In an aggressive campaign to raise money and promote Democratic state legislators and governors on the abortion rights front lines, Kamala Harris’ staff is planning to tour the country.
“We need to make it a goal that we’re out in America three days a week,” Harris informed her staff recently while they tried to determine how much overall travel she should undertake throughout the November elections, according to a source familiar with the conversations.
The vice president has already started putting the state and local strategy into action. She surprised volunteers and campaign workers for Josh Shapiro’s gubernatorial campaign in Pennsylvania with a visit last weekend, according to White House staff. The campaign requested that Harris stop by and provide morale support in what is set to be a tight race in the state, they said.
The next stage in her plan, though, will become more aggressive. According to White House officials, the vice president will go to red and purple states to condemn “Republican extremism” on topics like abortion. On Monday, Harris will visit Indiana, where a special legislative session on abortion has begun; it’ll be the first such gathering in the country since Roe v. Wade was invalidated last month. During her trip, she’ll meet with abortion rights advocates and state legislators, according The White House.
Democrats have long sought for Harris’ direct involvement in local and state elections, according to Democratic sources.
“If the vice president is interested and eager to do down-ballot fundraising, we’d be happy to have her,” Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee president Jessica Post said in an interview. “We are continuing to lag behind our GOP counterparts. So having a key figure from our party out there raising money for us would be crucial.”
Supporters argue that Harris is uniquely qualified to make the push as both the country’s first female VP and a former state and local elected official, noting she has leaned on her past experience as a legislator. Supporters of Harris’ legislation meetings claim she has drawn on her previous experience as a legislature to emphasize that “Harris understands the stakes” of state and local elections on abortion policy.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s (DLCC) president, Jessica Post, appears to have gotten something right when she said, “We continue to trail our Republican rivals.” However, the extremely loathed vice president who is even less popular than President Joe Biden will probably not help much. For months, Post has been urging Biden to campaign for their underperforming statewide candidates.
At the federal level, while a number of states are passing legislation restricting access to abortions, polling also indicates that abortion is not a major concern for voters countrywide or at the state level. Rather, concerns about economic issues and public safety due to high crime rates have driven voter behaviors.