Obama releases 'first wave' of 2018 endorsements, avoids major races

Obama releases 'first wave' of 2018 endorsements, avoids major races
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Former President Obama announced a slew of campaign endorsements on Wednesday, endorsing dozens of Democrats nationwide while keeping his distance from several high-profile battles.

The former president endorsed a list of 81 Democratic candidates running at nearly every level of government, including notable endorsements for California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Ohio's Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayDennis Kucinich jumps into race to be Cleveland mayor Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies On The Money: IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 | One-fourth of Americans took financial hits in 2020: Fed MORE and Georgia's Stacey Abrams (D), who are all running for governor in their respective states.

The list only includes one endorsement for a Democratic Senate nominee, Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenWestern US airports face jet fuel shortage Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor The Hill's Morning Report - Biden renews families plan pitch; Senate prepares to bring infrastructure package to floor MORE (Nev.), who is running to replace Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDemocrat Jacky Rosen becomes 22nd senator to back bipartisan infrastructure deal 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 On The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare MORE (R-Nev.). No incumbents were included on the list, which and Obama spokesman said was mainly meant to boost challengers and newer candidates.

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Notable candidates not on the list include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), who gained a shocking primary victory over longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley (D) in New York and is favored to win the general election in November.

Also not on the list is Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBeto O'Rourke, Willie Nelson financially back Texas Democrats in elections bill fight Texans split on whether Abbott deserves reelection: poll O'Rourke considering Texas governor bid: report MORE (D-Texas), who is running within 2 points of incumbent Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia next week Here's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken MORE (R) in a recent poll of November's Senate race. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who faces a primary challenge from actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, was also not on the list.

Obama said in a statement that the chosen Democratic candidates would be called upon to 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,” said the former president.

"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."

Democrats need to pick up 23 House seats and two Senate seats in November to retake both chambers of Congress. A recent poll showed Democrats with a 7-point edge over Republicans in a generic House ballot.