By Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden traveled to the western United States on Thursday as part of his final major campaign swing ahead of midterm elections that the White House seeks to turn into a referendum on Republicans, and Republicans into a vote on Biden.
Biden’s three-day campaign swing will take him to New Mexico, California and Illinois and will conclude in Pennsylvania on Saturday. He will appear at a rally in Maryland on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s congressional elections.
Biden, whose percentage job approval rating in the low 40s is a drag on Democratic candidates, is fighting to help his party hold off a strong challenge mounted by Republicans for control of the U.S. Congress.
Polls show Republicans have the edge among voters, many of whom are worried about the U.S. economy and inflation, and they are widely expected to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate as well. Opposition parties historically fare better in midterm elections, providing a balance for new presidents in the second half of their terms.
At his first stop, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Biden will tout the benefits of his student loan debt relief plan and then headline a rally for the state’s Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is trying to fend off Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti.
He will move on to San Diego, California, to participate in an event for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Levin. On Friday and Saturday he will spend time in Chicago before campaigning for Democrats in Philadelphia with former President Barack Obama.
Biden warned on Wednesday night that Republican loyalists to former President Donald Trump are a threat to democracy by refusing to say they will accept the results of elections if they are defeated on Tuesday.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell)