- Spencer Platt/Getty Images
- Barack Obama is jumping into the midterms, with plans to campaign for Democratic candidates in California, Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
- The former president is targeting states where President Donald Trump’s popularity is low, and where Democrats have launched aggressive efforts to flip vulnerable GOP-held seats.
Barack Obama is back in campaign mode.
The former president will jump into the 2018 midterms this month, beginning with campaign events for candidates in California and Ohio, states where Democrats hope to pick off vulnerable Republicans in their quest to take control of Congress and, in the case of Ohio, state leadership, according to a New York Times report.
The tour will begin in California, where Hillary Clinton won seven of the 14 Republican-held House districts in 2016. Democrats are aggressively targeting those seats, a few of which are in Orange County, where Obama will attempt to move fiscally conservative voters who rejected Trump in 2016 onto Democratic voter rolls.
He’ll join Richard Cordray, Ohio’s Democratic nominee for governor and his former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief, on the campaign trail next Thursday.
And later this month, Obama will move on to Pennsylvania and Illinois, where he’ll support congressional and gubernatorial candidates in states he won both in 2008 and 2012.
Despite calls to reengage, Obama has largely stayed out of politics since he left office, headlining the occasional fundraiser and endorsing a list of 81 candidates. His most high-profile public appearances have been limited to non-political events, including a speech honoring Nelson Mandela in South Africa in July and a eulogy at Sen. John McCain’s funeral in Washington last weekend.
The president will reportedly steer clear of a handful of Trump-supporting red states where his presence could undermine the reelection campaigns of vulnerable Democrats. But aides told The Times that he’s figuring out a plan to support candidates in places like Georgia and Florida, where Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, both insurgent black gubernatorial candidates, won primary upsets and are running against Trump-endorsed Republicans.
Former first lady Michelle Obama has also jumped into the political fray ahead of the midterm elections, as she plans to travel across the US to encourage people to sign up to vote.