Strate­gist: Dem pri­mary fa­vors same big names

War­ren tops those who’ve made 2020 in­ten­tions clear

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By SEAN PHILIP COT­TER

The Demo­cratic pri­mary field will be full of dreams, but ex­pect the names you’ve heard a lot al­ready to be the same names that top the group as the elec­tion cy­cle wears on, one strate­gist said.

What’s widely ex­pected to be a crowded pri­mary to take on Pres­i­dent Trump in 2020 has started to at­tract more and more names, though it’s been mostly long-shot can­di­dates, such as Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard and for­mer Hous­ing Sec­re­tary Ju­lian Cas­tro, both an­nounc­ing late last week. Lit­tle-known U.S. Reps. Eric Swal­well and John De­laney al­ready have de­clared runs, as well.

The Bay State’s own El­iz­abeth War­ren is the big name who’s made her in­ten­tion most clear. War­ren, fresh off a suc­cess­ful se­nate re-elec­tion cam­paign, an­nounced an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee on New Year’s Eve and has been mak­ing stops in key states, such as Satur­day’s visit to New Hamp­shire.

Var­i­ous news re­ports sug­gest other top-tier can­di­dates will make the de­ci­sion on whether to pull the trig­ger in the com­ing weeks, in­clud­ing for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand of New York, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jer­sey and Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia, who’s ex­pected to an­nounce a run next week around Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“This thing is go­ing to ac­cel­er­ate very quickly,” na­tional Demo­cratic con­sul­tant Steve McMa­hon told the Her­ald. “It’s a to­tally dif­fer­ent ball­game, and it ben­e­fits the well-known and the well-funded.”

McMa­hon was re­fer­ring to how the pri­mary bat­tle be­gins on some­what dif­fer­ent turf this cy­cle, as Cal­i­for­nia is mov­ing up its pri­mary to early 2020 to in­crease its im­por­tance along­side the tra­di­tional early bell­wethers of New Hamp­shire, North Carolina and Iowa, which is also mak­ing changes by al­low­ing mail-in bal­lots.

McMa­hon said the in­evitably large field would most likely help Bi­den, who he ex­pects to have a solid es­tab­lish­ment base as the pro­gres­sive vote ends up split be­tween many can­di­dates. Though the strate­gist warned not to sleep on for­mer U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who re­cently lost a high-pro­file se­nate race but en­joyed a me­te­oric rise in na­tional promi­nence in the process.

“It’s ei­ther ‘We know Joe and Joe can win,’ or it’s ‘We want to fall in love and maybe have the next Barack Obama’ in Beto,” McMa­hon said.

STU­ART CAHILL / HER­ALD STAFF

LIKELY LEAD­ERS: Sen. El­iz­abeth War­ren, above speak­ing Satur­day in New Hamp­shire, leads the list of 2020 Demo­cratic pri­mary can­di­dates who’ve made their in­ten­tions clear. For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, below, would be among the fa­vorites, but he’s yet to for­mally an­nounce his in­ten­tion to run.

AP

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