Former President Obama announced dozens of campaign endorsements, asking voters to support dozens of Democratic candidates nationwide while maintaining some distance from several high-profile battles.
The former president endorsed 81 Democrats running at nearly every level of government, including two New Jersey contenders for Congress who worked in the Obama administration.
Obama said he is supporting former national security official Andy Kim (CD3) and Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski (CD7).
Kim, who ran unopposed in the primary, was one to 4 points behind Rep. Tom MacArthur in earlier polling, and tied with 42% each in a more recent survey. The Cook Political Report says the district, which Trump won by 6 percent, leans Republican.
Malinowski, who calls the Democratic Party the political face of patriotism and respect for law enforcement, is running in a district rated as a Toss Up by the Cook Political Report.
His opponent, Rep. Leonard Lance, is one of just 23 House Republicans in a district that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.
To take control over both chambers of Congress, Democrats need to gain 23 House seats and two Senate seats in November.
Obama said in a statement that the Democratic candidates on his list would restore America’s standing around the world.
“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. “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.”
A recent poll showed Democrats with a 7-point edge over Republicans in a generic ballot for Congress.
Notable among those missing from Obama’s list is incumbent US Senator Bob Menendez, who was indicted for bribery and corruption during the Obama administration.
Menendez was frequently at odds with Obama over such policy issues as diplomatic relations with Cuba and the agreement to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons, but his re-election could determine whether Democrats control the Senate, which has power to reject Supreme Court appointments and convict in the case of impeachment.
It is uncertain whether Obama is withholding his support or simply planning to announce an endorsement closer to the midterm election.
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