Party officials confirmed that the President will headline a joint fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Los Angeles on May 7, and that Obama will also serve as the main attraction at a DCCC fundraiser in San Diego.
Separately, the President will headline two fundraising events for the Democratic National Committee in Los Angeles on May 8, and will also attend a DNC reception in the San Francisco Bay area.
Thanks to presidential approval ratings hovering near all-time lows, Obama may not be in high demand on the campaign trail this year. But while there are a number of congressional Democrats facing challenging re-elections who aren’t screaming for Obama to stump with them, they do look to the President to bring in the bucks. Because when it comes to fundraising, Obama remains the party’s top rainmaker.
The President was the main attraction at Democratic fundraisers in Houston earlier this month and in Miami last month. The DNC says Obama’s headlined nearly 30 events for the party committee since the 2012 election. And he’s committed this year to do at least six fundraisers each for the DSCC and DCCC.
Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.
In the House of Representatives, Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats from the GOP to regain control of the chamber. Political handicappers consider that a tall order, considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts nationwide.
The smaller and older electorate that usually turns out during midterm contests traditionally favors Republicans over Democrats. And thanks to Obama’s low poll numbers and the unpopularity of the president’s federal healthcare law, many in the GOP are increasing optimistic about their chances come November.
But Democratic strategist Paul Begala said Obama’s doing just what a sitting president should to help his party in a midterm election year.
“Presidents in mid-term elections rarely deliver votes by old-fashioned stumping,” said Begala. “Reagan couldn’t, nor could Clinton or Bush. But what they can do are two things: raise issues and raise money. With his middle-class economic agenda, he is raising big issues: equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, pre-K, etc. Now it looks like he’s raising big money, too. That’s all a party can ask of a President in a mid-term.