Former President Barack Obama will soon be wading back into the political fray.
Obama will be hitting the campaign trail starting this weekend, on behalf of Democratic candidates in California and Ohio, reports The New York Times.
Obama’s first campaign appearance will be in the traditionally conservative-leaning Orange County, Calif., where he will appear alongside seven Democratic challengers who are running in districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Then Obama will travel to Ohio next week, where he will appear with Richard Cordray, Obama’s former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee.
Obama also reportedly plans to campaign in Illinois and Pennsylvania as well as appearing at a fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in New York City. Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for Obama, told the Times that Obama intends to campaign to increase voter turnout in House and Senate elections more broadly, as well as in “local, down-ballot races to build the Democratic Party’s bench.”
These developments represent a marked change from Obama’s post-presidency thus far. Since leaving office, Obama has spoken at fundraising events and endorsed a number of candidates, but has largely stayed away from the campaign trail.
Aides told the Times that Obama’s schedule is still taking shape, meaning more stops could be added in the coming weeks. He is reportedly still determining how to best support several critical Democratic candidates including Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, African-American candidates for governor in Florida and Georgia respectively. But there are likely a few areas where Obama will steer clear: Trump-supporting states where Obama remains a polarizing figure.