Biden and Trump hit the campaign trail on eve of midterms


US president Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump will headline political rallies on Monday night, the eve of midterm elections that will determine which political party controls Congress, stoking speculation about whether the two men are headed for a rematch in 2024.

While the latest opinion polls suggest Republicans are on course to regain control of the House of Representatives, non-partisan analysts see the Senate as a “toss-up” that is likely to come down to a handful of races in key swing states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada.

At the same time, Tuesday’s midterms are likely to fire the starting gun on the next US presidential elections in 2024, with Biden and Trump mulling another White House bid.

Biden has for months largely shied away from the campaign trail amid persistently low approval ratings. But in the final stretch of campaigning, the incumbent president has travelled the country in support of a handful of congressional candidates and Democrats running for governor.

On Saturday, Biden shared the stage with former president Barack Obama in Pennsylvania at a rally in support of John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate candidate there, and Josh Shapiro, who is running for governor in the state. On Sunday, he travelled to New York, where he campaigned with the incumbent Democratic governor Kathy Hochul, who is facing an unexpectedly tough challenger in Republican congressman Lee Zeldin.

On Monday night, Biden will round out his campaign travel in another Democratic stronghold, Maryland, where polls suggest former investment banker Wes Moore is the odds-on favourite to be elected governor.

Speaking to Democratic supporters on a Zoom call on Monday afternoon, Biden insisted he was “optimistic” about Tuesday’s elections.

“This is not a referendum, this is a choice, and the more people we get out to vote, we win,” Biden said. “So let’s go win.”

Meanwhile, Trump has re-emerged on to the political stage with a series of high-profile rallies alongside candidates he has endorsed in several key swing states, as well as more traditional Republican strongholds.

Over the weekend, Trump campaigned in Pennsylvania and Florida. On Monday night, he will share the stage in Ohio with JD Vance, the Hillbilly Elegy author who became the Republican nominee for the US Senate there with Trump’s endorsement. Trump won Ohio by an eight-point margin over Biden in 2020, but the latest opinion polls show Vance locked in a much tighter race with his Democratic opponent, congressman Tim Ryan.

Trump, 76, has for months flirted with another run at the White House. At a campaign event in Iowa last week, he teased supporters, saying: “In order to make our country successful and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again . . . very soon.” US media reported last week that Trump and his advisers are eyeing next Monday, November 14, as a potential formal launch date.

Meanwhile, Biden, who will turn 80 later this month, has not formally said he will seek re-election in 2024. But Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the president, said at an event in Washington last week that initial conversations about a future campaign were under way.