WASHINGTON – Former President Barack Obama is returning to the campaign trail.
This time, he’ll host campaign rallies for Democrats running in battleground states crucial to the party’s attempt to keep their slim control of Congress during the midterm elections. Republicans only need one net gain during the midterms to retake control of the 50-50 Senate, and Democrats have an eight seat advantage in the House.
Obama remains a popular figure among his party and is a welcome boost to Democrats who are running in a politically difficult environment this year. In 2018, 63% of Americans approved of the way Obama handled the presidency, according to a Gallup survey. Two years later, 75% of Democrats had a very favorable view of Obama and another 17% had a somewhat favorable view of him, according to a Monmouth University poll.
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“Given the high stakes of this year’s midterm elections, President Obama wants to do his part to help Democrats win next month,” his office said in a statement.
Obama will make campaign stops in Atlanta on Oct. 28 and in Detroit on Oct. 29, according to a statement from his office. The former president is also scheduled to hold another rally on Oct. 29 in Milwaukee.
In Michigan, Obama will campaign with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and other Democrats running for office. Whitmer is running against Republican Tudor Dixon to keep the governorship.
At the event in Milwaukee, Obama will headline a rally with Gov. Tony Evers, who is seeking reelection, and with Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is running for a Senate seat against incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Other Democrats joining Obama include Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Lt. Gov. nominee Sara Rodriguez, Attorney General Josh Kaul and Rep. Gwen Moore.
Obama has not said who he will rally with in Georgia, perhaps the most competitive battleground state. But Democrat Stacey Abrams is facing off against GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, a rematch of their 2018 gubernatorial race. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is fending off a challenge from Republican Herschel Walker.
The former president will urge rally attendees to take advantage of early voting, according to his office. He will also campaign on access to abortion, a crucial topic Democrats are campaigning on this election cycle, and voting rights.
Democrats are facing difficult political headwinds during this year’s midterms—from an economy teetering on the brink of recession to historical trends where the party in power loses seats—which the GOP has been capitalizing on. Republicans have attacked Democratic candidates by linking them to President Joe Biden—whose approval numbers remain low.
Obama remains the most popular Democrat in recent times and could boost Democratic motivation to vote.
The former president also said he wants to bring attention not just to high-profile races, but to down-ballot candidates as well.
“One of the things I want to emphasize in this midterm is the importance of looking not just at the top of the ballot, but all the way down the bottom,” Obama said on the Pod Save America podcast. “Because there are governor’s races, secretary of state’s races, state legislative races that are going to really matter.”