PHILADELPHIA — Former President Donald Trump is singling out Pennsylvania for his first rally of the general election on Saturday, where two of his most besieged candidates in the country are threatening to tarnish his record as a kingmaker.
The fact that he has zeroed in on the swing state for the politically symbolic Labor Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff of the midterms, demonstrates how pivotal Pennsylvania is to his success this year — and, more likely than not, a future presidential campaign
Trump’s visit to the state also signals that he has prioritized coming to the aid of Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano, who have lagged behind their Democratic opponents in polling and fundraising.
But President Joe Biden is campaigning in Pennsylvania during the long weekend, too, an acknowledgment that the races here are far from over.
“Both of them appearing so soon around Labor Day not only says Pennsylvania is a battleground in 2022, but it’s a battleground in 2024,” said Celinda Lake, a pollster for Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. “Both of them want to run in an environment where their candidates have won in 2022.”
David Urban, a GOP strategist who was based in Pennsylvania when he served as a senior adviser for Trump’s 2016 campaign, called the dueling events by Trump and Biden “a little mano-a-mano foreshadowing perhaps — it’s an incredibly important state, whether it’s 1776 or 1986 or 2022 or 2024.”