Castro Gets Almost Official, Klobuchar on the Rise, & Warren Slips Further
As 2018 winds to a close, there’s no shortage of news coming from Democrats who want to run for president. Polls, particularly those among liberal special interest groups, are giving early indications about the direction Democrats may choose to go. And some candidates are already forming exploratory committees and planning official announcements in the coming days and weeks.
For the latest updates on what 2020 Democrats are up to, check out the rundown below:
Julian Castro (D-TX)
The former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary under President Obama announced this week he’s forming an exploratory committee for a White House campaign. Castro told the Associated Press that he plans to make a formal decision by January 12.
To be clear, Castro will face enormous hurdles if he becomes a candidate. He’s the former mayor of San Antonio, but he’s never run statewide in Texas (or anywhere else). In 2016, he appeared to audition for the VP spot for Hillary Clinton but fell short. To make matters worse, the 44-year-old Castro has spent the past year watching fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke capture the hearts and imaginations of liberals across the country. In all likelihood, Castro is announcing early to try to get ahead of “Betomania,” should O’Rourke decide his time to run is now.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
After weeks of speculation, Warren saw her stock plummet when Democracy for America (DFA) released a poll of its members showing her coming in 4th place among 2020 Democrats. She trailed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, and O’Rourke in the poll that showed her in first place in 2016. The results reinforce the Boston Globe editorial that argued Warren missed her chance to run last time and the notion that a recent string of bad headlines have become setbacks to her campaign. DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain said the poll results indicate that Warren’s team has “some work to do” to win back disenchanted liberals.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
The midwestern Democrat earned double-digit support in Iowa, according to a Focus on Rural America poll released this week. At 10 percent, Klobuchar led Warren at 9 percent, and fellow Senate colleagues Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 7 percent, Cory Booker (D-NJ) at 6 percent, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) at 3 percent.
That should give Klobuchar reason to be cautiously optimistic, but it is important to note that Iowa is losing some of its influence in the 2020 cycle thanks to states like Texas and California moving their primary dates up to early March. With early voting, voters will be picking candidates in California and at the Iowa caucuses on the same day.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Gabbard’s trial balloon from a couple weeks ago has turned into a full-fledged effort, according to BuzzFeed News. “Her team is actively seeking to staff senior roles on a potential presidential campaign, according to a person briefed on the outreach, and has indicated that an announcement could come as soon as this week,” BuzzFeed’s Alexis Levinson wrote Monday.
Gabbard is a full-fledged liberal who has not shied away from bucking her party. She criticized President Obama, campaigned hard for Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary, and has an unusual (at best) relationship with Syrian President Bashar al Assad, who has killed thousands of his own people with toxic gas. She is also a veteran who served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard, with tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait.
At only 37 years-old, Gabbard’s campaign would no doubt be “unconventional,” as Levinson notes. Keep an eye on an announcement in the coming days or weeks.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
Betomentum continues as the Texas Democrat topped a MoveOn.org poll of its members last week. In an early straw poll of the liberal group’s membership, O’Rourke narrowly defeated Biden, 15.6 percent to 14.9 percent. Sanders earned 13.1 percent in the poll. In 2016, 78 percent of MoveOn members chose Sanders over Clinton in a similar poll.
Democrats supportive of O’Rourke launched a “Draft Beto” campaign Tuesday, according to Politico. The group’s goal, for now, is simple: raise $1 million for his future political campaign. But O’Rourke was the best fundraising Senate candidate in 2018, so the move is likely more about keeping the Texas congressman’s name in the news than it is about money.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Booker became the second likely 2020 Democrat to back the so-called “Green New Deal” last week. It’s the brainchild of liberal groups the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats, and the Huffington Post describes it as “the radical plan to zero out greenhouse gas emissions in a decade and reduce poverty with federally backed clean-energy jobs.” Sanders has already endorsed the plan, which was a regular part of Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stump speech on the campaign trail.
Further adding to Booker’s liberal bona fides, Vox.com founder Ezra Klein defended the New Jersey Democrat against criticisms of moderation, saying “his policies are extremely liberal and his message is spiritually radical.” That may be a good thing for Booker right now, but it won’t if he makes it out of the primary.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Women of color are very strong supporters of Harris’s potential 2020 bid. According to BuzzFeed News, a recent poll conducted by She The People found that Harris was among the top three choices of a whopping 71.1 percent of the group’s respondents. The next best candidate in the survey, O’Rourke, was in the top three among just 38.3 percent.
The survey was conducted among just 264 women across the country, but it should serve as a wake-up call to all 2020 Democrats that Harris will be a force to be reckoned with among this constituency, should she decide to run.
