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With Biden on the sidelines, Conor Lamb faced long odds in the Pennsylvania Senate primary


Months later, Biden began testing the waters for his possible 2020 candidacy, with Lamb alongside him in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade, kicking off an eight-week sprint in support of more moderate Democrats who have helped to propel the party into control of the House halfway. through the Trump presidency. Lamb’s congressional campaign at the time was also advised by Mike Donilon, who has long been one of Biden’s most trusted advisers.

A year later, Lamb endorsed Biden just weeks before the Iowa caucuses, joining him on the road during some of the toughest days of his campaign to argue that only Biden could lead the party to victory in November. .

In 2020, Lamb and Kenyatta were among 17 “rising stars” chosen for a montage keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. After that, Lamb would campaign for Biden as much as himself, acting as a key campaign surrogate in critical western Pennsylvania at Biden’s election eve rally in November.

Fetterman’s history with Biden pales in comparison. He supported Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the 2016 presidential race and built his mark as an anti-establishment politician more comfortable in his hoodie and athletic shorts than in the dress expected of a US senator. When Biden was planning to visit Pittsburgh earlier this year, headlines the day before were that Fetterman had snubbed the White House’s invitation to join him.

While Fetterman ended up joining Biden that day, his campaign has otherwise focused on Democrats’ struggles to implement Biden’s broader agenda. In doing so, he implicitly framed Lamb as more connected to Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., as a potential obstacle to progressive priorities.

The White House’s reluctance to enter the Democratic primary stands in stark contrast to Biden’s role as vice president 12 years ago, when he persuaded Republican Senator Arlen Specter to switch parties and run for office. re-elect as a Democrat. Spectre, despite endorsements from Biden and President Barack Obama, lost the primary to Rep. Joe Sestak, who in turn lost the general election to Senator Pat Toomey. Toomey’s decision not to seek re-election opened up the critical Senate seat now.

Biden’s political advisers say whatever their fondness for Lamb, they couldn’t see a path to victory. Prodigious online fundraising has seen Fetterman spend Lamb significantly — $14.2 million to $4.8 million as of April 27, the end of the most recent filing period. Still, a top Lamb ally said even quiet signals of support from Biden could have made an early difference and accused the White House of simply seeking to avoid a fight with the progressive base after months of grueling legislative battles. .

Biden was quick to congratulate Fetterman on Tuesday night, saying in a statement that Fetterman “understands that working-class families in Pennsylvania and across the country have been doled out for far too long,” and his advisers say recent messages of Fetterman indicate that he kisses Biden. the agenda and would welcome him on the campaign trail this fall.

“He has a common sense agenda, which is to bring people together and be a senator from every county in Pennsylvania, but also a reliable Democratic senator,” a top adviser said.

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