President Obama cautioned the party faithful on Thursday not to overlook state-level midterm elections, which he lamented are not viewed as "sexy enough."
"We know how to win national elections, but all too often, it's during these midterms where we end up getting ourselves into trouble, because I guess we don't think it's sexy enough," Obama said at a Democratic Governors Association fundraising dinner. "If there's one message that I want to deliver today to every Democrat and every person who's interested in supporting Democratic policies, is that you've got to pay attention to the states."
Obama's comments come as his own former political strategist, David Axelrod, has cautioned that Democrats are too focused on the 2016 presidential race, when conservative outside groups are plowing millions of dollars into midterm races with hopes of helping Republicans win control of the Senate and House.
Democrats hold a 55-45 voting majority in the upper chamber. But 21 Democratic-controlled seats are up in 2016 compared to 15 for the Republicans.
There are also 36 gubernatorial races this year in which Republicans are defending in 22 contests.
Obama, who along with Vice President Biden is meeting again on Friday with Democratic governors, said it's crucial for Democrats to keep focused on the states ahead of November.
"The challenge we have sometimes in politics is that the national politicians and the national races get all the attention," Obama told the governors. " But so often, the action -- how our policies are actually impacting our constituents day to day -- are being determined by governors and state legislatures. "