In other Harris news, her office announced that she just returned from Afghanistan in a likely attempt to increase her national security profile.
2020 Movers & Shakers: The Latest News on Democratic Presidential Candidates
It was a busy weekend for potential 2020 presidential candidates as a whole host of Democrats openly speculated about timelines, campaign strategy, and more. The upcoming presidential election is expected to include as many as two dozen candidates. Those in the news over the weekend include senators, a congresswoman, and a governor.
To get a breakdown of the latest moves among potential 2020 Democrats vying for the opportunity to challenge President Donald Trump, sign up for a free 7-day trial of AR Intel today!
The Top 7 Biggest Liberals Running for Congress in 2018
If the 2020 Democratic presidential jockeying already feels like an all-out race to the left, the 2018 House midterm races are a kind of proving ground for the left-wing policies that will become ubiquitous to Americans in the next two years. Medicare for All, Abolish ICE, repealing the tax cuts. Even if you’re not paying close attention, you likely already know the rallying cries.
AR Intel took a deep dive into the 2018 midterm congressional races to identify who are some of the biggest liberals running this cycle. A couple are from traditionally blue states (California and Illinois), a couple from purple states (Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), and some are from states you might never expect (Texas and Kansas).
To see the full list of the top 7 biggest liberals running for House seats in 2018, sign up for AR Intel today!
AR Intel Week Ahead: 10-15-18
With just three weeks until Election Day, debate season is in full gear in House and Senate races. Senate debates for Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, and Wisconsin are all taking place this week, along with key House races in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, and Nebraska, among many others.
Meanwhile, President Trump is hitting the road on behalf of candidates across the country. He’s in Florida Monday, surveying damage done to the panhandle coast by Hurricane Michael, and then handing out the medal of honor on Wednesday. He’ll hold rallies in Montana and Arizona later in the week.
For further details on these updates and much more, sign up for a free 7-day trial of AR Intel!
AR Intel’s 2018 Midterm Debate Look Ahead
It’s officially debate season! House and Senate candidates across the country are taking the debate stage, looking into television camera lenses, and telling voters what exactly it is they will do in office.
Given the sheer number of closely-watched races, let alone the number of debates for each race, AR Intel compiled a list of debates in some of the most critical races this fall. Take a look below of October’s “Must See TV” debates, and let us know in the comments section if we missed one important to you!
To view the AR Intel debate look ahead, sign up for a free 7-day trial of AR Intel today!
Five GOP Women Running for Congress You Could Support in the Last Five Weeks
With less than five weeks to go until Election Day, we’re finally in the final stretch of the 2018 midterms. The House is in recess until mid-November, meaning incumbents and challengers alike are hitting the campaign trail in earnest.
And while Democratic women so often get the spotlight in the mainstream media, this cycle marks perhaps the strongest group of GOP women candidates to ever run for office. When AR Intel spoke to Winning for Women’s Rebecca Schuller back in June, the executive director of the center-right group said the media’s “Year of the Woman” narrative was largely viewed “through a liberal lens.”
But in states red and blue alike, Republican women came out in droves this year to run for Congress, and many of them will win. To learn more about GOP women candidates you can support, check out AR Intel’s list highlighting five strong candidates below:
Rep. Barbara Comstock – Virginia’s 10th Congressional District
Comstock is locked in a tough battle with liberal Democrat Jennifer Wexton. The pair faced off in a debate last month, and Comstock demonstrated her “mastery of local concerns,” as the Washington Post put it. On the other hand, The Post noted that Wexton often read from note cards during the debate and “occasionally stumbled” through answers.
Comstock has worked hard to close the gap with Wexton from a June poll that showed the Democrat 10 points up. A poll released Tuesday showed Wexton ahead by just 6 points. But that result is actually within the poll’s margin of error, which was reported as between 5.1 and 7.2 percentage points.
To donate to Comstock’s campaign, click here.
Rep. Claudia Tenney – New York’s 22nd Congressional District
Tenney is a freshman congresswoman running for reelection in a toss-up district. While Trump won the district by 15 points in 2016, Gov. Mitt Romney defeated President Obama by less than a percentage point in 2012. The Cook Political Report gives the district an R+6 rating, and Tenney won her seat by a five-point margin last cycle.
Tenney has aligned herself with President Trump, who came to her district for a fundraiser in August.
Tenney is facing Democrat Anthony Brindisi, who did not face a challenger in the primary. Brindisi has been a strong fundraiser, but Tenney was able to pull in $1 million during the second quarter of 2018. Tenney argues she has been outspent in previous campaigns but prevails because she’s focused on grassroots efforts.
