MANCHESTER, N.H. - U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes will endorse presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Thursday, The Associated Press has learned.
Hodes, a first-term congressman, will make the announcement during an 8:30 a.m. event in Concord. Hodes will praise Obama as a force for change and applaud his grassroots campaign, an Obama source said.
Hodes is expected to tell the crowd that voters have an opportunity to finish what they started last year, when they ousted Republican majorities in the state House, Senate and Executive Council.
The endorsement is a major coup for the campaign, who has seen other top-tier Democrats endorse rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards. Hodes is the first member of the state's four-member congressional delegation to register an official endorsement.
Hodes is a former assistant attorney general and as a special prosecutor who won the state's first case against an environmental polluter. He entered private practice and was a leader in Concord.
Hodes ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2004 and returned two years later with an increased profile and an increased campaign budget. His criticism of President Bush and the Iraq war helped boost him ahead.
Hodes is expected to bring with him liberal activists who helped propel him to a victory over Republican Rep. Charlie Bass. Earlier this month, the Granite State poll gave him a 34 percent favorable rating in his district. He enjoys a 52 percent rating among registered Democrats and 40 percent of undeclared voters give him a favorable rating.
Hodes also is a songwriter and musician who often performs with his wife, Peggo. As Peggosus, they have recorded six albums for children and in 1996 performed at the White House.