Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden heads to Ohio Tuesday to help out a Democratic senator who could face a tough road to re-election next year.
Biden is the main attraction at a fundraiser for Sen. Sherrod Brown which is being held at the Terrace club at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The stadium is home to Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians.
Tuesday's small gathering of contributors should help the freshman senator as he builds up his campaign war chest. Brown raised $1.3 million in the first three months of this year, according to Brown campaign officials, who added that the senator has $2.5 million cash on hand as of April 1.
Brown doesn't have an official Republican challenger yet, but Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has taken the first formal steps towards a candidacy, allowing him to raise money. Former state Sen.Kevin Coughlin has done the same.
Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers, the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, both consider the contest competitive but rank the race right now as "Lean Democrat."
A Quinnipiac University poll conducted last month indicated that 43 percent of Ohio voters approved of the job Brown's doing as senator, with 27 percent disapproving and three in ten unsure.
By a 45-30 percent margin, likely voters said he deserves re-election and by a 45-29 percent margin, they said they would vote for him over an unnamed Republican challenger.
Then-Rep. Brown defeated Republican Sen. Mike DeWine by 12 points in 2006. President Obama carried Ohio in the 2008 presidential election, and Democrats also captured three GOP held House seats. But Republicans won big in the Buckeye state last November, recapturing the governorship and five House seats.
As the 2012 election cycle heats up, it appears the vice president appears to be ramping up the number of political events he headlines. Last month he was the main attraction at three Democratic Party events and also traveled to Florida to help Sen. Bill Nelson raise money. Earlier this month the Biden headlined a gathering in New Hampshire for Organizing for America, the grassroots outreach wing of the Democratic National Committee.