Obama Not Likely To Campaign For Buono
President Barack Obama has no plans to campaign on behalf of Barbara Buono in New Jersey's gubernatorial election and is undecided about the race in Virginia according to the Associated Press.
It's the type of delicate, race-by-race calculation the White House repeatedly will have to make in the 2014, when Obama's own legacy will be on the line. Next fall, voters will decide whether to elect a Congress that will help Obama achieve his goals for his final two years in office, or whether to elect one that will block him at every turn.
Democrats are quietly conceding they'll probably lose in New Jersey, where Buono dramatically trails Christie in polling in a state that leans heavily Democratic. That means an Obama visit isn't likely unless the race tightens, the official said.
During a trip to Asbury Park last spring to see first hand New Jersey's recovery from Superstorm Sandy Obama spent most of his time with Governor Chris Christie and only met Buono at a meet-and-greet after his appearance with other Democrats.
Buono's campaign spokesman David Turner told the Star Ledger, "The Buono campaign has a good working relationship with the Democratic committees in Washington, but this race is going to come down to the people of New Jersey.
Obama Is A Big Draw
The president is a huge draw for Democratic candidates, his presence all but guaranteeing they will bring in big dollars and recruit volunteers in Democratic-leaning states and districts. That explains why they're seeking his help now, more than a year before the midterm congressional elections.
"They're all sending in their requests — 'Go here, go there,'" said Craig Smith, a White House political director under President Bill Clinton. "At the end of the day, it's this mix: How can I be helpful? What's the timing? Who do I have relationships with that I owe?"
Indeed, with only limited time for campaigning, Obama plans to get involved, both this year and next, only in close races where his efforts could realistically put the Democrat over the finish line, said a Democratic official involved with Obama's political plans who wasn't authorized to discuss strategy and requested anonymity.
But in Virginia, surveys show Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a neck-and-neck race for governor, and Democrats are eager to show that what was once a conservative stronghold is now winnable.
The Associated Press contributed to this story