President Joe Biden told supporters in Portland, Oregon on Saturday that only Democrats could cut prices and help with household bills, while using all of his star power in a belated effort to support his party’s candidate for governor’s struggling campaign.
Voters are drifting away from the Democratic Party in the region, disillusioned with leaders who have relaxed hard drug laws and led the record rise in crime and homelessness.
Now they are flirting with the election of the state’s first Republican governor since 1982.
Biden arrived with a message that his administration was cutting medicine costs for the elderly and had passed legislation that will reduce inflation.
He brought it with a warning that things would return to trickle-down economics if Republicans turned a profit in next month’s midterms.
“We’ve been there,” he told an enthusiastic crowd in a community center hall.
“When the rich do well, it trickles down.
‘We will. I’m a bubble man.
“If the middle class is doing well, the workers have a way up and the rich just fine.”
His visit comes as the Republican nominee continues to hold a small lead in the run for governor, potentially turning the state red for the first time since the 1980s.
President Joe Biden spent two days in Portland, Oregon, trying to stop the state from electing the first Republican governor in 40 years
He worked on the phones Friday with other volunteers working for Tina Kotek, the Democratic nominee who is ranked second in the latest polls.
GOP nominee Christine Drazan holds a small lead in polls and has in recent days gained the support of Oregon’s richest man, Nike co-founder Phil Knight.
Just two years ago, Biden won the state by 16 points in the presidential race, leading party operatives to hope he can bring disenchanted Democrats back to the fold.
Well-publicized problems with crime and homelessness in the state’s largest city, Portland, have made incumbent governor Kate Brown highly unpopular and dogged Democratic candidate Tina Kotek, who Republicans say is promising more of the same.
A day earlier, Biden joined Kotek party volunteers in a crowded union hall, where he began calling to help deliver votes.
“What a governor does matters,” he said in a pep talk. ‘It is important! It matters, it matters, it matters!’
However, throughout the journey, they were useless reminders of the challenges his party faces. He had to compete for the limelight during his western swing with a troubling new inflation report and rising gas prices.
Some Democrats across the country eschew campaign appearances with a president whose approval rating remains below 5 percent.
But there have been those for what the White House considers official events, such as the one in Portland, where the president discusses his administration’s work.
On Saturday, Biden explained how his Inflation Reduction Act cut drug costs for seniors and would help lower other prices — even though Republicans voted against it.
“Here’s the bottom line, and please hear this: When it really comes time to do something about inflation at the kitchen table, Republicans in Congress said no,” Biden said.
Republicans in Oregon smell victory and portray Biden’s intervention as a final roll of the dice.
“All you can say about that is they’re scared, they’re desperate,” Drazan, the Republican nominee, said at a rally this week.
She has carefully kept Donald Trump and his allegations of voter fraud at bay, and has taken advantage of an independent candidate receiving support from Kotek.
Drazan’s team said Biden’s appearance suggested he knew the state was about to turn red for the first time since the 1980s.
Republican nominee Christine Drazan has moved into first place in the race to become Oregon’s next governor. Pollsters say the race is a toss-up, with an independent split of the field
A telephone poll this week of 842 voters gave Dravan a five-point lead over her rival, with a margin of error of 3.38 points.
President Joe Biden arrives in Oregon Friday night during his West Coast swing in an effort to bolster Democrat Linda Kotek’s campaign.
Analysts say Drazan is benefiting from a divided field. Independent Betsy Johnson (right), a former Democrat, gets votes from Democratic Party candidate Linda Kotek (left)
“The DC political class is in complete panic to save Tina Kotek’s failed and failed campaign,” said John Burke, Drazan’s communications director.
He said the outgoing Democratic governor was blamed for homelessness, rising crime and higher costs, and that Oregon residents were ready for change.
“They know Christine Drazan is going to win this race and they can’t do anything to prevent that,” he said.
The last time a Republican claimed the governor’s mansion was in 1982.
Pollster says this year’s race is now up for grabs.
A poll published Wednesday by Clout Research, a GOP-affiliated company, reported that Drazan Kotek led 43.8 percent to 38.4 percent. Meanwhile, Betsy Johnson, an independent, has seen her support fall to 11 percent.
Analyst Jim Moore Johnson had a huge impact on the race.
She was a Democrat in the Oregon legislature for many years. Before that, she was a Republican,” he said.
“She’s given up her party registration and she’s posing as unaffiliated. And that’s why Christine Drazen the Republican has a real chance.
Drazan has also benefited from a huge donation from the richest man in the state.
Billionaire Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, was awarded $1 million last week — after giving $2 million to the independent candidate in September.
Portland is about on pace so far this year to match last year’s murder record
Homelessness has gotten so bad that tent camps have moved from downtown Portland to the surrounding suburbs, causing house prices to plummet
He is expected to appear at a grassroots event in Portland on Friday night and give a talk a day later on tackling inflation. His visits are concluded with a reception for Kotek.
Local media reported that supporters donating $6,000 can pose for a photo with the candidate and the president.
While many Democratic candidates are shying away from appearing with Biden — whose poll remains underwater — political analysts said he could give Kotek a boost in Oregon.
“The Democratic governor’s nominee needs to bring in the kind of voter who would normally vote for Joe Biden in a race like this, and boost that turnout,” Leo Bergstein, a Portland public affairs adviser, told the Associated Press.
“She’s losing too many mainstream Democrats and unaffiliated voters to feel comfortable in this race.”
But Johnson, who last year resigned from the state Senate where she had served as a Democrat for 20 years, said Biden’s visit would only highlight the party’s fading grip on power.
“I hope he comes more often so Portland will finally clean up more of the trash and tent towns Tina has created between the airport and downtown Portland,” she said.
Crime hit record highs in Portland last year in the wake of the Black Lives Matter riots, lax bail laws, general unrest caused by the pandemic and depleted police. In 2022, the numbers will match, or possibly exceed, those of last year.
Locals complain that Portland now has an abandoned downtown where rising crime rates and an epidemic of homelessness are scaring residents and visitors.
Rolling poll averages suggest Drazan is slightly ahead of Democratic Party candidate Tina Kotek, as this poll published this week by Emerson College Polling