Said the Ohio Republican Party in a statement: “(Today), President Joe Biden will visit a great city suffering from devastating levels of violent crime caused by the failed leadership of Democrat Mayor John Cranley. Just like how Joe Biden failed to protect Americans and our southern border, John Cranley is failing to protect Cincinnatians as they face the third highest homicide rate per capita in the nation.”
The Cincinnati town hall is an invitation-only event set for 8 p.m. at the university that celebrated its centennial last year.
Biden has crisscrossed the United States pushing his infrastructure proposal, hitting Midwestern cities in states that will play key roles in the 2022 mid-term and 2024 presidential elections. Biden lost Ohio by 8 points in November, but has visited counties he won during his presidential trips to the Buckeye state. He won Cuyahoga and Franklin, home to Cleveland and Columbus. Hamilton County backed Biden in November and is home to Cincinnati.
“Even just a few months into his term, President Biden is already focusing a lot of attention on Ohio as a potential 2024 battleground state,” said John Forren, Miami University’s Department of Justice & Community Studies chairman and Miami’s Menard Family Center for Democracy executive director. “I look at this visit as a part of the Democrats’ attempt to regain some of the support within the traditional Democratic bases that eroded during the Trump years.”
Ohio is also an important state as political eyes are also looking at the state’s 2022 U.S. Senate race as U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, said he will not seek re-election, said Miami University political science professor Christopher Kelley. Portman helped to lead a bipartisan negotiation on the infrastructure deal now backed by the White House, according to the New York Times.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, of Youngstown, is the only declared Democratic candidate seeking the party’s nomination. However, there will be a swath of Republicans attempting to court Trump backers, including former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken, and venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance.
The U.S. Senate is split 50-50, but the Democratic Party has control as Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, is the tie-breaking vote. The winner of the 2022 U.S. Senate race will serve alongside U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Cleveland.
Who wins the Senate race will be dependent on who emerges from the Republican primary. If Mandel wins, who is an early front-runner according to polling, Kelley said “it is possible” the Democratic candidate can win.
“Ryan will be formidable. He appeals to working-class voters and he isn’t (U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) or (U.S. Sen. Bernie) Sanders,” Kelley said. “If the GOP nominates Vance, then I think it will be harder for the Democrats to win, and this is assuming all things being equal.”
HOW TO WATCH
The one-hour invitation-only event will stream live on CNN.com and CNNgo.