Happy New Year, and welcome back to AR Intel. This year will be jam-packed with major political news, and at least one Democrat made sure that 2019 started with a bang.
In a move that surprised political observers in the final days of 2018, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced she was forming a presidential exploratory committee. The decision marks the first such announcement among those considered to be serious contenders for the Democrats’ nomination.
Warren will likely face more than just a handful of other candidates. For starters, her Senate colleagues Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand are all expected to jump in the race at some point. Other potential candidates include former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a whole host of others, including former Obama administration officials, governors, and congressmen and women.
But Warren, 69, went first, and that’s notable. According to the Boston Globe, Warren’s hometown paper, the decision to announce her candidacy on New Year’s Eve “was decided weeks ago.” It was designed to “allow her to staff up and build up her campaign apparatus,” according to a source who spoke to the Globe.
Every person in America should be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules, & take care of themselves & the people they love. That’s what I’m fighting for, & that’s why I’m launching an exploratory committee for president. I need you with me: https://t.co/BNl2I1m8OX pic.twitter.com/uXXtp94EvY
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 31, 2018
The early announcement will free Warren of the “will she or won’t she” charade and allow her to make inroads in key early voting states like Iowa, where she will head this weekend. Warren is expected to hold events in Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Storm Lake, and Des Moines.
Despite enjoying the status as a political outsider for years, Warren has struggled of late. A botched DNA test rollout caused some to question whether the Massachusetts Democrat actually has a finger on the pulse of Democratic primary votes. Liberal group Democracy For America released a poll showing Warren in fourth place among its members. And the Boston Globe editorial board wrote that she missed her chance to run for president in 2016.
And to make matters worse, Politico published a piece the day after her announcement titled, “Warren Battles the Ghosts of Hillary,” noting the problems Clinton faced in 2016 and the parallels to Warren. “How does Warren avoid a Clinton redux — written off as too unlikable before her campaign gets off the ground?” the piece asks.
Whether Warren is successful will be determined by the challenges she faces over the course of the next two years, which other candidates ultimately take the plunge and join her in the primary, and of course, how she handles President Trump.
For his part, the president has already given his reaction to Warren’s announcement: “Well, I’m happy about it. I think she’ll be wonderful. I hope she maybe gets the nomination. That will be a wonderful thing for me.”