Democratic members of Congress are struggling to answer a simple question: Should President Joe Biden run for reelection?
Two candidates running for a U.S. House seat representing parts of New York City stumbled over the question last week, and the Democrats running for Rhode Island's 2nd Congressional District aren't eager to answer it either.
Only one of them, Sarah Morgenthau, said he should.
"Yes, I believe Trump will be the Republican nominee and poses a clear and present danger to our democracy," said Morgenthau, who worked in the U.S. Department of Commerce after raising money for Biden's 2020 presidential campaign. "President Biden has proved he is the candidate to beat Donald Trump and deliver results."
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner's response via spokeswoman Patricia Socarras avoided answering the question.
"Treasurer Magaziner is focused on keeping the [2nd Congressional District] in Democratic control in this year's election to lower the cost of prescription drugs and energy, protect Social Security and Medicare from extremist Republicans who are determined to cut those programs, and ensure that women can make their own health care decisions without interference from politicians," Socarras stated in an email.
Democrats might be avoiding aligning themselves with Biden because his approval rating in recent polls has languished below 40%.
Many Republican elected officials avoided all questions about Donald Trump during his time in the White House. .
During a televised debate for New York's 12th District on Tuesday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Jerry Nadler and candidate Suraj Patel were asked whether Biden should run in 2024. Maloney said she didn't think Biden would run again, Nadler said it was wrong to have an opinion on that before the midterm elections and Patel said Biden should run again. Maloney and Nadler tried to walk back their responses later in the week.
Rhode Island Democratic candidate Omar Bah wrote that there "are many urgent issues that this White House still needs to address during this current term.
"Our focus is on getting to Congress to put pressure on this administration to make good on its promises, then we can have the conversation about 2024. I'm not going to be engaged in the business of putting up Republican talking points against our incumbent president."
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When he was asked about Biden running again, 2nd Congressional District candidate and former state Rep. Spencer Dickinson wrote: "At this point, that might be up to him."
"A better question would be, do I like everything he is doing? The answer is no, but we could get into specifics," he said. "We have a two-party system. I am a Democrat and I believe that you play for your team. ... I don't think we should be addressing the question of who our candidate is until after the midterms, November 8."
“President Biden has been dealt a very difficult hand — in many ways unprecedentedly so. The first thing we need to make sure of is that any nominee is well-positioned to beat whomever the Republicans run — Trump or otherwise," Segal wrote in an email Monday. "That means proving to people that he understands their plight — foremost related to inflation and other economic difficulties. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, despite some flaws, is a step toward doing so. Biden must spend the coming months pushing back against corporate special interests and political corruption that exacerbate inflation and supply chain — and seek to undercut progress on climate, healthcare, and other issues vital to working families."
The Joy Fox campaign did not respond.
On Twitter: @PatrickAnderso_
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This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: RI Dems running for Congress coy about Biden for reelection in 2024