President Barack Obama has now endorsed two Democratic challengers in state House races in Northeast Philadelphia – Joe Hohenstein, in the 177th District, and Matt Darragh, in the 170th.
Hohenstein, facing an uphill battle against longtime GOP incumbent John Taylor, sent out a press release this morning touting the endorsement, less than a day after Darragh picked up a similar nod.
“I sought out the endorsement of President Obama because I recognize that this election is about more than just me, it’s about taking a stand against a party that has lost touch with reality,” Hohenstein said, in a prepared statement. “With President Obama’s endorsement I believe we will take back this seat from John Taylor on Tuesday.”
Both campaigns said the candidates “sought” the endorsements – using almost identical language.
Yesterday, Darragh said, "I sought the endorsement of Barack Obama because this election is not just about me, it is about standing up to the extreme Republican agenda.”
However, neither of the local campaigns would say if the phrasing of their statements had come from national Democratic groups.
Hohenstein’s opponent is viewed by some as a key player in crafting state budget compromises and as a reliably moderate GOP voice for Philadelphia in Harrisburg, and some prominent Democrats have refused to endorse Hohenstein.
The high-profile endorsements could bring some needed attention to upstarts like Hohenstein, although political analyst Terry Madonna was lukewarm on any impact the president’s imprimatur could have on their trajectories.
“I know you can use it, but is there really gonna be a big difference because of what Obama does at this stage of the election?” he asked. “The national race is taking up all voters’ attention.”
Madonna said it was more likely that the mass endorsements were part of a broader national push to gin up Democratic voter turnout for national races.
“One thing Democrats have to worry about at this stage of the presidential race is turnout, particularly in the African-American community. This is about getting out the vote for your party,” he said of Obama’s endorsements.