Former President Obama Makes His First 2018 Midterm Picks

Former President Barack Obama is making his first endorsements of the 2018 midterm elections, weighing in on behalf of 81 candidates for federal and state offices on Wednesday.

“I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent,” Obama said in a statement. “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. But first, they need our votes – and I’m eager to make the case for why Democratic candidates deserve our votes this fall.”

All of Obama’s endorsements come in states that have already held their primaries, so he’s not wading into any intraparty contests. But he did endorse earlier this year in California’s Senate race on behalf of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who faces a challenge from the more progressive former state Senate President Kevin de León because of the state’s top-two ballot system. Obama does signal there will be more endorsements forthcoming.

The former president has kept a low profile so far on the campaign trail, only appearing at closed political events, such as fundraisers so far. But with the announcement of this first round of endorsements, Obama says he plans to campaign in several states ahead of November. He’ll also continue his work with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee that’s led by his former Attorney General, Eric Holder.

Obama’s endorsements include Democrats running for the U.S. House and Senate, governor and other cabinet positions, as well as state legislatures. The only Senate race he’s endorsed in is Nevada, where Rep. Jacky Rosen will face GOP Sen. Dean Heller in the Democrats’ top pick-up opportunity. Obama didn’t endorse any incumbent senators fighting for re-election though. He also threw his weight behind Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who would be the first black woman ever elected as governor if she wins.

Obama also endorsed several congressional candidates in races critical to Democratic hopes of taking back the House in places like California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and more.

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