Granite State Democrats hungry to hear a prominent elected Democrat defend President Joe Biden got their wish Monday at a highway rest stop in Hooksett.

Except the Democrat had to fly 3,00o miles to do it.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was in New Hampshire to get Biden’s back and urge local Democrats to do the same. It’s part of a multi-state tour by Newsom urging Democrats to stick with their nominee, telling his fellow party members, “Joe Biden’s had our back. Now it’s time to have his.”  

Speaking at the Common Man restaurant on the southbound side of I-93 at the Hooksett Welcome Center, Newsom wasn’t quite as blunt as Granite State Democratic operative Kathy Sullivan (“Suck it up, Buttercup”). But he declared his support for Biden in a way no prominent New Hampshire Democrat has done since last month’s debate debacle.

“I decided instead of just rolling over and giving up, that I would step up and pick up the fight,” Newsom said. “Biden’s going to be our nominee.”

When Fox News reporter Paul Steinhauser asked Newsom about congressional Democrats calling on Biden to drop out of the race, the California governor noted it was just a “handful” of members. Meanwhile, “the overwhelming majority of the caucuses are supporting him publicly, not just privately.”

Newsom also sees a “shift in the punditry” as “people started to recognize that at the grassroots, something else is happening. It’s very different than what everybody’s talking about.”

Newsom’s pro-Biden rhetoric is also different from what Granite State Democrats are hearing from their local candidates.

The two leading Democrats running for governor, former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, have repeatedly refused to answer questions about Biden’s fitness to serve. And there isn’t a single message backing Biden posted on their Twitter feeds since the June 27 presidential debate.

The same is true of the two Democrats running to replace outgoing Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02), Maggie Goodlander and Colin Van Ostern. Goodlander is in a particularly tricky spot. Her husband is Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Acknowledging Biden’s cognitive issues could create problems between her husband and his boss.

In the First Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas has expressed “concern” about Biden, but refuses to say if the president is up to the job for another four years.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has noticed.

“It has been ELEVEN days since Joe Biden’s disastrous debate debacle,” it said in a statement. “ELEVEN days in which Chris Pappas, Maggie Goodlander, and Colin Van Ostern have had plenty of time to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Is Joe Biden fit to serve as president?

“Instead, they have locked themselves in their bunkers; refusing to outright answer what everyone wants to know.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s views may become public on Tuesday, when Senate Democrats are scheduled to meet and discuss Biden’s candidacy. Shaheen infamously admitted on the Friday after the debate that she couldn’t answer the question of whether Biden was able to perform the job of president.

Biden isn’t going to make it easy for his fellow Democrats. While he continues to keep a very limited schedule, and he still struggles to get through interviews, he’s also adamant that he’s going to remain the party’s nominee.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden said. “I absolutely believe that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024.”

Not every Democrat agrees. Some 46 percent in a CBS News poll after the debate said Biden should not run, up 10 points after the debate. Still, a majority (54 percent) say they support Biden’s bid.

Newsom said he’s seeing those supporters as he campaigns for the president.

“So many people showing up [at campaign events]. They’re not giving into the cynicism or the fear.”

Americans for Prosperity Regional Director Greg Moore says Newsom could learn a lot from New Hampshire about how to run a state.

“When it comes to freedom, California has a lot to learn. While Governor Newsom is in town, he should take notes. New Hampshire is the freest state in the nation with more and more people moving to capitalize on the New Hampshire Advantage. By contrast, California ranks near the bottom at 48. California could take a few cues from the Granite State—starting with reducing nanny state regulations, reducing taxes, and cutting back wasteful government spending.

“We hope Governor Newsome enjoys his visit and is inspired to implement the key pillars of the New Hampshire Advantage in his home state—especially before he aspires to any higher office.”