(CNN) - Rallying Democratic governors Thursday, President Barack Obama urged his party not to overlook state-level elections because they aren't as "sexy" as national contests.
"So often, the action - how our policies are actually impacting our constituents day to day - are being determined by governors and state legislatures," Obama said at the Democratic Governors Association fundraiser at the St. Regis hotel in Washington.
"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. "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 glossed over the main points of his 2014 agenda, including income inequality, health care and the minimum wage.
There are 36 gubernatorial contests this year. Republicans are defending 22 of the 36 seats.
On the federal level, in the Senate, Democrats hold a 55-45 majority. But 21 Democratic-controlled seats are up this year, compared to only 15 Republican seats. Making matters worse for Democrats is the consensus view that the overwhelming majority of vulnerable seats are currently held by Democrats.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to meet with Democratic governors at the White House Friday.
This is the first fundraiser Obama has attended for the DGA this election cycle. The President headlined one fundraiser in the 2012 cycle.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.