To help Tenney’s campaign with a donation, click here.
Maria Elvira Salazar – Florida’s 27th Congressional District
Salazar is running to replace long-time Miami congresswoman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Many assumed when Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement that the district would automatically go to Democrats, but Salazar has run an impressive campaign. Voters in the district are likely familiar with her, as she previously worked for a local TV station, MegaTV, as well as Telemundo and CNN En Español. About 57 percent of the district’s registered voters are Latino, and as the New York Times notes, “Most of them are Cuban-American, as is Ms. Salazar.”
Salazar is facing former HHS Secretary under President Clinton, Donna Shalala, who also served as president of the University of Miami. Shalala’s entrance into the Democratic primary scared away some strong candidates, but her lackluster campaign has not inspired confidence in her party’s leadership.
Salazar’s internal polling shows her leading Shalala. To support Salazar’s campaign visit her campaign website here.
Mimi Walters – California’s 45th Congressional District
Walters first won this Orange County seat in 2014 and is facing perhaps her toughest challenge yet in Democrat Katie Porter. The district is just narrowly Republican, according to the Cook Political Report, but Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016. Inside Elections rates the race as a toss-up.
Former President Obama attended a rally in support of Porter and other southern California Democrats last month.
A recent Democrat-sponsored poll showed Walters and Porter virtually tied, 47-48.
To contribute to Walters’ campaign, click here.
Diane Harkey – California’s 49th Congressional District
Harkey is facing off against Democrat Mike Levin in this San Diego-based district. The two are competing for the seat that will be vacated by retiring Rep. Darrell Issa. They also have competing endorsements – Harkey’s from President Trump and Levin’s from former President Obama.
During a recent debate, Levin was backed into a corner on the topic of impeachment when he was forced to say he’s not necessarily seeking impeachment, but “justice and the truth.” During that same debate, Harkey reiterated her support for Trump’s border wall, saying it’s “a necessity” to keep criminals and gang members out of the U.S.
To support Harkey’s campaign, click here.
How Democrats Spent Their Time on Day 1 of Questioning Brett Kavanaugh
Watching the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh can be an exhausting exercise for some. Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are given 30 minutes to ask questions of the nominee, but many of the Democrats are using their time to express their displeasure with the president, his administration, how the committee is being run, and what they believe is Kavanaugh’s “evasiveness” on certain topics.
These Democrats would do well to remember, of course, that now-Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, when asked to share their beliefs on a topic that could have come before the Supreme Court, opted to bypass answering hypotheticals, as well.
AR Intel did the dirty work of breaking down the first day of Kavanaugh questioning to determine how much time each Democrat senator gave to individual topics – some of which have nothing to do with his jurisprudence. To see that breakdown, sign up for a free 7-day trial of AR Intel!
Axios’s 5 Most Competitive 2018 Midterm House Races
With less than three months to go until the November midterms, media company Axios has put out a list of what it believes are the 5 most competitive House races this year.
This list includes tight races in states like Texas, California, and Florida, as well as smaller states like Iowa and Maine.
Want to see the list? Sign up for a free 7-day trial of AR Intel by clicking here!
These Are the Democrats Who Want to Abolish ICE (So Far)
Following the shocking victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in last week’s New York House primary, and coupled with the furor of family separations at the Mexican border, some Democrats feel comfortable with the political calculus in calling for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
To her credit, Ocasio-Cortez was for abolishing ICE before it became “cool” to do so among Democrats. But now a steady stream of liberals have voiced their support to scrap ICE altogether and “start over.”
The list of Democrats who have come out in support of abolishing ICE include at least three women widely considered to be potential 2020 presidential candidates, as well as a slew of House members and candidates. To see that full list, as well as what many of these politicians specifically said about the topic, become an AR Intel Insider today!
OFA Just Announced 27 “Priority” Districts for 2018. How Does That Stack Up to CLF?
Organizing For Action (OFA), the remnants of former President Obama’s campaign operation, announced this week that it is “prioritizing 27 districts” currently held by Republicans.
“OFA volunteer teams will organize in each district to amplify support on the ground for candidates who will actually fight for their constituents,” a statement from OFA read.
The full list of districts includes several where Donald Trump did better than Hillary Clinton. It does not include all the seats held by Republicans in districts where Clinton beat Trump, which Democrats tend to see as their best opportunities for pick-ups in November.
What exactly “prioritizing” means is unclear. What’s clearer is what’s happening on the other side of the aisle. Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the super PAC closely associated with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), appears to be beating the Democrats at their own game.
To learn in which districts each group is operating and how they compare, become an AR Intel Insider today!