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Vulnerable down-ballot Democrats stay quiet after Biden’s debate

Democrats running in competitive down-ballot races this year largely kept quiet or dodged questions on Friday about the first presidential debate as the party grapples with the fallout from President Joe Biden’s shaky performance.

Several Senate Democratic candidates in key states took to social media not to comment on the debate, but to share footage from recent campaign events or highlight other policies. Staffers working with several of those campaigns did not return requests for comment on the debate. And a few candidates did not directly answer questions about whether Biden should continue as the party’s presidential nominee.

“I focus on my race. I’m not a pundit,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told News5 Cleveland when asked if party leaders, including himself, should ask Biden to step aside. “I’ve never given my colleagues about what they should do with their free time and what they should do with other politicians.”

“I’ve got flooding all in my district and I’m headed home to work on that,” Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., who’s facing a hotly contested re-election race, said at the Capitol Friday when asked if Biden should step aside.

“Let other pundits do the punditry,” Craig added.

As some Democrats fretted privately about the party’s chances in the November elections following Thursday night’s debate, operatives working in competitive congressional races were not panicking.

"I think everybody’s in agreement that it was not the president’s best showing last night. He had a very off night,” said Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha. “And I don’t think, because it’s so early … that it will have a huge impact on House or Senate races.”

Rocha and other Democratic strategists noted that voters, long concerned with Biden’s

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