Obama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements

Former President Obama announced his first batch of 2020 endorsements on Monday, giving support to Democrats looking to defend or flip seats in multiple tight races.

“I’m proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic, and highly qualified Democrats. Together, these candidates will help us redeem our country’s promise by sticking up for working class people, restoring fairness and opportunity to our system, and fighting for the good of all Americans — not just those at the top,” Obama said in an announcement published on Medium

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He also urged Americans, if possible, to vote early, either by mail or in-person.

Obama endorsed a range of Democrats seeking both federal and state-level offices, including candidates in four of the tightest Senate races for seats held by Republicans. 

He backed Cal Cunningham, the Democrat facing North Carolina Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisWhat Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Chamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection Airline job cuts loom in battleground states MORE (R); Theresa Greenfield, who is seeking to unseat Iowa Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstWhat Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Chamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection Senators offer disaster tax relief bill MORE (R); Sara Gideon, who is running a close race against Maine Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg Democratic senator calls for eliminating filibuster, expanding Supreme Court if GOP fills vacancy What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies MORE (R); and John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGOP campaign director: 'There's no doubt that Republicans will control the Senate' Susan Collins challenger open to nixing Senate filibuster Democrats struggle to harness enthusiasm of Gen Z voters MORE, the former Democratic Colorado governor challenging Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Chamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection MORE (R). The four races are the six Senate ones rated as a “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report. 

Obama also endorsed Jaime Harrison, a Democrat challenging Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg Democratic senator calls for eliminating filibuster, expanding Supreme Court if GOP fills vacancy What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies MORE (R-S.C.).

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Harrison said he is honored to receive Obama's endorsement and will “continue to fight to restore hope to South Carolinians in the midst of this pandemic." 

Obama’s first wave of endorsements also includes support for candidates seeking reelection in some of the tightest House races after flipping seats in the 2018 midterms, such as Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks The Hill's Coronavirus Report: iBIO Chairman and CEO Thomas Isett says developing a safe vaccine is paramount; US surpasses 150,000 coronavirus deaths with roughy one death per minute MORE (D-Ill.) and Rep. Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerTrump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts GOP leader says he doesn't want Chamber's endorsement: 'They have sold out' MORE (D-Iowa). 

He’s also backing California Democratic state Assemblywoman Christy Smith, who is running in the 25th Congressional District after losing a special election to Republican Mike Garcia in May to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillObama counsels NBA players on forming a social justice committee Republicans cast Trump as best choice for women House GOP campaign chairman insists party will win back majority MORE. Smith is looking to flip the seat back for Democrats. It was held by Republicans before Hill flipped it in 2018. 

Obama also backed Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal who defeated longtime Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse panel halts contempt proceedings against Pompeo after documents turned over Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-N.Y) in a House primary earlier this summer.