The Democratic presidential primary is at the point now in which candidates jumping in two by two. Over the past weekend, little-known candidates Julian Castro and Tulsi Gabbard took the plunge. Meanwhile, two much better-known candidates are expected to make similar moves this coming weekend.
For the latest on what’s happening in the increasingly crowded race to take on President Donald Trump, check out this week’s 2020 Movers and Shakers:
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX)
He’s in, whether anybody cares or not. Castro made it official in his home town of San Antonio over the weekend. As one of the youngest candidates in the 2020 presidential field, Castro will be making a play for the old Obama coalition: young, diverse constituencies who see him as the future of the party and country. And as likely the only Latino in the race, he could have an advantage among minority communities in key states like Texas and California, both of which vote early in the primary calendar.
But Castro’s biggest disadvantage could come from his neighbor to the west on I-10. Should former Rep. Beto O’Rourke jump in the presidential race, it could take some of the wind out of Castro’s sails. O’Rourke would trump Castro on name ID and his proven fundraising capabilities would potentially limit Castro, particularly among Texas donors.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
She’s in, too! Gabbard, 37, revealed over the weekend that she is jumping in the presidential fray as well. Perhaps best known for being a vocal Bernie Sanders backer in 2016, Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran and she currently serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Like Castro, Gabbard’s candidacy is viewed as a longshot.
Not everyone in the Democratic Party applauded when Gabbard jumped in, however. Former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and former DNC Chair Howard Dean tweeted their disgust at Gabbard’s past actions, which included her flying to Syria and meeting personally with President Bashar al Assad.
Oh please. Isn’t this Assad’s ( he who commits mass murder on his own people) bestie in America? https://t.co/5MsQD00HIp
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 12, 2019
How about regretting her views on trying to cover for Assad after he killed hundreds of Syrian civilians including children by gassing them to death. https://t.co/kdzRxj6Hqz
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 14, 2019
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Keep your eyes peeled this weekend for an official announcement from Gillibrand. The Associated Press reported she is forming an exploratory committee and announcing her bid “in coming days.” Gillibrand’s traveling to Iowa for unspecified events, and many expect she’ll try to make her splash on the front end of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday weekend. She’s also made a series of senior staff hires in recent days, including former DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly to serve as the head of Gillibrand’s communications team.
Per the Associated Press, Gillibrand may select the small city of Troy, New York as her campaign headquarters. It’s an unusual choice, but it’s not far from the international airport in Albany.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
The other Democrat expected to make a presidential announcement over MLK weekend is Harris, who has recently hit both coasts on a press tour promoting her new memoir and children’s book. She appeared on ABC’s “The View,” CBS’s “Late Show,” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” At each stop, she was asked about her presidential ambitions. Her responses when asked about running president went from “I’m not ready to make an announcement,” to “I might,” to “I’ll make it soon.”
Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Harris’s political team was eyeing both a West Coast headquarters (most likely in the San Francisco Bay area) and an east coast headquarters, potentially in Baltimore, Maryland. Insiders expect Harris to announce her 2020 plans at an event in Oakland, California, where she was born.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-NY)
Responding to a shot leveled at him by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bloomberg said he would certainly self-fund his campaign, should he jump into the 2020 race. At an event in Iowa last weekend, Warren ratcheted up the populist rhetoric by arguing that billionaires don’t belong in the White House.
Bloomberg also gave a time frame for his announcement, per the AP: He told reporters he won’t make a decision on a possible presidential bid for “another month or so.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
During an NPR interview Tuesday morning, Klobuchar told Steve Inskeep, “I’m going south for the winter,” when asked about heading to Iowa. For those geographically unaware, Iowa is due south of Klobuchar’s home state of Minnesota. Few expect Klobuchar’s announcement to come around the same time as her Senate colleagues, Gillibrand and Harris.
Fun Midwest Fact: Minnesota is like Iowa's tophat. #IACaucus
— Clay Masters (@Clay_Masters) January 15, 2019