Dems working out strategies to sweep Super Tuesday in 2020
Kamala Harris’ top aides are privately meeting with local Democratic leaders from Alabama to Virginia. Bernie Sanders’ team is lining up interviews with potential senior staffers in California and Texas. And Cory Booker is cultivating relationships with officials across the South.
While early voting states get a lot of attention, many of the most formidable candidates in the 2020 presidential field are preparing for what comes after that – Super Tuesday, when voters in at least 12 other states are set to cast ballots in the Democratic primary. Super Tuesday 2020 falls on March 3, but early voting will start as early as Feb. 3 in California – the same day as the Iowa Caucuses.
They have good reason to get ready now: Nearly 40 percent of all pledged delegates will be up for grabs, more than any other single day on the primary calendar.
“With the big load-up of the delegates on Super Tuesday, and with the early start of the early voting in a lot of these states, the thought that you’re going to wait and see what happens in the week beforehand, as has been in the past, that’s probably not a good equation anymore,” said Tom Hendrickson, a veteran North Carolina Democrat. “It’s going to put a premium on who can get out and actually fund a real effort in the Super Tuesday states.”
In interviews, Democrats in these Super Tuesday states – a list that includes California, Texas, and a bevy of Southern states – named Harris and Sanders as the candidates whose campaigns are doing the most outreach at this early stage, though that designation varied from state to state. Booker and Elizabeth Warren are also on the radar after recent visits.
The Sanders campaign in particular is publicly boasting of its ability to compete in every Super Tuesday state, boosted by strong fundraising and a ready-made organization of volunteers. Sanders advisers say that unlike in 2016, when their upstart campaign wasn’t able to adequately prepare for expensive multi-state primary days, they’re now readying to compete everywhere.
Meanwhile, Harris already has a state director in her home state of California, and when she announces travel plans, her campaign often notes the number of delegates at stake in that particular state. “Texas will award more than 200 delegates in the 2020 primary,” read a press release announcing a swing through Beto O’Rourke’s home turf last month. For his part, O’Rourke’s team has posted a job listing expressing interest in candidates with ties to Super Tuesday states, among others, and he is expected in North Carolina next week.
A spokeswoman for Booker’s campaign did not comment on this story, but Booker has been in touch with a number of activists connected to important Super Tuesday states, and his campaign said in a conference call with reporters Thursday that in coming weeks he will be in Georgia, California and Texas, in addition to Wisconsin and Florida, which are expected to vote later.
Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.
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