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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 CordrayConsumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency 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 RosenSenate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee House Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close MORE (Nev.), who is running to replace Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play 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'RourkeBoebert appears to carry gun on Capitol Hill in new ad 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics Mexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized MORE (D-Texas), who is running within 2 points of incumbent Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz, Seth Rogen trade insults as Twitter spat flares Biden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Ethics complaint filed against Biggs, Cawthorn and Gosar over Capitol riot 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.