Mayor Adams tapped for team of Biden reelection surrogates

Mayor Adams has joined a team of surrogates set to support President Biden’s expected reelection campaign, a signal that the White House sees the mayor as an able national messenger despite a dip in his popularity in the city.

Adams and Biden have a publicly warm relationship, and the moderate mayor has extolled the president’s approach to the economy and criminal justice, but some have wondered if Adams’ frequent criticism of federal immigration policies has irritated the White House.

If there is any serious friction, it did not dissuade Democratic leadership from folding Adams into the field of supporters on a so-called national advisory board for Biden within the Democratic National Committee.

As an election surrogate, Adams will likely travel widely to campaign events stumping on behalf of Biden to spread his message.

A City Hall spokesman, Maxwell Young, said Adams’ staff has had several conversations with Biden’s team about how the mayor can assist the president.

“This blue-collar mayor will be happy to aid this blue-collar president in any way possible during the reelection campaign,” Young said.

“They both believe that safety and justice go hand in hand and that government needs to focus on helping working-class Americans,” Young added.

Other members of the team include Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, according to aides.

Adams, who attended the president’s State of the Union address last month, is the only East Coast big-city mayor or New York politician known to be on the surrogate squad so far.

The Washington Post reported that other members on the ideologically diverse team of more than 20 politicians include Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles and Rep. Ro Khanna of California.

The team is expected to travel and campaign for Biden during his 2024 run, according to The Washington Post.

The White House and the DNC did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.

Biden, 80, has said he intends to run for reelection, but has not formally announced a campaign. Jill Biden, the first lady, told The Associated Press last month that the president has “not finished what he’s started,” and that the announcement itself is “pretty much” a formality.

In recent months, President Biden has flown frequently into the friendly territory of New York, appearing with Adams to fund-raise and hold news conferences. A year ago, Biden and Adams headlined a discussion on gun violence in Manhattan.

Adams, a Black former cop who once described himself as the new face of the Democratic Party, saw his citywide approval rating slip to 37% in a Quinnipiac Poll conducted in January. Though 20% of respondents said they were undecided, the poll found the mayor’s rating down 6 points from where it stood in a survey by the same pollster last spring.

More recently, Adams, who is Christian, has been trailed by controversy after he said he opposed the separation of church and state. He later backtracked.

In a welcome sign for the crime-focused Adams, rates of shootings and murders have dropped in 2023 from the same point last year, according to Police Department data.

Adams, who found a like-minded ally in Mayor Lori Lightfoot, has rejected the suggestion that her loss in Chicago’s mayoral race offered a warning for Democratic mayors like him.

“I think, if anything, it is really stating that this is what I have been talking about,” Adams told CNN on Sunday. “America, we have to be safe.”