Capitol Alert

Barack Obama endorses in three California Assembly races

President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.
President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. AP

President Barack Obama, delivering on a promise to assist legislative hopefuls across the country, swooped in Thursday to offer a rare endorsement to a trio of Democratic candidates for the California Assembly.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, in a congratulatory message posted on social media, said Obama is backing former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and fellow Democratic challengers Abigail Medina, a school board member in San Bernardino, and ex-Pleasanton Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio.

“Thanks to (Obama) for his support of Democrats up and down the ballot,” Rendon said. “As he recently reminded us, ‘Our progress is on the ballot.’”

Cook-Kallio is running against Assemblywoman Catharine Baker of Dublin, while Medina is trying to unseat Assemblyman Marc Steinorth of Rancho Cucamonga.

Obama enjoys high approval ratings across parts of California – 60 percent in a new statewide poll out Wednesday – so his seal of approval could prove pivotal for the Assembly campaigns. Democrats are campaigning to restore their two-thirds supermajorities in both houses, which would allow them to raise taxes and pass specific types of legislation without Republican support.

Kerry Townsend Jacob, a spokeswoman for Muratsuchi, who is in a rematch with Republican David Hadley, said he planned to feature Obama’s support in several aspects of the campaign, from mailers and web ads to leaflets distributed by door-to-door canvassers.

Muratsuchi said he was proud of the endorsement.

“I am the candidate who will protect a woman’s right to choose and Planned Parenthood funding, create jobs and improve our public schools. I will also stand up to powerful special interests to fight for clean air, water, and beaches,” he said in a statement.

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Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago