Obama Warns Donors of Turnout Problems in Midterm Elections

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama warned Democratic donors Thursday night about dipping turnout in midterm elections, stressing the party's need to push women and minorities to vote in the high-stakes congressional elections this November.  

At a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Miami, Obama stressed the party gets "clobbered" without these key constituencies, according to a pool report of his remarks.

"During presidential elections, young people vote, women are more likely to vote, blacks, Hispanics more likely to vote. And suddenly a more representative cross-section of America gets out there and we do pretty well in presidential elections," said Obama. "But in midterms we get clobbered – either because we don’t think it’s important or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while."
"And the reason today is so important and the reason that I’m so appreciative for all you being here is because we’re going to have to get over that," Obama continued, referencing depressed Democratic turnout in off-year elections. "This is a top priority."
Democrats must pick up 17 House seats in November to win the majority. But in the wake of the party's recent special election loss in Florida, operatives predict the party could lose seats in November .  

Democrats are at risk of losing their majority in the Senate, where they are defending several seats in states that did not vote for the president last cycle. Senate Democrats can lose no more than five seats to keep the majority.  

Obama also laid out the Democratic Party's competing vision with Republicans at the fundraiser, including raising the minimum wage and equal pay for women — two popular rallying cries in his party.  

"And that’s what not just this election but the next five elections are going to be about," said Obama.  

President Obama has hosted a number of fundraisers for the DCCC and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this cycle.  

Both committees have raised more money than their Republican counterparts this cycle.