Eye on unfinished agenda, Biden delivers a ‘closing argument’ in Maryland hours before decisive flurry of midterm voting

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

BOWIE — President Joe Biden delivered a closing argument at Bowie State University on the eve of the midterm elections, promoting the candidacy of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and instructing Americans that democracy is at risk because of election deniers and other threats.

He warned those gathered Monday night: “Our lifetimes are going to be shaped” by what happens politically in the next few years.


Hoping for a sweep of statewide races, Maryland Democrats packed the spirited rally, echoing Biden’s rallying cry that “Democracy is on the ballot.” As they waited for Biden to take the stage, the state’s top elected Democrats invoked threats to fair elections and abortion access.

“There’s only one party fighting to preserve our democratic institutions and that’s the Democratic Party,” U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said. “It’s the most important midterm election in our lifetime.”

President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Wes Moore, Maryland's Democratic candidate for governor, share a moment on stage at Bowie State University.

Among those in attendance in the gym at the historically Black university were Moore, who is opposed by Republican state Del. Dan Cox. Moore took the stage just ahead of Biden and first lady Jill Biden.

“Bulldog Nation, what’s going on?” Moore asked the receptive crowd. “We are so energized and ready. This is our time, Maryland.”

Invoking his campaign slogan, Moore declared: “Maryland will be a state that leaves no one behind.”

Biden has said repeatedly on the campaign trail that democracy is at stake because of election deniers, voter intimidation and threats of political violence.

“We know in our bones that democracy is at risk and that this is your moment to defend it,” Biden said Monday night.

Biden noted that Cox supported a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, that preceded the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump after Trump lost the 2020 election.

”Wes’ opponent supported that mob,” Biden said. “You can’t only love your country when you win.”

Cox arranged for buses to take people to the “Stop the Steal” rally. He has said he left the event and did not take part in the march to the Capitol.


Biden appeared to be addressing many of his remarks to a national television audience, raising issues such as protecting access to abortion and Social Security. Biden said Republicans were “coming after” Social Security and Medicare by proposing legislation that would sunset some programs after a designated period.

”Folks, if Congress doesn’t vote to keep it, it goes away,” he said.

The event felt like a pep rally. Guests sat on bleachers and a “Home of the Bulldogs” banner was displayed from the rafters. They cheered loudly for the speakers and for the university, occasionally chanting, “B-S-U!”

A few hecklers were escorted out by security during Biden’s speech.

They included a man wearing a sequined “Uncle Sam” hat and a fake beard.

”Don’t jump,” the president said, looking up at him. “You look crazy enough to jump.”


Another man was yelling about Russia, war and Ukraine.

The candidates — flanked by the American and the Maryland flags — spoke in front of an oversized blue banner reading “Building a Better America” in white lettering.

Biden’s visit followed trips to states with tight contests that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and House. Control of Congress is a huge factor in whether the president can win approval of the remaining items on his legislative agenda during the second half of his term.

Bowie State, which has more than 6,000 students at its Prince George’s County campus, has been the setting for campaign speeches in the past. In 2010, former President Barack Obama led a rally there for then-Gov. Martin O’Malley and other Democratic candidates.

Maryland Policy & Politics


Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.

Also in attendance Monday were Moore’s running mate, Aruna Miller; U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who is seeking his second term; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Southern Maryland; state attorney general candidate Anthony Brown; comptroller candidate Brooke Lierman; and Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis.

Earlier in the day, Republican Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford joined GOP candidates Yuripzy Morgan, who is challenging U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes in the 3rd District, and Allan Kittleman, who is running against Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, to discuss Biden’s visit. Asked what the GOP was doing to rally voters, Rutherford said it was “trying to appeal to the community” — not just registered Republicans.


”What the president is doing is a national push to get out their base voters,” Rutherford said outside of a Korean grocery in Ellicott City. “We’re trying to get out all voters to vote for us.”

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, left, Yuripzy Morgan, nominee for Congress in Maryland’s 3rd District, center, and Allan Kittleman, nominee for Howard County executive, right, all Republicans, held a news conference Monday outside Lotte Plaza Market in Ellicott City in response to the election eve visit to Maryland by Democratic President Joe Biden.

Scheduling the president in Maryland at the close of this campaign raised questions because the state’s races for governor, the U.S. Senate, attorney general and comptroller appeared from polls to be dominated by Democrats in the heavily Democratic state.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week in response to questions about the location of the visit: “There are many places where it’s going to be important for the American people to hear directly from the president.”

Maryland, in which Democrats have a 2-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans, is friendly political terrain for Biden. Biden represented neighboring Delaware in the U.S. Senate and has visited the Baltimore area frequently, appearing last year to tout his infrastructure package at the Port of Baltimore and to host a town hall at Center Stage.

In August, Biden appeared with Moore and state party leaders at a Democratic National Committee event at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. The DNC sponsored the election eve rally, as well.