Obama Wades Into Tight Race in California

The president helps out Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has a tight contest on her hands

President Obama is en route to Los Angeles this afternoon, where he will speak at three fundraisers (two in the same building) for incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic National Committee.

The last time Obama hit the trail and campaigned for a fellow Democrat was in February, when he traveled to Colorado to give similar treatment to Sen. Michael Bennet (brother of Atlantic editor James Bennet), attending two fundraisers. Bennet faces a close primary race against fellow Democrat Andrew Romanoff, and the incumbent senator trails one Republican challenger and leads another, both by single digits.

In campaigning for Boxer, Obama will wade into another tight contest.

The June 8 Republican primary, it appears, will come down to a contest between former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Rep. Tom Campbell (Campbell holds a four-point lead), and Boxer remains statistically tied with both of them.

Against Campbell, Boxer holds a 43%-41% advantage according to Rasmussen (poll taken April 12), and trails Campbell* 44%-43% according to mid-March polls from Field and PPIC.

Against Fiorina, Boxer leads 42%-38% according to Rasmussen (still within the April 12 poll's +/- 4.5% margin of error), 45%-44% according to Field, and 44%-43% according to PPIC.

Of course, the idea is for Obama to help Democratic candidates in tight spots. He wouldn't want to campaign for a Dem with no chances of winning; nor would he need to help raise funds for a candidate who is well ahead.

But as Marc has noted, Republicans are positioned well to succeed in California in 2010. In the gubernatorial race, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has poured tens of millions of dollars into her campaign, and she holds a slight polling edge over Democrat Jerry Brown. Boxer's race will be a tough one, too, and with two high-profile races in California, the money will be flying. Tonight, Obama will do his part to generate more of it.

*This post originally stated that Boxer led Campbell 44%-43% in the Field and PPIC polls; it was later corrected, as Campbell, in fact, led Boxer by that margin in both polls.