Former President Barack Obama
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WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama released his second and final list of 2020 election memos on Friday, supporting a total of 111 Democrats in state and congressional elections in 21 states.
His supporters include seven Democrats running for the US Senate, including several in the most competitive races of the year, and 29 candidates for the House of Representatives. Democrats currently have a comfortable majority in the House of Representatives and this year they have the opportunity to regain control of the Senate, which has been in Republican hands since 2014.
"I am proud to support these outstanding Democratic candidates who will work to bring the virus under control, rebuild the economy and the middle class, and protect American health care and protection from existing conditions from attack by Republicans" Obama said in a statement.
Five Democratic Senate challengers received Obama's approval: Mark Kelly in Arizona, MJ Hegar in Texas, Adrian Perkins in Louisiana and Jon Ossoff and Rev. Ralph Warnock in the two races of the Georgia Senate. Obama also endorsed two incumbents: Sens. Ben Ray Lujan from New Mexico and Gary Peters from Michigan.
The most notable endorsement was Obama's support for Warnock, who is running in a special election in Georgia to fill the Senate seat vacated by former GOP Senator Johnny Isakson.
Warnock is pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the Church of Rev. Martin Luther King, and led the prayer service at Obama's second inauguration in 2013.
Warnock is also the leading Democrat among four top candidates competing in what is known as an open or "jungle" primary class. In this type of competition, any candidate who pays the registration fees can appear on the voting slip in November. However, to win the election, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes, not just a large number. The result is usually a runoff between the top two candidates, and in Georgia that would happen in January.
The two best Republicans in the race are incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was named to the seat last year, and Rep. Doug Collins, who was reportedly President Donald Trump's choice for the Senate appointment before Governor Brian Kemp named Loeffler.
The other Democrat in the top four is businessman Matt Lieberman, son of former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who was Al Gore's runner-up in the 2000 presidential race.
Current poll averages show Loeffler and Collins with 24% and 21% of the vote, respectively, then Warnock with 19.4% and Lieberman with 10.6%. Should Lieberman get out and move his constituents to Warnock, the pastor could reasonably expect to make it to the runoff while Collins and Loeffler split the GOP vote.
Lieberman could also play spoilers and exhaust the support for Warnock, so that only the two Republicans Loeffler and Collins get into the runoff election.
Former candidate for Board of Governors, Stacey Abrams, is one of several prominent Georgian Democrats pressuring Lieberman to end the race. "We need Matt Lieberman to understand that he will not be called for this moment," Abrams said on Thursday.
Obama's approval of Warnock appears to contradict the former president's pledge earlier this year to only support Democratic candidates and avoid entering party primaries.
Obama released his first list of endorsements in August, and his office said Friday that his second round, like his first, was filled with candidates who put forward one of Obama's four goals: "To gain control of the US Senate and a majority hold in the US. " House, election of Democrats who will support a fair redistribution in 2021, supporting alumni of its campaigns and managing and promoting various emerging leaders for that time. "
Click here to read Obama's full list of endorsements.