Ward Room
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Can Joe Biden's Charm Help Quinn Defeat Rauner?

The White House dispatches the veep to fund-raise for the embattled Illinois governor

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Can Joe Biden's Charm Help Quinn Defeat Rauner?

AP

Vice President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's 2014 Legislative Summit in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The White House will deploy Joe Biden to Chicago on Monday, where the veep will stump for Gov. Pat Quinn and other Illinois Democrats up for re-election this November.

Biden will be the marquee guest at a $15,000-per-plate dinner that evening to raise money for Quinn's neck-and-neck race against multi-millionaire Republican rival Bruce Rauner, who's running a successful grassroots grab for the governorship.

"Gov. Quinn deeply appreciates the leadership of Vice President Joe Biden, who has always been a partner and crusader for working families," says his spokesperon. "The Vice President understands what's at stake in this election and we're looking forward to welcoming him in Chicago."

Biden will also gather for lunch fundraiser with Reps. Robin Kelly, Jan Schakowsky and Tammy Duckworth at the home of CouponCabin CEO Scott Kluth, according to the Tribune. Attendees must write checks for at least $5,000 to get in the door.

With his salt-of-the-earth charm, goofy streak and populist politics, the vice president is a no-brainer choice to send to Chicago. This is a proudly Democratic city and Quinn -- who's losing a state-wide popularity contest to Rauner, the shiny new alternative  -- cannot afford to alienate his voter base here.

The Obama Administration, eager to keep Quinn in office, earlier this summer dispatched First Lady Michelle Obama to headline a Democratic National Committee event at the Waldorf-Astoria, where she urged donors to open their wallets and ensure Quinn "gets over the finish line." Back in May, President Obama -- in Chicago to fund-raise for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin -- met with Quinn for a meal.

Earlier this month, former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican, told Politico he thinks that while Obama could collect lots of cash for Quinn and help bring African-American voters, that may not be enough to make an impact on the state as a whole.

"It's not like he was governor and he had his own organization put together or anything," said Edgar, noting Obama's quick transition from Springfield to Washington has left the president without a strong-enough political support system in Illinois.

Nearing the end of his presidency, Obama still remains a highly popular figure in his adopted hometown. His vice president, a valuable fundraising asset for the Democrats despite being prone to bouts of "Uncle Joe Syndrome," plays well here, too. He's the kind of guy people want to grab a beer with, and Quinn -- who seems to be in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight -- could probably use one right about now.

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