Democrats gained one more official candidate in the 2020 presidential field last week when Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) made it official. He quickly announced a series of early primary state hires as a show of strength in state likes Iowa and South Carolina.
Meanwhile, some of the air appears to have come out of the Beto O’Rourke trial balloon, as staffers and backers begin to look at other campaigns to join.
For those stories and more, check out AR Intel’s weekly 2020 Movers & Shakers post:
Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
Is O’Rourke’s stock falling? That’s the premise of a new McClatchy report, which found that “the early excitement is dissipating” for an O’Rourke 2020 campaign. The argument? O’Rourke had nothing to lose by running against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in deep red Texas. He raised vast amounts of money, but that could dry up when he’s challenging fellow Democrats in a presidential primary.
“He’s kind of a house of cards,” one Dem operative who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Warren, who announced on Dec. 31 she was forming an exploratory committee for president, is expected to make it official on Saturday during an event in Lawrence, Mass. For all intents and purposes, Warren is already in the presidential primary contest, but she plans to kick off an aggressive tour of early primary states following the event on Saturday. Warren is expected in New Hampshire later that same day, then will head to Iowa for a trio of events on Sunday, followed by visits to South Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, and California “in the coming weeks as part of her organizing tour,” per Mass Live.
On another note, former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) told the Boston Globe that he can’t endorse Warren, but he’ll do anything he can, short of that, to help her win the nomination.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Booker made it official on Friday, releasing a highly polished video and sitting for a series of interviews with national outlets. The announcement came as little surprise, and he’s spent the past few days announcing major staffing moves.
He hired Christale Spain to serve as his South Carolina state director and Clay Middleton to sever as his senior adviser. In Iowa, he hired Mike Frosolone to be his state director and Jim O’Hern to serve as senior adviser.
Fmr. HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX)
Castro made news on Friday by being the first 2020 Democratic candidate to call on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) to resign after a disturbing and racist photograph was revealed to have been on his medical school yearbook page. “It doesn’t matter if he is a Republican or a Democrat. This behavior was racist and unconscionable. Governor Northam should resign.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris has picked up an impressive number of congressional endorsements, the most of any candidate so far. Freshman Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) endorsed Harris last week during an appearance on MSNBC. That endorsement followed that of Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who endorsed Harris a day earlier.
Harris also picked up the backing of a much lesser-known but no less significant benefactor: Susie Tompkins Buell, a longtime Hillary Clinton confidant and major donor and fundraiser. “I was not planning on having any strong feelings about the 2020 elections this early in the cycle with many other hopefuls yet to announce,” she said in a statement. “But Senator Harris’s campaign rollout has been so strong and so encouraging that I am compelled to get behind her now.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Brown kicked off his “Dignity of Work” tour last week, with stops in his home state of Ohio, as well as the early Democratic primary state of Iowa. During a stop in Iowa, a farmer asked Brown about his position on tariffs. “Full disclosure, I supported the tariffs originally,” he said, adding that they should been used as a short-term negotiating tool. “Trump has made them a long-term trade policy because he’s not doing very good negotiations with China.”