The potential field of 2020 Democrats had yet another active week in the press. At least one candidate publicly declared he’s very serious about running; another could have a key aide jumping ship and joining a rival campaign; and two others visited New Hampshire and Iowa.
If this all sounds like a bit too much 2020 action for late 2018, you might be in the wrong place. See below for the latest news on a few of the top 2020 Democratic presidential candidates:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Long viewed as a very likely 2020 candidate, Warren has been in the news quite a bit lately, and not much of it has been positive for her. The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Mindy Myers, described as “one of the primary architects of Warren’s political rise,” is potentially jumping ship. According to the Post, Myers is “in talks with several rival campaigns,” including Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (more on him later).
Last week, Warren’s hometown paper, the Boston Globe, published an editorial saying that Warren “missed her moment in 2016” to run for president and argued that there’s “reason to be skeptical” of her 2020 candidacy.
But it wasn’t all bad news for Warren. Politico reported on Monday that the Massachusetts Democrat has $12.5 million in the bank, which puts her at least $2 million ahead of the next potential 2020 candidate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
The outgoing governor of Colorado told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday that the chances of him running for president are “more than 50-50.” That aligns with a recent Associated Press report that indicated Hickenlooper is interviewing “dozens of potential staffers and hiring a pollster and national fundraiser.”
Hickenlooper, though perhaps not receiving the national attention for doing so, is following a fairly traditional model for a presidential candidate. In September, he launched a political action committee and hired his 2014 campaign manager, Brad Komar, to run it.
Hickenlooper’s gubernatorial term ends January 8, after which an announcement could be forthcoming. Rumors in Colorado have swirled that if his presidential campaign does not get off the ground, Hickenlooper may switch gears and run for Senate against Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO).
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
Many Democrats view O’Rourke as a candidate in the model of Barack Obama. The comparisons align somewhat, though not enough for former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Still, it almost appears that O’Rourke, 46, is doing everything he can to help Democrats draw the connection themselves.
The Washington Post reported that O’Rourke met with Obama last month. For his part, Obama called O’Rourke an “impressive young man.” But the Obama modeling goes beyond meetings and platitudes. O’Rourke’s team has reportedly been speaking to Obama political operatives in New Hampshire and Iowa. On Friday, top Obama fundraiser and Chicago financier Louis Susman told CNN he would raise campaign money for O’Rourke, should he decide to run for president in 2020. And BuzzFeed reported that O’Rourke spoke to the Rev. Al Sharpton on Friday.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
A senior aide to Harris resigned on Wednesday after the Sacramento Bee inquired with her office about a $400,000 sexual harassment settlement paid by her aide, Larry Wallace, in 2016. Wallace worked for Harris at the California Department of Justice when she served as the state attorney general. He then joined her Senate office after the Democrat took the oath of office in 2017.
Harris claimed to have no knowledge of the sexual harassment taking place at her office or of the subsequent settlement. But the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board isn’t buying it, eviscerating her in an editorial last week. “Wallace wasn’t out on the periphery of Harris’ staff; he was a senior aide she knew for 14 years — hardly a stranger. For Harris to flatly deny any knowledge of this settlement seems, shall we say, far-fetched,” the editorial board wrote.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Booker visited New Hampshire on Saturday to headline “a midterm election ‘Victory Celebration’ held by the New Hampshire Democratic Party,” according to Fox News. Booker told attendees that the visit made him “a lot more confident in making decisions going forward.” According to attendees, Booker did not address his 2020 ambitions, and some described his speech as “a sermon.”
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-NY)
The former New York City mayor visited Iowa last week, meeting with the state’s Democratic Party chairman, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA), and longtime Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who helped boost Obama’s 2007 Iowa bid. Bloomberg traveled to Des Moines and Cedar Rapids during his visit.
In what some are calling the clearest indication that Bloomberg may actually run in 2020, during his visit to Iowa he walked back criticisms he made of ethanol subsidies, which he previously described as “bad policy” in 2007. Instead, while visiting Iowa last week, Bloomberg said “ethanol and biofuels are part of the energy mix.”
The former mayor spent $100 million in 2018 to help Democratic candidates, a move that some viewed as one designed to ingratiate himself among Democratic candidates and operatives across the country.