President Obama and Vice President Biden traveled to Delaware Friday to campaign, even though their candidate is favored in the race and has a double-digit lead.
The two will headline a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic senate candidate, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons. Tickets for the event, which was held at an intimate opera house in Wilmington, cost up to $1,000.
The latest Real Clear Politics polling average has Coons currently leading his Republican challenger Christine O'Donnell by 17 points, though a Rasmussen Reports poll released today has her down only 11.
Why spend time and effort appearing with a candidate that has such a large advantage? University of Delaware political science professor Jason Mycoff says it's probably a way to keep the excitement going and the money flowing.
Noting that both Obama and Biden, the state's former senator, remain popular in Delaware, Mycoff said bringing in the West Wing could be a way to counter this cycle's Democratic enthusiasm gap. "One thing [the Coons campaign] might be worried about is turnout," says Mycoff, "Perhaps bringing in both the president and the vice president will help to motivate Democrats who might not otherwise show up [on Election Day]."
Obama isn't as popular in other states, so Mycoff says that splitting the proceeds between Coons and the DSCC allows Obama to raise money to help candidates that he can't assist with an in person performance.
But Coons' Republican opponent says that Friday's joint appearance shows that he will be a rubber stamp for the president. "Chris Coons has ‘superglued' himself to the Obama agenda of job-killing, big government policies," O'Donnell said in a statement, "While they stand together, touting the Obama/Reid agenda that Chris Coons is fully behind, more than 35,000 people in our state cannot find a job."