May 3, 2019


Biden's Key: Pennsylvania: The former vice president places electoral hopes on his boyhood home state. (Charles F. McElwee, May 2, 2019, City Journal)

Now a free agent, Biden hopes to establish himself as the frontrunner, one capable of returning Pennsylvania, along with Michigan and Wisconsin, to the Democratic fold.  [...]

In Pennsylvania, though, such establishment support, combined with the Democrats' 900,000-voter advantage, creates an opening for Biden. His statewide base, historically working class, now resides mostly in Philadelphia's suburbs. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the number of registered Democrats in the city's four "collar counties" surrounding Philadelphia increased by 75 percent since 1998. In last year's midterms, Senator Bob Casey won reelection, and the party picked up five House seats--four from Montgomery County and Delaware County, both former Republican strongholds. At the state level, incumbent Governor Tom Wolf prevailed, and in Greater Philadelphia, statehouse Democrats flipped 14 seats--the most since 1974. An affluent suburban population--fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and formerly Republican--carried the night. 

Republicans understand that the state party is in critical condition--last week, the Trump campaign's senior advisers met with top GOP officials in Harrisburg. In 2016, the party benefitted from disaffected Democrats in the state's northeast, southwest, northwest, and Lehigh Valley. Trump won Luzerne County by 20 points, and he barely lost neighboring Lackawanna County, home to Biden's Scranton. (In 2012, Barack Obama won the county by over 27 points.) The region's voters, while loyal to Trump, still vote Democratic at the state and local level, as a recent special House election showed. This working-class, semi-urban population--fiscally liberal, socially conservative, and still Democratic--constitutes an unreliable voting base. Biden aims to win them back.

These states won't even be in play if Donald is the nominee.  The GOP will be pumping resources into safe states, like Texas.

The 2019 governor's race that has Trump's team sweating (ALEX ISENSTADT, 05/03/2019, Politico)

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is a presidential phone-buddy and White House regular who's become one of President Donald Trump's loudest surrogates.

He's also one of the most unpopular governors in the country, facing a treacherous reelection in November. And the White House, fearing that an embarrassing loss in a deep-red state would stoke doubts about the president's own ability to win another term, is preparing to go all-in to save him. [...]

The Trump team has watched with growing concern as Bevin's approval ratings have plummeted to the low 30s. With the presidential campaign kicking into gear, the Kentucky governor's race is likely to be the most closely-watched contest in the run-up to 2020, and Trump aides acknowledge alarm bells will go off if one of the president's closest allies loses in a state that Trump won by nearly 30 percentage points.

"You want to be winning and not losing in red states ahead of your reelection bid," said Scott Jennings, a Louisville-based Republican strategist who served as a top political aide in the George W. Bush White House. "I think having the president come and remind everyone what's at stake is important."

Bevin has visited the White House so frequently that his presence in the West Wing has become a running joke among some Trump aides. Since Jan. 2018, the Kentucky governor has visited the White House 10 times, according to a count provided by an administration official. Over the past year, the White House has dispatched at least nine cabinet heads and top officials to Kentucky to promote the Trump agenda with the governor. First daughter Ivanka Trump has gone twice.

The Kentucky governor is on the president's speed-dial. In March, Trump called Bevin while the governor was announcing the construction a new steel plant. Bevin held his iPhone and put Trump on speakerphone so he could address the gathering.

And when Trump kicked off a post-2016 election victory tour with a Cincinnati rally, Bevin was onstage.

Posted by at May 3, 2019 8:36 AM