Strategist: Dem primary favors same big names
Warren tops those who’ve made 2020 intentions clear
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.
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.