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The Sacramento Bee - Christopher Cadelago

President Barack Obama, delivering on a promise to assist legislative hopefuls across the country, swooped in Thursday to offer a rare endorsement to a trio of Democratic candidates for the California Assembly.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, in a congratulatory message posted on social media, said Obama is backing former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and fellow Democratic challengers Abigail Medina, a school board member in San Bernardino, and ex-Pleasanton Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio.

“Thanks to (Obama) for his support of Democrats up and down the ballot,” Rendon said. “As he recently reminded us, ‘Our progress is on the ballot.’”

Cook-Kallio is running against Assemblywoman Catharine Baker of Dublin, while Medina is trying to unseat Assemblyman Marc Steinorth of Rancho Cucamonga.

Obama enjoys high approval ratings across parts of California – 60 percent in a new statewide poll out Wednesday – so his seal of approval could prove pivotal for the Assembly campaigns. Democrats are campaigning to restore their two-thirds supermajorities in both houses, which would allow them to raise taxes and pass specific types of legislation without Republican support.

Kerry Townsend Jacob, a spokeswoman for Muratsuchi, who is in a rematch with Republican David Hadley, said he planned to feature Obama’s support in several aspects of the campaign, from mailers and web ads to leaflets distributed by door-to-door canvassers.

Muratsuchi said he was proud of the endorsement.

“I am the candidate who will protect a woman’s right to choose and Planned Parenthood funding, create jobs and improve our public schools. I will also stand up to powerful special interests to fight for clean air, water, and beaches,” he said in a statement.