Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden returned to his home state on Tuesday to help Democrats win over working-class voters in a tight contest for a House seat in Pennsylvania's Trump country.
In two campaign rallies, the ex-senator from Delaware aimed to drum up enthusiasm for 33-year-old Conor Lamb — the Democrat trying to pull off a victory in a district that President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016.
Voters head to the polls a week from Tuesday in Pennsylvania's 18th District, which political observers around the country are watching as a measure of Democrats' ability to potentially gain a House majority in November's midterms.
Speaking to Lamb supporters outside of Pittsburgh, Biden praised the Marine veteran and former prosecutor's character, comparing Lamb to his late son, Beau. The former vice president cast Lamb as a champion for workers, saying he would protect labor unions and fight against possible cuts to Social Security and Medicare funding.
"It's always been about the other guy with Conor. Not just about him," Biden said at one campaign event with dozens of union members.
The race between Lamb and 60-year-old Republican state representative Rick Saccone appears neck-and-neck in the final stretch before voters head to the polls on March 13.
Polls in February showed Saccone with an edge of 3 or more percentage points, but an Emerson poll released Monday showed Lamb with a 3-percentage point advantage.
Saccone has positioned himself as a defender of Trump's agenda. He has pledged to cut regulations to support the energy industry in the southwest part of the state, praised the GOP tax cuts passed into law in December and pledged to control what he deems reckless government spending.
Biden is only one of the national Democratic figures making appearances with the Lamb campaign. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley campaigned in Pennsylvania late last month, while progressive Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, will reportedly head there later in the week.