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Vulnerable Blue Dogs predict Trump victory over Biden

Reps. Jared Golden and Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez are on GOP's target list this year

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, D-Wash., is seen here in the office of Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, to discuss the Blue Dog agenda in 2023.
Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, D-Wash., is seen here in the office of Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, to discuss the Blue Dog agenda in 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A pair of vulnerable Blue Dog House Democrats from opposite ends of the country are both predicting that President Joe Biden would lose reelection to former President Donald Trump this year.

“In 2025, I believe Trump is going to be in the White House,” Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, wrote in the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday. “Maine’s representatives will need to work with him when it benefits Mainers, hold him accountable when it does not and work independently across the aisle no matter what.”

Golden is a co-chair of the Blue Dog Democrats, a traditionally moderate or fiscally conservative coalition whose membership has been dwindling in recent years. He represents the sprawling and largely rural Maine district whose electoral vote Trump has carried in both of his White House bids. Golden will likely be relying on ticket-splitting voters to remain in Congress, including voters who back both Trump and Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

In his op-ed, Golden downplayed doomsday predictions about a second Trump term and its consequences for U.S. democracy.

“Pearl-clutching about a Trump victory ignores the strength of our democracy,” Golden wrote. “Jan. 6, 2021, was a dark day. But Americans stood strong. Hundreds of police officers protected the democratic process against thousands who tried to use violence to upend it. Judges and state election officials upheld our election laws. Members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, certified the election results.”

On the other side of the country, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez of Washington, who is also a Blue Dog co-chair, said that after last week’s debate, which led to new questions about Biden’s fitness for the job, she anticipated that Trump would win in November.

“I know that’s difficult, but I think the damage has been done by that debate,” she told KATU-TV.

Republicans have targeted both Golden and Gluesenkamp Pérez for defeat this year. National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Ben Petersen said Gluesenkamp Pérez’s “refusal to say whether Biden is fit to serve proves she’s a spineless politician only looking out for herself.”

Gluesenkamp Pérez is running in a race rated as a Toss-up by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. The contest in Maine’s 2nd District is rated Lean Democratic.

Washington’s 3rd District flipped from Republican to Democratic in 2022, and Gluesenkamp Pérez appears likely to have a rematch against Republican Joe Kent. Golden faces state Rep. Rep. Austin Theriault, a former NASCAR driver who has Trump’s backing in the race.

The comments from the two vulnerable incumbents came Tuesday when Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first sitting House Democrat to call for Biden to step aside from the 2024 race.

“President Biden saved our democracy by delivering us from Trump in 2020. He must not deliver us to Trump in 2024,” Doggett said in a statement. There has been every indication from the White House and his campaign that Biden intends to stay in the race.

But Doggett said in an interview with NBC News that he was making his statement in part to give space for other members to express their views, some of whom have privately expressed support for Doggett’s position, he said.

“I understand it was a limb when I crawled out on it. I’ve been in Congress — you can tell I’m not the most youthful member there, and I’m not the most endangered member,” the 77-year-old, 15-term incumbent said. “And I thought it was time for me to speak up.”

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, addressed Democrats’ concerns during a sometimes testy press briefing Tuesday.

“I want to say we understand the concerns. We get it,” she said. “The president did not have a great night.”

In a major change to Biden’s schedule, she announced that he will travel to Wisconsin on Friday and Philadelphia on Sunday for campaign events. While in Wisconsin, a key battleground, the president will sit for a one-on-one interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, Jean-Pierre said.

Biden on Tuesday evening made the short trip to McLean, Va., a wealthy Washington suburb, for a fundraiser. He spoke for about six minutes, at one point apologizing to donors for his debate performance and blaming his recent travel to France and a G7 summit in Italy.

“I decided to travel around the world a couple of times … shortly before the debate. … I didn’t listen to my staff,” Biden told donors, before adding: “And then I almost fell asleep on stage.”

Daniela Altimari and John T. Bennett contributed to this report.