WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will make a stop in Maryland this weekend to support Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown's campaign for governor, the White House said Tuesday.
The president plans to visit Upper Marlboro on Sunday for a rally intended to energize voters for the state's marquee political contest, which pits Brown, a Democrat, against Republican nominee Larry Hogan. Early voting begins Oct. 23.
Obama's visit follows new polling that shows Brown holding a modest lead over Hogan in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by better than two to one. Brown was 7 points ahead of Hogan in a recent poll for The Baltimore Sun.
A quarter of Brown's supporters indicated they are willing to change their minds.
"Hopefully [the rally] will energize some people to realize that there's an election, and they need to be getting pumped up," said state Sen. Paul G. Pinsky of Prince George's County.
Obama will visit the Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School on Sunday afternoon, the Brown campaign said. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees will need to secure a ticket from the Brown campaign.
The president's sagging approval ratings have led Democrats in competitive midterm races elsewhere to distance themselves from him. The Democratic candidate for Senate in Kentucky, for instance, has refused to acknowledge whether she even voted for Obama.
The president's visit on behalf of Brown underscores that he is still popular in deep blue Maryland and can sharpen attention on a local race for Democrats in the state.
Hogan said in a statement that he expects the visit will have no impact on the race.
"His campaign is getting desperate and pulling out all the stops to try to stop our bipartisan grassroots upset," Hogan said. "But it's not going to save him. A majority of Marylanders, regardless of their party affiliation, want a change in leadership."
The event is also the latest example of Brown soliciting outside help in a race he has long been favored to win. The Democratic Governors Association has paid for a barrage of television ads in recent weeks.
While Obama hasn't been on the campaign trail much in competitive states, the presiddent has been raising money for Democratic candidates across the country. He spoke in Baltimore last month at a fundraiser to benefit Senate Democrats.
Obama also visited Maryland during the state's last gubernatorial election, stumping for Gov. Martin O'Malley's reelection effort in 2010.