DemDaily: Out of the Gate

January 2, 2019

The presidential primary began in earnest New Year's eve with the unofficial entry of US Senator Elizabeth Warren into the 2020 race for the White House.

The Massachusetts Senator is among the most well-known of a crowded primary field that could include over two dozen elected officials and business leaders of varying ages and ideologies.

Formation of a presidential exploratory committee is considered the unofficial kickoff of a candidate's campaign, where they "test the waters" of their candidacy before the voting public and media -- in advance of a formal announcement of a presidential bid.
The Committee provides a preliminary legal vehicle for ramping up the campaign operation, staff and fundraising for candidates who spend or raise more than $5,000 while contemplating a run.

Warren, who announced formation of her exploratory committee Monday, joins Congressman John Delaney (MD), and former Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (TX) as the most prominent contenders to file an exploratory or formal presidential committee.

Jon Delaney presidential announcement (Click)

As of December 20, 2018 a total of 131 individuals have filed to run for the Democratic nomination. A total of 59 individuals have filed for the Republican nomination, including President Donald Trump, who filed to run for re-election in 2020 on January 20, 2017.

Out of the Gate

John Delaney
First elected in 2012, the three-term Maryland Congressman officially declared his presidential candidacy in July of 2017.

Delaney grew up the son of an electrician whose union, IBEW, helped put him through Columbia University and Georgetown law school.

The 55 year-old, self-made millionaire and entrepreneur, who amassed his fortune in the banking and finance industry, is undeterred by the fact that no candidate from the US House has been elected President since James Garfield in 1880.

"The American people are far greater than the sum of our political parties. It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible." - John Delaney

Delaney, who has amassed a staff of 30+, has visited all 99 counties in Iowa and all ten in New Hampshire, for a total of over 300 campaign stops.
Book: The Right Answer: How We Can Unify a Divided Nation (2018)

Julian Castro announcement (click).  Pic: Eric Gay/AP

Julian Castro
The former Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama announced the formation of his exploratory committee December 12th, with a commitment to make a final decision January 12th.

The 44 year-old Harvard-educated lawyer whose grandmother immigrated to the US from Mexico as a child, became a rising star as mayor of San Antonio (2009-2014).  He drew national attention as the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote at a Democratic Convention in 2012, and was on Hillary Clinton's shortlist for VP in 2016.

"If we want to see a change in this country, we don't wait. We work. We make our future happen." - Julian Castro

Castro, whose home state of Texas delivers 38 presidential electoral votes, would be the most prominent Latino candidate and among the youngest in the field.
BookAn Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream (2018)

Unlike declared candidate committees, exploratory committees are not required to submit finance reports to the Federal Election Committee. However, once a person formally declares his or her candidacy for president, they must report cash raised and spent during the exploratory phase. If the campaign never becomes official, those records never become public.

Elizabeth Warren
US Senator Elizabeth Warren, 68, ranks in the top of most presidential picks lists and is a champion of the national progressive movement.

Senator Elizabeth Warren announced Monday (click)

Elected to the Senate in 2012, she has proved to be a formidable fundraiser for candidates nationwide, and a formdible foe to Trump.

The former law professor, author and consumer advocate has a high national profile, but one with some early missteps on the national stage that have fueled skeptics.

"I am in this fight all the way.  Right now Washington works great - for the wealthy and the well-connected. It's just not working for anyone else." - Elizabeth Warren

Warren starts with what is unquestionably the most sophisticated campaign operation, with 50+ on the payroll and a nationwide list of supporters.
Book(s): This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class (2017), A Fighting Chance (2014), nine others

Image: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Field
Warren heads to Iowa this weekend, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus February, 3, 2020, and the traditional proving ground for those testing the waters.

She is just one of at least 15 contenders who have made multiple trips to the Hawkeye state in "the Invisible Primary" of potential candidates that have been actively campaigning, raising funds, and criss-crossing early presidential primary and caucus states over the last year.

However, it is not about whoever is out of the gate first, but who can ultimately appeal to key demographic voting blocks including suburban white women, young people, and African American and Hispanic voters in the South and in the Sun Belt.

The face of the next Democratic nominee is far from being determined. Despite the number of new and racially diverse presidential aspirants, the picture is still dominated by older white men. This presents a challenge for a political party that is striving to reflect diversity and unity.

Latest Standings
A CNN/SSRA Poll, conducted December 6-9, 2018 among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents nationwide (Margin of error ± 3.8) showed Joe Biden leading with 30%, followed by Bernie Sanders (14%), Beto O'Rourke (9%), Cory Booker (5%), Kamala Harris (4%), John Kerry (4%), Elizabeth Warren (3%), Michael Bloomberg (3%) and Amy Klobuchar (3%).

Eric Holder, Kirsten Gillibrand, Steve Bullock, Sherrod Brown, Jay Inslee and Terry McAuliffe all came in at 1%, with Eric Garcetti, Julian Castro, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney and Tom Steyer trailing behind.

Next Up
Expect to see a roll out from top contenders among Congress' upper chamber: Cory Booker (NJ), Sherrod Brown (OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Kamala Harris (CA), Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Bernie Sanders (VT).

February will be a big month -- for the presidential candidates and the President -- as the country watches the launch of the presidential race, and close of the Mueller investigation.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Boston Globe, New York Times, Business Insider, Ballotpedia, Axios, CNN

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