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Former President Barack Obama will continue his push to turn out Democrats in the coming midterm election, headlining Friday rallies in the key Midwestern battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin.
Obama’s campaign swing through the Midwest comes at a crucial time for Democrats hoping to hold control of two critical U.S. Senate seats, flip two gubernatorial seats and capture a slew of congressional seats that could aid in the party’s hopes of re-taking the U.S. House.
In Wisconsin, Obama will participate in an afternoon rally at a Milwaukee high school with Sen. Tammy Baldwin, gubernatorial nominee Tony Evers, and congressional candidates Rep. Gwen Moore, Randy Bryce, and Dan Kohl.
Donald Trump’s narrow 2016 victory marked the first time since the 1980’s that the Badger State sided with a Republican presidential candidate, but Democrats are optimistic this cycle that they will perform well in the state and potentially unseat sitting GOP Gov. Scott Walker. A recent poll from the Marquette University Law School had the race statistically tied.
In Michigan, another Rust Belt state Trump won by a razor-thin margin in 2016, Obama will rally at a Detroit high school with Sen. Debbie Stabenow, gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer and congressional candidates Matt Longjohn, Gretchen Driskell, Elissa Slotkin, and Haley Stevens.
“We are thrilled to welcome President Obama back to Michigan, and again thank him for his steadfast work as president to save the American auto industry, the lifeblood of our state’s economy,” Brandon Dillon, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, said in a statement accompanying the announcement of Obama’s visit.
Also in attendance at the Detroit rally will be former Attorney General Eric Holder, who Obama has partnered with on redistricting reform. Michigan voters are set to vote on Proposal 2 this election, which would “create an independent commission to manage the establishment of the state’s congressional and state legislative districts,” according to the Michigan Democratic Party.
In addition to his efforts to aid Democrats in tough races this cycle, Obama has focused his attention on boosting voter turnout across the board, casting the first major election since the inauguration of President Trump as a critical moment in American history.
“The consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous for our country, for this democracy,” Obama said at a rally in Nevada earlier this week.
In a recent tweet promoting voter registration and turnout efforts, Obama also referenced the importance the Midwest had on the 2016 election, specifically Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The last presidential election turned on fewer than 100,000 votes in three states. More people go to Coachella. There’s no good excuse not to vote. Head over to https://t.co/zTCemnRMYV to check your registration, get your absentee ballot, and find out where to vote on November 6. https://t.co/LIQbltVJtz
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 17, 2018