Former President Barack Obama is preparing to stump for various Democrats as midterm elections near while some members of the party running for reelection are telling him to keep his distance.
Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota worry a surrogate like Obama could distract from focusing on their Republican opponents. Obama himself is keeping a wide berth from endorsing national campaigns in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
“We’re not going to use any surrogates. Surrogates are fine but we don’t need them,” Tester told The Hill on Saturday.
Heitkamp was even more curt, saying “nope, no” to questions about the possibility of Obama visiting North Dakota. “He threatened to campaign against me once so I don’t think he’s coming out there,” she said.
Obama endorsed Richard Cordray’s campaign for governor in Ohio, for instance, but he has not yet endorsed Sen. Sherrod Brown’s reelection campaign. Brown frequently paints himself as a Trump opponent but a senator who will nonetheless work with the president on certain issues.