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Image: Joe Biden
President Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Aug. 29, 2022.Carolyn Kaster / AP

Midterm elections roundup: 'Scranton Joe' heads to Wilkes-Barre

Democratic campaigns are so far mixed on whether they want to hit the campaign trail with the president.

By and

President Joe Biden hits the road Tuesday for a trip to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., near his hometown of Scranton, where NBC News’ Mike Memoli reports he’ll focus on public safety and argue that far-right Republicans are a threat to the rule of law. (The trip was rescheduled from when Biden had Covid). 

It’s a return to a battleground state that comes after a string of legislative victories, but one that comes as top Democratic candidates in his party still appear hesitant to hit the trail with Biden, per NBC’s Jonathan Allen, Natasha Korecki and Adam Edelman

While Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro will attend the event in his official capacity (he’s the party’s gubernatorial nominee), the party’s Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, won’t be there. Instead, Fetterman’s spokesman told NBC he’ll be marching in the Pittsburgh Labor Day parade with Biden next week but emphasized Fetterman wants to discuss his belief marijuana should be decriminalized. 

Democrats are taking a similarly mixed posture ahead of Biden’s trip next week to Wisconsin, where Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers will appear with Biden while Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the party’s Senate nominee, isn’t committing to any public plans with Biden. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Arizona Senate: Republican Blake Masters’ campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are launching a joint, $100,000 TV buy starting Tuesday, per AdImpact. Masters also tweeted a video Monday night responding to criticism about his tweet about the diversity of the Federal Reserve, by doubling down and calling Vice President Kamala Harris “so incompetent she can’t even get a sentence out.” CNN also reports that Masters has made additional changes to his website, removing a false claim that the 2020 election was stolen and claims Democrats were trying to “import” a new electorate. 

Florida Senate: Democrat Val Demings is booking another $1.4 million in TV ads between Tuesday and Sept. 11, per AdImpact. 

Pennsylvania Senate: After recent comments pouring cold water on the Republican attempts to flip the Senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican Mehmet Oz has a “a great shot at winning” against Fetterman. Reuters also reports that a viral photo of Oz posing with someone holding his campaign sign upside down so it read “No” instead of “Oz” was faked. Fetterman, meanwhile, has a new TV ad responding to GOP attacks on crime. 

Georgia Governor: A judge has ruled Republican Gov. Brain Kemp has to testify in front of a grand jury looking into possible interference in the 2020 presidential election, but not until after the Nov. 8 election. 

California-22: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee booked $1 million in TV from Sept. 6 through Sept. 26 in the race between Republican Rep. David Valadao and Democrat Rudy Salas. 

California-49: Republican Brian Maryott placed $1.4 million on TV between Sept. 19 and Election Day in his race against Democratic Rep. Mike Levin.  

New Hampshire-02: A Democratic group appears to be meddling in the GOP primary in New Hampshire’s 2nd District, per Politico.

New York-10: Amid questions whether Democratic New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou is considering a run in the general election on the Working Families Party line if she doesn’t edge ahead of Dan Goldman in the Democratic Primary, Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones said he won’t run on the WFP line

Oregon-05: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is booking $2.4 million between late September and late October in the race between Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Lori Chavez-DeRemer.