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Biden’s debate performance leaves down-ballot Democrats anxious — and quiet

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — President Joe Biden’s unsteady debate performance reverberated among candidates up and down the November ballot on Friday, but nervous Democratic candidates mostly kept their discomfort to themselves or downplayed it, even as gleeful Republicans looked to seize the opening.

Wisconsin’s Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is facing a tough reelection bid against a Trump-endorsed Republican, distanced herself from Biden and did not answer questions Friday about the debate or calls for him to be replaced at the top of the ticket.

“Tammy Baldwin is running her own race for the people of Wisconsin,” said her campaign spokesman, Andrew Mamo, who later added: “Tammy supports the president.”

With control of both chambers of Congress hanging in the balance in November and Democrats defending far more Senate seats than Republicans, both parties understand the stakes.

“It was a bad night for the president. I don’t think he did well in that debate. But I am confident the President and our party can turn it around,” said California Rep. Ro Khanna, a surrogate for the Biden campaign. “And the top of the ticket is very important for down-ballot races, especially in swing districts.”

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