Five Democratic candidates Obama is trying to save
President Obama will make a campaign swing through the West and Midwest this week, targeting five races the Democrats desperately want to win.
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For instance, if a party group pulls back on financial commitments to six House candidates – as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did last week – it’s a pretty good indication that headquarters thinks those races are lost.
But if Democrats are spending the money to gas up Air Force One and send the president on a road trip – well, he’s only going to go to places where party leaders think he can make a difference on Nov. 2. That means states where Democratic candidates might win, but might lose, too.
So you might want to closely watch the president’s travels later this week. From Wednesday into the weekend President Obama will engage in an intense few days of campaigning, swinging down the “Left Coast,” then back through the upper Midwest. His path will define a sort of Democratic Arc of Crisis – states where the tightness of key races is making party elders nervous.
Who is Mr. Obama trying to save? Here are five candidates he’ll be campaigning for:
John Kitzhaber. On Wednesday Obama currently is scheduled to jet straight from the White House to Oregon, where he will attend a fundraiser and rally for gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber. Mr. Kitzhaber is one of five ex-governors trying to win back their old office this election cycle. His opponent is Republican Chris Dudley, a former pro basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers whose star power has enabled him to stay competitive in a state that normally leans to the left.
Patty Murray. After holding a town hall meeting in the Seattle area on Thursday, Obama will swing over to a rally for Sen. Patty Murray, Washington’s endangered Democratic incumbent. A few recent polls have showed Sen. Murray with a slight lead over GOP opponent Dino Rossi, but most analysts still rate this race a pure toss-up. “Washington [state] can be unpredictable despite its blue tinge, so we’ll keep watching,” wrote University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato about this race earlier in the month.