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

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 CordrayPoll: Biden, Trump neck and neck in Ohio On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials ‘looking at’ offering coronavirus bonds Ex-CFPB director urges agency to ‘act immediately’ to help consumers during pandemic 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 RosenThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Mnuchin sees ‘strong likelihood’ of another relief package; Warner says some businesses ‘may not come back’ at The Hill’s Advancing America’s Economy summit The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: CDC Director Redfield responds to Navarro criticism; Mnuchin and Powell brief Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups 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’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas), who is running within 2 points of incumbent Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police 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.

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