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Obama Campaigns for California Dems, Including Bi Woman Katie Hill

Barack Obama
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Hill and her fellow Democratic congresstional candidates will help to "restore some sanity in our politics," the former president said.

Barack Obama came to Southern California Saturday to campaign for Democratic congressional candidates, including Katie Hill, the bisexual woman challenging homophobic incumbent Steve Knight, and Harley Rouda, a former Republican taking on another deeply anti-LGBTQ incumbent, Dana Rohrabacher.

Obama spoke at a rally in Anaheim, in the traditionally conservative stronghold of Orange County. It was the former president's "first appearance on behalf of specific candidates," CBS News reports.

"Today, what I really want to do is highlight the extraordinary collection of candidates who have decided to step up and bring out the best in our country," Obama said.

The seven candidates he spoke about are all running for seats in the U.S. House currently held by Republicans. Besides Hill and Rouda, the candidates are Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, Mike Levin, T.J. Cox, and Josh Harder. The districts where Rouda, Cisneros, Porter, and Levin are running include at least part of Orange County; Cox and Harder are running in the state's Central Valley; and Hill's district encompasses portions of Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Her rival, Knight, is the only Republican still representing any part of Los Angeles County.

All the districts, despite their traditional conservatism, went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, giving Democrats hope of flipping them from red to blue in this year's midterms - and perhaps give the House a Democratic majority.

"In two months we have a chance to restore some sanity in our politics," Obama said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We have a chance to flip the House of Representatives and make sure that we have checks and balances in Washington." He urged Californians to fight the "anger and division" of Donald Trump. The rally came a day after Obama gave a speech in Illinois denouncing Trump.

Hill was the only one of the spotlighted candidates unable to attend, as she had already committed to be at Los Angeles County Labor Federation Barbecue in in her district today.

"Making the decision to miss the event with President Obama wasn't easy - like so many of you, I have a deep respect for President Obama and it is an honor to have his support," Hill said in a press release. "However, I chose to stay in my district because I made a commitment to our community months ago to be there, and keeping my commitments to the people of the 25th district is the very reason I am running for office."

Her husband and parents were in Obama's audience today, however. "There is no one as moving as our former president, and I was getting regular updates about his incredible presence and how empowered they felt going into the next 59 days," she said. "I deeply thank President Obama for making California, and our democracy, a priority. This November, we will come together to fight for our American values at the ballot box."

Watch Obama's speech below.

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