First lady fundraises for female candidates

Michelle Obama raised funds Monday for female Democratic Senate candidates in New York.

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"We are just six seats away from losing the Senate — just six. That’s how close these midterm elections are," the first lady said in her remarks.

She implored the crowd to back Michelle Nunn in Georgia; Natalie Tennant in West Virginia; Alison Lundergan Grimes, who's challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who's feeling the heat from speculation former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) will move to New Hampshire and challenge her; and Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who are top Republican targets. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sees all six races as vital to the party's hopes of retaining the Senate.

Democrats believe they can benefit next fall from support from women voters, a voting bloc that boosted President Obama and other Democratic candidates in 2012. 

Also spotted at the luncheon were Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), according to a White House pool report.

Obama noted how the Democratic Senate had helped pass her husband's agenda. She touted the Affordable Care Act — but didn't mention the problems with its web site —  the Recovery Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

The minimum cost to attend was $250 and more than 300 donors were in attendance, a DSCC spokesperson said, according to the pool report. The DSCC did not release a figure on how much money was raised.

Obama has upped her fundraising for the Democrats heading into the midterms.

"I hate doing this," she told the crowd. "I love you all, but I hate asking you guys for stuff — and I've gotten pretty good at it."