Democrats running for their party’s presidential nomination kept busy this week. Polls continue to show Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders at the top of the pack, but a little-known candidate from Indiana is on the rise, according to one Iowa poll.
Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke traveled to South Carolina and Nevada while Kamala Harris headed to, well, Harris County, Texas to speak to supporters in Houston. And just like Harris, critics are beginning to scrutinize Amy Klobuchar’s past career as a prosecutor.
For these stories and a whole lot more, continue reading AR Intel’s 2020 Movers & Shakers:
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Biden, the man leading the Democratic presidential primary field and who is not yet an official candidate, may be placing his campaign headquarters in Philadelphia. Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and lives in nearby Delaware. Philadelphia could serve as an important hub in a state President Trump narrowly won in 2016, and from a logistical point of view, it’s the closest large city to Biden’s home.
A new Emerson poll of Iowa Democratic caucus-goers found that Biden still leads the field, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is within the poll’s large margin of error. Biden earned 25 percent to Sanders’ 24 percent. Nationally, Biden continues to lead with a healthy margin. A Fox News poll showed Biden with 31 percent, Sanders with 23, and Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke tied with 8 percent each.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Highlighting the Golden State’s growing important in the Democrat primary calendar, Sanders traveled to California over the weekend and held a rally in San Francisco on Sunday. The event drew “thousands of supporters,” and served as a platform for the Vermont senator to give his take on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. “Well, I don’t want a summary of the report, I want the whole damn report, because no one especially this president is above the law,” Sanders said.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
The most surprising news to come out of the Emerson poll conducted in Iowa was the fact that South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in third place. He followed Biden and Sanders with 11 percent, putting him in the same league as Harris (10 percent) and Elizabeth Warren (9 percent. Prior to the poll’s release, CNN’s Dan Merica wrote that Buttigieg is “having a moment.” Earlier this month, Buttigieg attended an hour-long town hall hosted by CNN, and the mayor claims he’s seen a notable change among voters in the aftermath. People are beginning to recognize him at airports and on the street. “That’s good news but I’m trying not to let it go to my head because for every one person that stops me at the airport or on the street there’s still probably 99 who still haven’t heard our message yet,” he said.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris proposed setting aside “a large federal investment” to boost teachers’ salaries on a national scale during a campaign stop in Houston on Saturday. “Because right now, teachers are making over 10% less than other college educated graduates and that gap is about $13,000 a year, and I am pledging to you that through the federal resources that are available, we will close that gap,” she said. Politico reported Tuesday that the plan would cost $315 billion over 10 years.
During a speech at a church in Atlanta on Sunday, Harris also said older party leaders need to know “when to pass the baton” to the next generation of leaders. It’s a not-so-subtle shot at fellow 2020 candidates like Biden, 76, Sanders, 77, and Warren, 69.
On the issue of the Mueller report, Harris said Attorney General William Barr must testify before Congress.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Warren is calling for the release of Mueller’s full report, arguing that the American taxpayers paid for the investigation and deserve the right to see it in its entirety. When asked on Monday, President Trump said he would be fine with the report being release, but that the decision is ultimately up to Barr.
Warren also came out against term limits, an issue that has been debated among Democratic candidates in recent months. “Here’s the problem on term limits on folks in Congress — it makes them more dependent than ever on the lobbyist. Believe me, if the senators only stay for two terms, the lobbyist will be there a lot longer and they’ll know how the game is played,” she said during a visit to New Hampshire on Sunday.
But, during a CNN town hall, Warren did say she would get rid of the Electoral College if she could.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Klobuchar got the Harris treatment from the Washington Post on her past as a prosecutor. Just like Harris has been grilled about decisions she made as San Francisco’s prosecutor and during her time as California attorney general, Klobuchar is similarly facing questions about her 1999-2007 tenure as Hennepin County’s chief prosecutor. Klobuchar “declined to bring charges in more than two dozen cases in which people were killed in encounters with police,” according to the Washington Post. Meanwhile, she “aggressively prosecuted smaller offenses such as vandalism routinely sought longer-than-recommended sentences, including for minors.”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
O’Rourke has been busy, visiting South Carolina, where he took questions about electability and healing Democratic divisions; Las Vegas, where he addressed about 100 people on student loan debt; and Detroit, where he talked about income inequality, racism, and foreign affairs.
NBC News reported that O’Rourke could prove to be a threat to Biden on his left and Sanders on his right. But despite all the media attention O’Rourke gets, polling continues to show him distinctly in the second tier of candidates, alongside Harris and Warren, and far behind Biden and Sanders.
Bits & Pieces
In its latest piece, Mother Jones asked if former Gov. John Hickenlooper is “the fracking candidate,” focusing on his tenure in Colorado.
Languishing in the polls and getting lost in the large field of candidates, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro attempted to reassure his few supporters: “I’m confident that by the time people start voting that I’m going to do well.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) kicked off her official campaign outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan on Sunday, calling the president a “coward.” She recently earned zero percent support in Emerson’s Iowa poll.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) picked up the endorsement of South Carolina state Rep. John King last week.