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One of Bush’s first stops that year was in February in Indiana’s 2nd District for a fundraiser benefiting Rep. Chris Chocola, who is now president of the Club for Growth. Bush had won that district by 13 points two years earlier, so there wasn’t as much of a risk for Chocola to weigh against a $625,000 boon to the campaign. The congressman still went on to lose by 8 points to Democrat Joe Donnelly, who now serves Indiana in the Senate, but he told CQ Roll Call he’d advise any campaign to always say yes to a presidential fundraiser.
“It was no surprise that I was a Bush supporter, so it was not going to change the narrative a whole heck of a lot, regardless of his popularity at the time,” Chocola said. “But the money was sure going to help deliver my message. It didn’t work out at the end, but I didn’t lose because he came.”
In Obama’s first midterm in 2010, Republicans won back the House — and came close in the Senate — in what turned out to be a GOP wave. His final weekend sprint included stops in states the president won in 2008: Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which all hosted Senate races, plus a lone rally for a House member in Charlottesville, Va. Democrats lost all but the Connecticut Senate race.
Where Obama heads in 2014 will depend on his poll numbers and the trajectory of the cycle. But even if his numbers remain low, as Republicans predict, Democrats will undoubtedly want his fundraising help — if not a picture with him.