In the final days before the midterm elections, the Democratic National Committee is launching a bus tour this week across at least eight states where many of the party’s closest races are, in a drive to turn out as many of its base voters as possible.
DNC Chair Jamie Harrison’s tour of get-out-the-vote events starts Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla. and travels up the I-95 corridor up to Pennsylvania, winding through battleground states including Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia as well as South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware, according to details first shared with CBS News.
“The DNC has made historic investments earlier than ever before in the midterm elections, and we’re going to continue to do everything we can to energize, mobilize, and turn out voters,” Harrison said in a statement.
Several statewide and congressional Democratic candidates will participate, including Maryland’s nominee for governor, Wes Moore, who will rally in Baltimore, Florida gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist in Jacksonville, Fla., and North Carolina Senate nominee Cheri Beasley. The Dave Matthews Band will also be performing at a DNC event with Beasley in Raleigh, N.C.
The committee says more candidates and special guests will be announced as the tour goes on.
Beasley is locked in a tight Senate race against Republican Rep. Ted Budd, who is trying to keep the open seat left by retiring Sen. Richard Burr in GOP control. CBS News has this race rated as “lean Republican,” but the most recent poll suggests it’s a virtual tie right now, a WRAL-TV in early October had Budd up with just a 1% lead over Beasley.
Crist, the former Republican governor who switched parties and is now a former Democratic congressman, is in a competitive but underdog campaign to get his old job back — he’s challenging Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising figure in the GOP. The DNC held a rally in Orlando with President Joe Biden in late September and has run digital ads against DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, Moore is in the more heavily Democratic state of Maryland and has one of the party’s strongest chances to flip a governor’s seat this year. A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found Moore with a 32-point lead over his Republican opponent Dan Cox. The DNC held a rally with Moore and Mr. Biden in late August.
Harrison’s tour comes as the party’s top surrogates amp up their own events on the road in the closing weeks of the midterm election cycle. Former President Barack Obama recently announced stops at the end of the month in Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
President Joe Biden, whose consistently low approval rating this cycle has raised questions about which battleground candidates he could help by campaigning with them, made a stop in Colorado last Wednesday alongside Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet, and appeared with Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek last Saturday.
He’s also doing what he can to help the party with campaign cash, raising $5 million at a fundraiser last Thursday in California for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to a committee official.
Mr. Biden will also speak at a DNC event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, where he is expected to highlight the issue of abortion and say if the party holds Congress, the first bill he will send would codify Roe v. Wade as the law of the land, according to a Democratic official. The likelihood of that happening is low however, unless Democrats change the filibuster rule or win a 60-seat Senate majority.
The DNC’s tour is part of what they say is a record investment of funds and resources for Democrats this midterm cycle. The committee, which has raised $271 million this year and $107 million from January through August, has pledged $70 million of investments in battleground states this cycle. By comparison, the committee says it spent $30 million on its midterm strategy in 2018.
The DNC focused early on supporting coordinated campaigns in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Georgia has one of the most watched Senate matchups in the nation with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. CBS News has rated the race as a “toss up,” and has rated the Senate races in Florida and North Carolina as “leans Republican” and Pennsylvania as “leans Democratic.”
The outcomes of the races in those states will likely determine control of the Senate, which currently stands at an even 50-50 split.
The eight states on the tour also have a combined total of 14 House districts considered “competitive” by the Cook Political Report.
The DNC says it has doubled its investments on voter outreach technology, or voter file data, databases of information about the voting habits of individual voters — not who they voted for, but when and how they cast their ballots in previous elections. The party has also increased its staffing in Georgia and North Carolina, where the DNC has fully funded a combined 50 coordinated campaign staffers, and it quadrupled its investment in Pennsylvania, compared to 2018, where there are highly competitive races for both the Senate and for governor.
On Monday, the Republican National Committee announced its own tour across the country for Senate and House candidates in 15 states. Their “Take Back Our Country” tour will feature RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and the chairs for the Senate and House campaign arms, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota.