(CNN) – President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden head to Delaware Friday to try and keep Biden's old Senate seat in Democratic party hands.
Obama and Biden will team up with New Castle County executive Chris Coons, the party's Senate nominee at a fundraiser in Wilmington. The trip is Biden's third visit to his home state to help Coon's bid.
A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday indicates that Coons has 19 point lead over Republican nominee Christine O'Donnell among likely voters.
Last month O'Donnell upset longtime moderate Republican Rep. and former Gov. Mike Castle in the state's GOP primary. O'Donnell, a conservative commentator who launched unsuccessful Senate bids in 2006 and 2008, was supported and helped by Tea Party activists and by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who says she will come to Delaware to campaign for O'Donnell.
Since her primary victory, O'Donnell's been in the national spotlight for controversial comments she made years ago when she was a spokesperson for socially conservative causes. A debate between Coons and O'Donnell which was co-moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer was carried live nationally by CNN Wednesday night.
While Coon's leads by double digits in every recent poll, O'Donnell's campaign has been very successful in raising campaign cash since the candidate's primary victory.
While some have wondered why this race matters and why the president is devoting time and effort to a contest that isn't even close, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the race is "very important," evidenced by "a national news network hosting...a debate on its airwaves about it."
With control of the House and Senate in the balance during the upcoming midterm elections, Gibbs said Thursday that "we understand that every vote and every race is important."
It also doesn't hurt that Biden is from Delaware. "Obviously this one's sort of near and dear to the Vice President," Gibbs said.
The winner in November will fill out the remaining four years of Biden's final term in the Senate. Biden stepped down from his seat after his election in November 2008 as vice president. Former Biden aide Ted Kaufman was named as an interim replacement, and is not seeking a full term. After much speculation that he would run for his father's old seat, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced in late January that he would instead run for re-election as Delaware attorney general. Coon's announced days later and faced no serious opposition for the Democratic party's nomination.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn