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May 11, 2023

Biden turns to Ned Lamont, Chris Murphy to boost 2024 campaign

MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG Joe Biden campaigning for Ned Lamont, Jahana Hayes and Chris Murphy in 2018. Lamont was the first to return the favor.

As President Joe Biden starts ramping up his reelection campaign, he is enlisting help from two prominent Connecticut Democrats — Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy — to help engage voters ahead of the 2024 election.

Lamont and Murphy were among 50 federal and state lawmakers named to Biden’s National Advisory Board on Wednesday who will act as surrogates throughout the campaign season. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will serve as chairwoman of the board.

Biden’s campaign said the initial members of the group will take part in media interviews, help with fundraising, “amplify” campaign messaging and reach out to voters in key states. The board includes a diverse membership within the Democratic Party, ranging from governors to members of Congress to mayors.

“The stakes of this election couldn’t be higher,” Biden said in a statement. “Our freedom and democracy are on the line. I’m grateful to this group of diverse and dynamic leaders who will help us win the battle for the soul of America and finish the job for the American people.”

Murphy and Lamont both appeared in a video announcing the board, with Lamont saying “reelecting President Biden is a B.F.D,” referencing a famous Biden line from when he was vice president. At the time, Biden was seen telling then-President Barack Obama that passing the Affordable Care Act was a “big f—ing deal.”

The Connecticut Democrats were involved and supportive of Biden’s past presidential campaign. They both cited the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill as a main reason for why the president and Vice President Kamala Harris should get a second term and how their reelection could be beneficial for the state of Connecticut, compared to a candidate like former President Donald Trump.

“Under [Biden and Harris’] leadership, the country has emerged from a pandemic that shut down the world economy, with serious investments in infrastructure and job creation that have our economy back on track,” Lamont said in a statement. “Joe Biden shares our values on gun safety, on women’s reproductive and LGBTQ rights. I’m honored to be named to the national advisory board for the Biden-Harris reelection campaign, and I look forward to talking to voters wherever and whenever I’m needed.”

Lamont was the first governor to endorse Biden ahead of the 2020 election, when the Democratic primary field consisted of more than 20 candidates. After Biden easily carried Connecticut in 2020, Lamont won reelection to a second term by a double-digit margin last year. Biden traveled to the state to help campaign for Lamont and Murphy in 2018.

When Biden announced his reelection campaign, Lamont quickly jumped aboard, citing his record on shepherding through several major pieces of legislation since taking office in early 2021.

“Look what he’s done. Look what’s happened in the last two years. Look at the energy he’s shown getting legislation passed at a time we thought Washington was just hopelessly gridlocked,” Lamont said in late April. “Look what’s got done on a bipartisan basis — that infrastructure bill, getting people back to work fixing our roads and bridges. I think it’s important.”

For Murphy, he worked closely with Biden to get his gun safety measure — the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — passed in a closely divided Congress and signed into law last year. Murphy, who has his own reelection race next year, said he would help “rally” the gun safety movement behind Biden in 2024.

“[Biden] asked me to be one of his surrogates on TV and around the country, and I gladly signed up,” Murphy said in a Wednesday interview. “I have my own race to prioritize, but I just know he’s good for Connecticut.”

“If Donald Trump won, it’d be an absolute disaster for this country. It’d be even worse for our state,” Murphy added. “I think it’s very consistent with my priority of doing what’s right for Connecticut to do everything I can to get Biden back there.”

Biden, 80, announced his reelection campaign late last month, arguing he has more to do to finish the job in the “battle for the soul of America.” But he faces concerns over his age and approval ratings.

Several Republicans, including Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, are starting to line up to challenge Biden next year.

Trump is still considered the GOP front-runner and remains in the lead in early primary polling despite his ongoing legal problems. He was recently indicted on more than two dozen counts related to fraud, and this week, a jury found him liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.

The former president lost to Biden in 2020 by 4.5 percentage points. Trump would face similar age concerns if he again becomes the GOP nominee. He would turn 82 as president if elected in 2024.

While some members of Congress are endorsing Trump for president again, others are looking to different Republicans to become the future of the party. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen as a likely contender for the Republican nomination and has garnered some endorsements — and the ire of Trump himself.

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