Obama plans 150 down-ballot endorsements
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is taking an unprecedented step into down-ballot races in the final two weeks before the 2016 election.
The outgoing Democratic president is set to endorse 150 state legislative candidates — part of an effort to flip Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country ahead of the 2020 redistricting battle.
The endorsements will come in the form of TV and radio ads, mailers, recorded calls and statements.
Obama’s plans were first reported by Politico and confirmed to CNN by Democratic officials.
His down-ballot involvement comes as both the president and first lady Michelle Obama have taken on high-profile roles as surrogates for Hillary Clinton.
Obama’s late endorsements could help Democrats seize on what they hope will be a wave fueled by opposition to Donald Trump that could undo some of the losses in Congress and at the state legislative level that have occurred under Obama.
Already, Obama has cut TV ads for five Senate Democratic candidates: Patrick Murphy of Florida, Kamala Harris of California, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Deborah Ross of North Carolina and Katie McGinty of Pennsylvania.
He also appears in a TV spot for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and House contenders Bryan Caforio in California, Charlie Crist in Florida, Brad Schneider in Illinois, Terri Bonoff in Minnesota and Colleen Deacon in New York.
Obama has done several radio ads, as well.
That list so far includes four Senate hopefuls: Ross, McGinty, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. It also includes gubernatorial candidates Sue Minter of Vermont and Roy Cooper of North Carolina.
And House Democratic contenders Tom O’Halleran of Arizona, Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Ruben Kihuen of Nevada also got radio ads.
By Eric Bradner and Kevin Liptak