President Obama endorses Muriel Bowser amid hard-fought D.C. mayor race

D.C. Politics

President Obama endorses Muriel Bowser amid hard-fought D.C. mayor race

By Mike DeBonis, Washington Post, October 6 at 11:00 AM

President Obama announced his endorsement Monday of D.C. mayoral candidate Muriel E. Bowser, lending the support of the nation’s most prominent Democrat to the party’s nominee amid a hard-fought campaign against two independent candidates.

In a statement released through the Bowser campaign, Obama said he was “proud” to support Bowser as “a champion for working and middle-class families, and a passionate proponent of Washington, D.C.”

“As we continue our efforts to move our country’s economy forward, I know I’ll be able to count on Muriel to expand opportunity for all,” Obama said in the statement. “That’s why I’m asking for you to vote for her in the general election this November.”

The possibility of an Obama endorsement has been the subject of much speculation since Bowser won the Democratic primary and embarked on an unusually heated general election race against fellow D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) and former council member Carol Schwartz.

As Catania and Schwartz have waged attacks on her record and readiness for office, Bowser has sought to leverage her status as the Democratic nominee in a city where 8 in 10 registered voters identify as Democrats. Her campaign literature and stump speeches have tended to prominently feature her party identification.

A NBC4/Washington Post/Marist poll conducted last month showed Bowser with a 17 point lead over Catania among likely voters, with a 4 point margin of error. A more recent poll, sponsored by a pro-business advocacy group, found an 8 point margin using a different methodology focusing on frequent voters. That result has a 3 point margin of error.

Obama has only rarely dipped his toe personally into District politics, making a 2009 visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl with former mayor Adrian M. Fenty ahead of his inauguration, then later inviting successor Vincent C. Gray for a White House lunch. The president and his Cabinet have frequently used the city as a backdrop for announcements, but their involvement in city government affairs has otherwise been perfunctory.

Bowser and Obama do not have immediate plans for an appearance together, campaign spokesman Joaquin McPeek said.

In a statement, Bowser said she was “extremely honored” to have Obama’s endorsement.

“We share a progressive vision, believing that we only succeed when opportunity is available to everyone. If the residents of the District of Columbia elect me to be their next mayor on November 4th, I will emulate the President by bringing people together to find solutions to our toughest challenges.”

Obama’s full statement:

“I am proud to endorse Democratic Councilmember Muriel Bowser in her mayoral election bid. She is a champion for working and middle-class families, and a passionate proponent of Washington, D.C.

“Muriel knows that every hardworking D.C. resident deserves the opportunity to get ahead. That’s why she has partnered with local small businesses to create jobs and fought to give the children of D.C. a fair shot by investing in our schools. As mayor, I know she’ll continue to bring people together to fight for fair wages, build on the economic progress we’ve made and ensure teachers and students have the resources they need for success from early childhood education through high school.

“As we continue our efforts to move our country’s economy forward, I know I’ll be able to count on Muriel to expand opportunity for all. That’s why I’m asking for you to vote for her in the general election this November.”

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.

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