told voters in Pennsylvania that a Democratic loss in the midterm elections on Tuesday will have “decades” of consequences, while Republicans including his predecessor Donald Trump predicted a sweeping victory.

The biggest names in US politics – Biden, Trump and former President Barack Obama – visited Pennsylvania on Saturday hoping to tip the balance in the pivotal midterm Senate race between Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Republican celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.

“Folks, three days, three days until one of the most important elections of our lives. The outcome will shape our country for decades to come, and the power to shape that outcome is in your hands,” Biden told supporters at Temple. University in Philadelphia.

“This is a choice. A choice between two vastly different visions of America.”

In a rally in Latrobe, southeast of Pittsburgh, Trump listed a litany of grievances with the Democrats, starting from the party’s handling of inflation to the education curricula that his supporters considered too progressive.

“If you want to stop the destruction of our country and save the American Dream then this Tuesday you need to vote Republican in a big way,” Trump said.

Trump, who sources say is preparing for a third consecutive run for the White House after the midterms, continues to falsely claim that his 2020 defeat by Biden was the result of widespread fraud. Several courts, state agencies and members of their own government have rejected the claim as untrue.

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Still, polls show a growing number of Republican voters accept that claim, as do many candidates for Congress, governors and state offices that oversee election administration.

“We’re going to take back that beautiful home,” Trump said of the 2024 presidential race.

‘DANGEROUS CLIMATE’

Speaking to supporters in downtown Pittsburgh, Obama warned last week’s politically motivated attack on Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was a product of hateful rhetoric.

“This habit we have of debating political opponents, saying crazy stuff, it creates a dangerous climate,” Obama said, without directly referring to Republicans.

Republicans contend that the Democrats have also been involved in political violence, citing widespread anti-racism protests that shook the country in 2020. On Sunday, they criticized the Democrats for failing to keep their focus on inflation and crime, the two main concerns of voters’, according to most polls.

In a pair of Twitter posts Saturday morning, Oz criticized Fetterman and Biden for failing to support the domestic energy industry and promising to fight inflation if elected.

“As your next Senator, I will focus on issues that matter to voters in all communities including lowering the price of everything from gas to groceries,” he wrote.

TRUMP READIES SOMETHING ELSE

Trump, who is in Pennsylvania to support Republican Senate nominee Oz and Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, is also working to keep his own profile as he contemplates another White House run.

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That could set the stage for a Biden-Trump rematch, though some Democrats said Tuesday’s heavy loss to Biden’s party could increase pressure on the president to step aside and let someone else carry the party’s mantle in 2024.

The Fetterman-Oz Senate race is one of three critical contests, along with Georgia and Nevada, that will determine whether Democrats hold their razor-thin majority in the Senate, and with it the power to confirm Biden’s nomination for a position from his Cabinet. to the Supreme Court.

Nonpartisan election forecasters and polls show Republicans are heavy favorites to win control of the House, and the Senate. Controlling even one would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s legislative agenda and launch potentially damaging investigations.

In Philadelphia, Biden warned that Republicans will attack America’s Social Security benefits if they win and they will be able to repeal new laws designed to lower prescription drug prices.

“They want to get rid of everything we do,” Biden said.

More than 39 million Americans have cast early ballots, either in person or by mail, according to the US Elections Project. Election officials have warned that it could take several days after Tuesday for final results to be clear in contested elections, such as the Pennsylvania and Georgia Senate races.

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Both parties have lavished attention on Pennsylvania both because of the strategic importance of the race and because of the history of voters’ swing from one party to another in the past four presidential elections.

Fetterman held the commanding lead in the race throughout the summer, which Oz has lost in the last two months.

Some factors may be local: A stroke this spring forced Fetterman to scale back his campaign schedule has affected his speech. In a debate last month, he often stumbled over his words, in the performance even personal allies described as shaky.

But Oz’s gains also reflect a shift in national momentum in favor of Republicans, as voters’ focus on inflation and crime has proven more durable than concern about abortion. Democrats’ early leads in several other Senate races, including contests in Georgia and Nevada, have also shrunk or evaporated completely in recent weeks.

Also playing against Democrats is Biden’s unpopularity. Only 40% of Americans approve of the president’s job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll completed on Tuesday, which led to Biden holding back the campaign in several key states.

Reporting by Greg Savoy in Pittsburgh, Jarrett Renshaw in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and Trevor Hunnicutt in Joliet, Illinois, additional reporting by Ted Hesson and Makini Brice in Washington, writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Scott Malone, Daniel Wallis and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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