Former President Barack Obama today endorsed Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in her increasingly narrow bid for reelection.
The boost comes as part of a national round of endorsements from Obama, who remains perhaps the most unifying figure in Democratic Party politics.
Brown finds herself in an unexpectedly close race against GOP opponent Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend). The race is considered a tossup by national pollsters.
In his endorsement, Obama praises Brown's response to the Umpqua Community College school shooting three years ago. A week after the shooting, Obama and Brown traveled to Roseburg to meet privately with bereaved families.
"When I was President, I had the opportunity to work side by side with Governor Kate Brown through some very difficult moments," Obama said in a statement today. "Her strength and compassion have always shown the real meaning of Oregon values. I'm proud to support my friend Kate Brown, and hope that in these trying times Oregonians recognize as I do that it's important to keep Oregon moving forward as an example to the nation of how to come together and get things done."
Brown adds that the Oct. 2015 UCC shooting happened eight months after her swearing-in, and that in the days after she met privately with "mothers who had lost their sons, fathers who had lost their daughters, and boys and girls who had lost the sibling they looked up to."
"It was a deeply troubling time and a profound experience," she says. "Thanks to the support of President Obama and Oregonians across the state, we can all continue to come together as a community and protect the Oregon that we love."