Today marks the unofficial start of the 2020 presidential primary season.
Prospective Democratic candidates hoping to launch a White House bid will be out in full force campaigning for midterm candidates this weekend and into the homestretch these next 30 days.
The would-be candidates — including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (Calif.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (N.J) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (Mass.) — will be crisscrossing the country to help candidates in tight races as Democrats aim to win back the House and Senate.ADVERTISEMENT
The midterm campaigns are a tryout of sorts for 2020, strategists say.
“Campaigning vigorously in the midterms for candidates means you can test your appeal to enthusiastic voters in states and districts that may be hard to get to during the course of a presidential race,” said Democratic strategist Basil Smikle. “You also hope that the candidates you’re supporting — win or lose — may repay the favor.”
“It also helps expand fundraising terrain,” he added.
Democratic strategist Eric Jotkoff said the networking is equally as important.
“Every hand you shake is a potential volunteer for a 2020 run,” Jotkoff said. “Every person you talk to is a potential grass-roots donor. Every candidate you help is a potential endorser. And every press clip you get while campaigning for others helps boost your name ID.”
This weekend, Booker — who garnered headlines with his staunch opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — will be in Des Moines, Iowa, which holds the first Democratic caucus in January 2020. The New Jersey Democrat will headline the party’s annual fall gala — formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner — on Saturday night.
“He’s coming off a time when he got lots of exposure, and this event should be good for him,” said one Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns. “It adds some momentum.”
In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Booker said he intentionally hasn’t gone to Iowa because of the speculation on whether he would run for president.
“I think it’s irresponsible for anybody really to be focusing needed energy on an election two years and two months from now, as opposed to an election just two months from now,” Booker told the Register in early September. “Let’s put it this way: The pathway to getting a check and balance to the president of the United States, it has to go through Iowa. And that’s why I have to go through Iowa.”
Harris — who has also been front and center on the Kavanaugh hearings and is often mentioned as a potential front-runner in the 2020 race — will be in Ohio this weekend to campaign for Democrats like Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayPoll: Biden, Trump neck and neck in Ohio On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials ‘looking at’ offering coronavirus bonds Ex-CFPB director urges agency to ‘act immediately’ to help consumers during pandemic MORE and Betty Sutton, who are running for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests | Amazon pauses police use of its facial recognition tech | FBI warns hackers are targeting mobile banking apps Democratic senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests Some realistic solutions for income inequality MORE.
Harris’s office has already telegraphed that she’s in demand, announcing that the California senator will travel to Arizona to campaign for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D) Senate bid and for other races in the state. She’ll travel to Wisconsin the following weekend to stump for Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBiden launches program to turn out LGBTQ vote We need a ‘9-1-1’ for mental health — we need ‘9-8-8’ Democrats introduce bill to rein in Trump’s power under Insurrection Act MORE’s reelection campaign.
“Her star is definitely on the rise, and that’s reflected in this schedule,” the Democratic strategist said.
Other would-be candidates are also hitting the road. Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, will be in New Jersey to stump for Josh Welle, who is challenging 19-term Rep. Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithNY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus Stranded Americans accuse airlines of price gouging Lawmakers propose waiving travel fees for coronavirus evacuations abroad MORE (R).
Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says there will be consequences from fraying US-China relations; WHO walks back claims on asymptomatic spread of virus MORE (D-Md.) — who has already announced his candidacy for president and has spent considerable time in Iowa — will appear at campaign events in Texas.
Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderTrump official criticizes ex-Clinton spokesman over defunding police tweet Obama to speak about George Floyd in virtual town hall GOP group launches redistricting site MORE will be in Georgia on Sunday for Stacey Abrams’s gubernatorial run before traveling to North Carolina for a two-day visit starting on Monday.
Other prospective candidates will dive into midterm action next week: Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Warren, Pressley introduce bill to make it a crime for police officers to deny medical care to people in custody Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-N.Y.) will be in Georgia on Monday to campaign for Abrams and other candidates across the state.
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Warren will also be in Georgia for a string of events for Abrams on Tuesday.
Biden, meanwhile, begins his midterm push later in the week, on Friday, when he will travel to Indiana to campaign for Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE, a moderate Democrat who could get a much-needed boost by a visit from the former vice president. He’ll also campaign alongside retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, at a local fish fry.
“Biden is one of the few Democratic candidates who can go into red districts and draw a crowd, and that is good for a potential candidacy, especially when everyone is running so far left,” the strategist said.