President Donald Trump is betting that his ubiquitous role in the midterm elections — all Trump, all the time — will pay off for Republicans trying to hang onto their perilous majorities in Congress.
Trump’s campaign said Tuesday it will spend more than $20 million on the November elections, including $6 million in national TV and digital ads beginning Oct. 29, and the president will be holding at least 10 more of his signature rallies through the election. Since July 5, Trump has held 20 of his “Make America Great Again” rallies around the country and is staging three more this week in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Illinois.
With two weeks until the election, the White House is battling against history as it tries to defend a lengthy slate of seats held by congressional Republicans. Democrats need to flip 23 House seats to win back the majority, a target that falls in line with the typical losses of about two dozen seats for a first-term president in midterm elections. Republicans are playing on a friendly Senate campaign terrain but can ill afford any mistakes with a narrow 51-49 majority.
Former President Barack Obama, who rallied Nevada Democrats on Monday, suffered crushing losses during his two midterm elections in 2010 and 2014, and Democrats often sought to distance themselves in parts of the country where Obama wasn’t popular.
Trump has taken the opposite approach, actively seeking to nationalize the congressional races and casting them as a choice between his policies and the Democrats’ agenda during a time of low unemployment rates and economic expansion.
Here’s a look at midterm campaign activities Tuesday:
The campaign of Georgia Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams defended her involvement in burning the state flag — featuring a prominent Confederate symbol at the time — during a college protest more than two decades ago.
The issue surfaced ahead of Abrams’ Tuesday night debate against her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp.
Abrams’ role in the protest emerged after The New York Times published a story citing a June 1992 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. A photo caption identifies Abrams as a woman standing with her arms crossed, watching three other protesters burn the flag.
Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, faces Abrams, the former state House minority leader, in one of the nation’s most competitive races for governor. Abrams is trying to become the nation’s first black female governor.
Abrams’ spokeswoman Abigail Collazo said Abrams was involved in a “permitted, peaceful protest against the Confederate emblem in the flag” while a student at Spelman College in Atlanta in 1992.
The Confederate battle flag was added to Georgia’s state flag in 1956 as a rebuke of the growing civil rights movement. Decades later, political pressure to remove what many considered to be a symbol of white supremacy grew as Atlanta drew international attention by hosting the Olympics in 1996. The Confederate symbol was phased out of the flag in 2001.
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for a second day in Florida, making a quick visit to a Tallahassee coffee shop before heading to a rally at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Biden urged students and others milling around the shop to vote for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson over his Republican opponent, Rick Scott, and stopped for several selfies with the crowd that surrounded him.
“For many of you, this is your first vote, but I tell you: Whether you’re your age or my age, this is an election that is bigger than politics,” Biden said, citing President Donald Trump’s comments after an anti-Nazi demonstrator was killed at a violent white nationalist rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“This is much bigger than any single issue. It’s about decency; it’s about respect,” Biden said.
Before departing, Biden was asked about the prospect of running for president in 2020. “We’ll see,” he said as the car began to pull away.
Source: The Associated Press