Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday endorsed dozens of Democrats in races across the country, flexing his political muscle in the midterms and vowing to hit the stump for some of them before November.
Notably, the former president did not endorse liberal darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her New York House race. The 'democratic socialist' has teamed up on the campaign trail with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., but her high profile after defeating House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley in the primary has raised concerns in some corners of the party.
In New York, Obama endorsed two candidates—House hopeful Antonio Delgado and Anna Kaplan for a state Senate seat.
Among his most prominent endorsements were for Gavin Newsom for governor of California, Stacey Abrams for governor of Georgia and Jacky Rosen, the Democrat running against incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada.
“I am 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,” Obama said in a statement on Wednesday. “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.”
His list of 81 endorsements includes more than a half-dozen former administration and campaign officials.
Obama also weighed in on home state races in Illinois, offering endorsements for gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker (brother of his former Commerce secretary Penny Pritzker) and several House candidates, as well as candidate for Illinois attorney general Kwame Raoul.
Obama earlier this year endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who is in a tight Democrat-vs.-Democrat race against Kevin de Leon in November.
After the Wednesday release, Obama tweeted the endorsements, as his office said another round would be coming before November.
Republicans, though, suggested the endorsements could do more harm than good.
"No one's more to blame for how weak today's Democratic Party is than President Obama," Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens told Fox News. "He cost them over 1,000 legislative seats, decimated their state parties and voters rejected his policies at the ballot box less than two years ago."
According to Obama’s office, the former president’s endorsements were made in an effort to “help current and aspiring Democratic leaders establish themselves, build their profiles, and lead their communities.”
His office noted that some of the endorsements were given to “several promising Obama Administration and campaign alumni who heeded the President’s call in his farewell speech to 'grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.'”