Rep. Jacky Rosen's name was on the list of 81 candidates former President Barack Obama is endorsing in the 2018 midterm elections, while new polls show her race against incumbent GOP Sen. Dean Heller is closer than ever.
The high-profile endorsement could give the relative newcomer Rosen's campaign a boost in notoriety against Heller, a well-established veteran politician.
"This November, the future of the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court are at stake -- and our health care is more important than political games," Obama said in a statement. "That's why I'm with Jacky Rosen. And that's why I'm asking Nevadans to join her, and to help her take back the Senate this November."
Why is this significant?
Analysis of Obama's first round of endorsements makes it somewhat unclear what the strategy is right now, although it does show an emphasis on taking the House of Representatives, with a more muted tone toward prospects for the Senate.
According to the statement released with the endorsements, Obama's focus is on "taking back control of the U.S. House of Representatives," while the goal for the Senate is simply "growing the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus."
Rosen is the only Senate candidate to be endorsed on Obama's initial list, and it's easy to see why she was chosen -- Heller is considered the most vulnerable GOP incumbent, and having Obama's endorsement could raise Rosen's profile among voters who aren't yet familiar with her.
In his endorsement, Obama chose to highlight the Affordable Care Act as a key issue, and take a shot at Heller's somewhat complicated record on healthcare reform and ACA repeal efforts.
A Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal poll released Tuesday shows Rosen in a virtual tie with Heller, with the incumbent leading Rosen 41 percent to 40 percent and the difference being within the margin of error.
Rosen is still working to become a household name in Nevada -- the poll showed that 16 percent of likely voters still have never heard of her.