Former President Barack Obama on Monday unveiled a second round of endorsements for midterm Democratic candidates, this time including some high-profile leftist insurgents and backers of Medicare for All.
“The Democratic Party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we lead with conviction, principle, and bold, new ideas," Obama said in a statement accompanying the list of 260 Democrats running for governor, U.S. Senate or House, and state legislatures.
“Our incredible array of candidates up and down the ticket, all across the country, make up a movement of citizens who are younger, more diverse, more female than ever before.”
Among the most headline-grabbing names endorsed by Obama are Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who is running in a tight race for Senate for Arizona; Andrew Gillum, the progressive Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Florida; Ben Jealous, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Maryland; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the democratic socialist running for a U.S. House seat for a Bronx district.
Noticeably absent from Obama’s list—and the initial round of 81 endorsements released earlier this year—are Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who is mounting a high-profile challenge against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is running for Minnesota attorney general while facing accusations of emotional and physical abuse from an ex-girlfriend.
“It is truly an honor to receive the endorsement and support of President Barack Obama,” Gillum, currently Tallahassee’s mayor, said in a statement. “He exemplifies true patriotism and characterizes the American values that both the country and Florida are striving to recapture.”
“I'm honored to receive this endorsement from President Barack Obama," Jealous, who was formerly president of the NAACP, said of the endorsement. “Across the country, progressive candidates are seeking to build on the successes of his Administration and continue to deliver real solutions for working people. As governor, I’ll build on the Affordable Care Act as well as President Obama’s progressive economic agenda to pass serious healthcare reform as well as expand economic opportunity for all Marylanders.”
The Obama endorsements also notably include a number of candidates who support the progressive policy proposal of Medicare for All, including Nebraska congressional candidate Kara Eastman, and Massachusetts congressional candidate Ayanna Pressley, who ousted 20-year Democratic incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano by running from his left.
In a recent speech, Obama seemed to praise the host of candidates running on more progressive economic platforms.
“Democrats aren’t just running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage,” Obama said. “They're running on good new ideas like Medicare for All, giving workers seats on corporate boards, reversing the most egregious corporate tax cuts to make sure college students graduate debt-free.”