President Obama endorses McKenzie Cantrell in 38th House Dist.

11/04/2016 02:09 PM

Democratic President Barack Obama has endorsed McKenzie Cantrell in her race against Republican Rep. Denny Butler in the 38th House District in south Louisville.

Cantrell is among a group of state legislative candidates from around the country receiving endorsements from the second term president.

“We’re obviously thrilled,” Cantrell told Pure Politics Friday about the support from Obama. “We think it’s going to help with turnout. The main reason we wanted this, is to bring the concerns of this district all the way to the top.”

Cantrell reached out to Obama with a letter seeking his endorsement in late October.

In the letter, provided to Pure Politics by the campaign, Cantrell said she is prepared to address the district’s “most pressing concerns: public education, state employee pensions, healthcare and infrastructure. The number one issue that I discuss with voters is the heroin and opioid epidemic and its relationship to rising crime in our community.”

“Louisville has already surpassed its homicide rate for 2015 with no end in sight,” Cantrell continued in her letter to the president. “It is for this reason that I support universal background checks for firearms purchases, along with other commonsense gun and drug policies.”

Read the full letter to Obama here: President Obama letter Finalpdf.pdf

While Obama is not popular with much of Kentucky’s electorate, the endorsement could be a boon to the Democratic candidate. Obama won the district both in 2008 and in 2012, with an even higher margin the second time around.

The race between Cantrell and Butler is being followed by other groups in Washington D.C. as the state House of Representatives remains the last Democratic controlled body in the southern United State.

“We are thrilled that Barack Obama is endorsing our candidates in some of the most competitive races across the country,” said Jessica Post, Executive Director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in a statement. “His endorsement highlights how crucial state legislative elections are to building on the progress Obama has achieved and to continuing to move our nation forward.”

Hundreds of thousands of dollars has been spent in the 38th House District targeting both Cantrell and Butler as each party seeks control of the crucial House seat.

In her letter to Obama, Cantrell warned the White House that even though the district has strong Democratic support, she is running against “an incumbent whose father held this seat for 18 years as a Democrat and who was once a Democrat himself.”

“Your participation in this race could be boost we need to get a hardworking, first-time candidate over the finish line and working for policies that strengthen us all.”

Voters go to the polls on Tuesday, November 8 to elect their next president and state representative.


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