by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former President Barack Obama went on a campaign blitz for Democrats in the weeks leading up to the midterm election, but has little to show for his efforts. Candidates in four of the six battleground states he visited lost big races, and those who succeeded in the other two led comfortably in the polls before he showed up, with the exception of one gubernatorial race.
The press touted his campaign push, which began in his home state of Illinois and continued into the battlegrounds of Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Georgia, as well as some relatively safe blue states, including California, Pennsylvania, and New York.
The high-profile effort was atypical for a former president, and some Democratic candidates and operatives expressed concern ahead of the election that his presence in battleground states would merely rile up the Republican base and Trump supporters, or make the race about national politics to the disadvantage of the Democratic candidates in some races. …
… Most notably, Democrat Richard Cordray failed to wrest the governor’s mansion from Republican control in Ohio — a top priority for Democrats in a state Obama won twice as president. Cordray is a protege of leading Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and directed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (her pet agency) during the Obama administration. A victory here would have demonstrated Democrats can still compete in the state, which has been controlled by Republicans since 2010, but Warren and Obama’s efforts were not enough to help him defeat Republican Mike DeWine.