Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail Thursday for Phil Murphy, the Democratic nominee for governor in New Jersey, marking his first campaign appearance since leaving office in January.
Obama spoke at the invite-only canvas kickoff with grassroots supporters in an attempt to help propel Murphy into the seat currently held by New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Obama, who has kept a low profile in recent months with the exception of occasional statements and events, also campaigned for Ralph Northam, Democrats' pick for Virginia governor, Thursday afternoon.
Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and ex-Goldman Sachs executive, appears to be in for a smooth election day so far. He leads Republican opponent Kim Guadagno by an average of 16.5 points in the polls, according to a Real Clear Politics aggregation of recent polls. Whoever wins, the victor will replace a governor with dismal approval ratings. In June, a Quinnipiac University poll found Christie had only a 15 percent approval rating in the Garden State. The election is Nov. 7.
Scroll below for coverage of the earlier event.