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.
The Top 5 Debate Moments from the Past Week
Political debates are some of the most pivotal and poignant moments during any campaign. In some cases, it’s two individuals and a moderator in a room, debating the issues. In other scenarios, there’s more than two candidates and an enthusiastic audience in the room. No matter the breakdown, there’s always excitement in the air when the individuals who have stated their visions to voters, come face to face with each other.
AR Intel tracked the five most interested debate moments from the past week and compiled them here for you to see. If you can’t view the list, sign up for a free trial of 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!
The 10 Signs That Point to an Elizabeth Warren Presidential Run in 2020
Will she or won’t she? Despite the fact that there are still two months to go in the 2018 midterms, speculation about Democrats who might challenge President Trump is rapidly ramping up.
On Thursday, CNN named Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) the mostly likely Democrat to run for president in 2020. In response, America Rising PAC Executive Director Alex Wilkes released a memo that highlights the 10 best signs that Warren will take the presidential plunge.
To take a peek at the memo’s top 10 reasons, sign up for a 7-day free trial of AR Intel today!
Politico: Is This The Next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
A few weeks before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her New York congressional primary, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley spoke to roomful of young Democrats at the Bell-in-Hand, a Boston tavern that dates back to 1795. She was explaining why she should unseat a congressman who, she suggested, might as well have been in office for that long.
It wasn’t that her opponent in Massachusetts’ 7th District, 10-term Rep. Michael Capuano, had a voting record that was objectionable, or had neglected the district for a national profile—the standard complaints you hear in a primary challenge. Instead, it was a question of approach, of personal history translated to legislative priorities, of the value in filling Massachusetts’ only majority-minority district—currently served by a 66-year-old white man—with a 44-year-old black woman who has experienced the struggles of the inner city. Pressley talked, with a lyrical lilt, about growing up in Chicago with a single mother; her father’s incarceration; her survival of sexual assault. She said she’d draw renewed attention to the economic and social disparities within the district, the way income and life expectancy vary precinct by precinct.
“Voting the right way is one thing,” Pressley told the group. “But I want to lead, and I want to legislate our values.”
To read more, become an AR Intel Insider today!
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!
Boston Globe: Deval Patrick, contemplating a White House run, says he plans to ramp up his political activity this year
Here’s the plan, according to Deval Patrick: focus on Bain Capital this summer. Campaign for Democrats this fall. And then?
Patrick has previously acknowledged that running for president in 2020 is “on my radar screen.”
On Friday, he declined to say how seriously he is considering a campaign, but sketched a timeframe for ramping up his political activity this year.
To read more, become an AR Intel subscriber here.
Democrats’ Jan. & Feb. Online Fundraising: By The Numbers
While the political world awaits candidates’ fundraising totals from the first quarter of 2018, the Democrats’ online fundraising operation, known as Act Blue, published disclosures for the first two months of the year.
Unsurprisingly, the top recipient of online money through Act Blue was Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb, who on March 13 won a nationalized special election contest in suburban Pittsburgh to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA).
To find out how much he raised and see how other candidates fared, become an AR Intel Insider today.
POUNDERFILE: DSCC FOIA FUMBLE
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s (DSCC) opposition research team was in the Boston Globe yesterday for all the wrong reasons. The DSCC researchers filed a very broad Public Records Act request, a state version of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation for all communications with Beth Lindstrom, who was secretary of the office under Gov. Mitt Romney. Lindstrom is one Republican candidate vying to run against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) this year.
What did they find? A massive bill. To learn more, become an AR Intel Insider today.
PounderFile: Elizabeth Warren Already Doing a Self-Vet
Buried in a Politico story Sunday about Democrats preparing for 2020 was a golden nugget about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and opposition research. What does it mean for her 2018 reelection campaign and a potential 2020 White House bid? Become an AR Intel Insider to find out.