Obama campaigns in Calif., Nevada

As the midterm election races headed into the homestretch, President Obama focused on energizing groups that traditionally support Democrats -- especially women.
By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 22, 2010; 10:48 AM

SAN FRANCISCO - President Obama will stage get-out-the-vote rallies in California and Nevada on Friday, part of a western campaign swing designed to drive up enthusiasm in the Democratic base and help two senators fend off strong Republican challenges.

After raising money for Democrats in the Bay Area on Thursday night, Obama is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Friday morning and attend a luncheon fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and former governor Jerry Brown, who is running to reclaim his old job. He will join an afternoon rally for Democrats at the University of Southern California's Alumni Park.

From there, Obama heads to Las Vegas, where he will headline a Democratic National Committee rally at a middle school. The president follows that event with an evening fundraiser for Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Obama is in the midst of a whirlwind four-day, five-state, six-city campaign swing in a last-ditch effort to rally the Democratic faithful and fortify a firewall in three western states - Washington, California and Nevada - to protect the party's Senate majority.

"As we travel around the country, although everybody recognizes that the last two years have been tough, what has been remarkable is the degree of resilience people feel and the sense that as hard as things have been, we're still going to keep on fighting to make sure that we have a better future for our kids and our grandkids," Obama said at the Democratic National Committee fundraising dinner Thursday night in the Palo Alto, Calif., home of Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue.

He also attended a fundraiser for the DNC in the Atherton, Calif., home of Anita Yu and Steve Westly. About 50 supporters attended each event, paying $30,400 per person, according to a Democratic official. The events were expected to raise $1.8 million in all.

Obama's campaigning comes as Boxer and Brown maintain slight, if statistically insignificant, leads over their respective Republican opponents, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. Polls show both races to be very close, and both national parties are pouring money into the contests.

National Democrats are monitoring the Boxer race, in particular, helping her solidify her standing because the outcome could help determine which party controls the Senate.

Reid, meanwhile, has been locked in a dead heat for months against Republican Sharron Angle, a favorite of the tea party movement. He is relying heavily on Democratic turnout efforts, and Obama's rally in Las Vegas could go a long way toward boosting enthusiasm on the ground among loyal Democratic voters.

On Saturday, Obama heads to Minnesota for a rally to support Mark Dayton, a former Senator running for governor. His race, like the California governor's contest, is considered one of the few pickup opportunities for Democrats, who are expected to lose a number of governorships this year, particularly across the Midwest.

While in Minneapolis, Obama also will headline a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee before flying back to Washington late Saturday night.

More from The Washington Post.

READ: The Fix on what Obama's last-minute campaigning means.

READ: More about the 2010 midterm elections. ruckerp@washpost.com

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