President Joe Biden exits Air Force One ahead of U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on Friday, July 28, 2023, at Brunswick Executive Airport ahead of economic policy remarks in Auburn. Credit: Jules Walkup / BDN

President Joe Biden landed at the Brunswick Executive Airport around noon Friday, kicking off the first visit to Maine during his tenure.

He will board Marine One, his helicopter, to give a speech on economic policy at Auburn Manufacturing and sign an executive order aimed at boosting domestic production of goods invented in the U.S. After that, he will attend a campaign fundraiser in Freeport.

The visit to Maine is part of the Democratic president’s efforts to tout manufacturing gains during his presidency, including 800,000 new jobs in the sector. Manufacturing jobs have actually dipped here over the past year, although wages are up and the White House has said Auburn Manufacturing will cite double-digit growth in part due to recent federal policies.

Auburn has not hosted a presidential visit in more than 100 years. The location is significant because it is one of Maine’s largest swing cities, featuring many Republican elected officials and voting for former President Donald Trump in 2016 before switching to Biden in 2020.

It is in one of the major population centers of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, which was won twice by Trump and is represented by Rep. Jared Golden, a centrist Democrat from Lewiston who frequently criticizes the president.

Golden traveled with Biden on Air Force One on Friday along with Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from the 1st District.

The visit carries political significance given the potential Trump-Biden rematch in 2024. Biden won the state of Maine by 9 percentage points in 2020, though Trump took the 2nd District by more than 7 points in a split with Golden, who has relied on cross-party support in his wins.

The president is struggling politically with his national approval rating sitting in the low 40s. He is only doing a little better in Maine, where he limped to 47 percent approval in an April poll by the University of New Hampshire. Biden’s saving grace may be Trump’s low favorability as he faces unprecedented criminal charges but remains the favorite for the Republican nod in 2024.

BDN writer Jules Walkup contributed to this report.

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after time at the Kennebec Journal. He lives in Augusta, graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and has a master's degree from the University...