Washington: Former president Barack Obama announced his support Wednesday for several dozen Democratic candidates for Congress and state office, signalling he is “eager” to remain a political force through November’s midterm elections.
Amid obvious signs that President Donald Trump will hit the campaign trail for Republicans over the coming months, the nation’s first African-American commander in chief is making it clear he too will campaign for several candidates ahead of the most anticipated midterm vote in years.
“I’m eager to make the case for why Democratic candidates deserve our votes this fall,” Obama said in a statement announcing his support for 81 Democrats from 14 states — people he sees as the next generation of leaders.
They include candidates in several high-profile battlegrounds, such as Harley Rouda, who is challenging vulnerable Republican incumbent congressman Dana Rohrabacher in a California race that is key to Democratic efforts to win back control of the House of Representatives.
He also backed US Senate candidate Jacky Rosen of Nevada, running neck and neck against Senator Dean Heller; and Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams, who would be the first black woman ever elected as governor of a US state.
“I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity that’s broadly shared, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,” Obama said.
About half of the favored candidates are challengers for state assemblies, including nine Democrats running for seats in the State House in notorious political battleground Ohio, and nine candidates for swing-state Colorado’s House and Senate.
Georgia’s Abrams said it was “a profound honor” to receive Obama’s endorsement. Rouda and Rosen also thanked the former president.
Obama’s office said he expects to campaign “in several states this fall” and he will issue a second round of endorsements ahead of election day.
Trump also is likely to be criss-crossing the country. The president is in his element on the campaign trail, where his fiery rallies allow him to pose as the outsider thumbing his nose at establishment politics.
He did as much Tuesday night in Florida, where he campaigned for congressman Ron DeSantis, a Trump loyalist locked in a primary battle for governor against a long-established Florida Republican.
“I don’t do these endorsements easily,” Trump said. “Although it seems to have an impact.”
Trump has indeed swayed recent races. In Georgia the candidate he endorsed in a nasty battle for governor won the Republican primary in a landslide. The same thing happened when he endorsed Alabama congresswoman Martha Roby.