DemDaily: The Presidential Contenders: An Update

February 6, 2018

At one year away from the start of the official presidential season, the positioning for our next Democratic nominee is underway.

The tumultuous tenure of the Trump Administration has inspired a large cast of potential contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination.  DemList is dedicated to keeping you informed as the candidates start to zigzag the country and the politics of a presidential run.

Some are already strong voices on immigration, healthcare, sexual misconduct, impeachment and, of course, the Russia investigation.

The outcome of the 2018 elections and the ultimate referendum on Trump, however, will likely be the deciding factor as to who is propelled into the White House race -- on both sides of the aisle.

The jury is far from out.

Potential 2020 Democratic Presidential Contenders 
Contenders (Potential)
The Rundown
Joe Biden
Former US Vice President (Obama)
The former Vice President, 75, has been in the national spotlight for his book tour, "Promise Me Dad..." about the loss of his son Beau to brain cancer, and has been actively fundraising for candidates through American Possibilities PAC which he launched in May. It is no secret he laments not running in 2016 and he rivals Sanders in popularity polls.
Cory Booker
US Senator  (elected 2013)
New Jersey
Booker's meteoric rise from a mayor of Newark, NJ (2006-2013) to US Senator and national figure puts him on everyone's list. The 48 year-old is a visible voice in the Senate and has not ruled out a run.
Sherrod Brown
US Senator (elected 2006)
Brown, 65, was on the shortlist for Clinton's 2016 running mate. Ohio is a critical battleground state (which Trump won in 2016), and Brown is favored to win reelection to Senate in 2018. His progressive, populist politics and strong labor support paint an appealing picture.
Jerry Brown Governor 
(elected 2010)
California The 79 year-old political veteran first ran for President in 1976. He served as Governor of California from 1975 to 1983, and then again from 2010 to present (was reelected in 2014 with 60% vote). California's early March primary, and number of delegates are a major plus for anyone running from the state and, despite his age, many feel the maverick politician has what it takes to take on Trump.
Julián Castro Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary under Obama Texas Castro, 43, was on Hillary Clinton's VP shortlist. The former San Antonio mayor first drew national attention as the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote at a Democratic Convention (2012) and continues to impress. He launched the Opportunity First PAC this year and travels to New Hampshire, the first primary state, this week for a speech to young Dems.
Andrew Cuomo Governor 
(elected 2010)
New York
Cuomo, 60, has been expanding his national fundraising reach and profile, as well as his voice as a Trump critic. We can expect to see much more of him after he gets through his 2018 re-election (depending on the #s).
John Delaney Congressman (elected 2012) Maryland Delaney, who represents Maryland's Sixth District, officially declared his presidential candidacy in July.
Tulsi Gabbard Congresswoman (elected 2012) Hawaii The 36 year-old drew attention when she resigned as DNC Vice Chair to throw her support to Sanders in 2016. She is the first American Samoan and first Hindu member of Congress. It unlikely she runs if Sanders does.
Eric Garcetti Mayor of Los Angeles (elected 2013) California Of both Jewish and Mexican American descent, Garcetti was overwhelmingly reelected last year as Mayor of one of the largest US cities, and has had already made one round of the battleground states. He has gained national attention as a Trump critic on climate change and DACA, and in leaderships positions such as Chair of the Latino Alliance of the US Conference of Mayors. The 47-year old recently said he hopes "that we have mayors that run for president because they are ready." 
Kirsten Gillibrand US Senator (elected 2010) New York The 51 year-old, who succeeded Hillary Clinton in the Senate, is a leading voice on women's rights and has a PAC, Off The Sidelines, which recruits and supports women candidates for office. She has publically tangled with Trump, who most recently attacked her with a "sexist smear" saying she "would do anything" for money.
He comments on Bill Clinton's and Al Franken's sexual misconduct cases further heightened her name ID, but not all positive. It does not appear to have hampered her fundraising efforts.
Kamala Harris
US Senator (elected in 2016)
California The former California AG and now freshman Senator, 53, is a rising star and in the limelight as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a voice on healthcare and as a vocal Trump opponent - most recently calling for his resignation over accusations of sexual harassment. California's early primary could be a big boost for her candidacy. She is the first US Senator of Jamaican and Indian descent. 
John Hickenlooper
(elected 2010) 
Colorado The former Denver Mayor (2003-2011), 65, was reelected to his second term as Governor in 2014 and has a national profile as former Chair of the National Governor's Association (2014-15).  He says he will not discuss a presidential run until after his term ends next year.
Dwayne Johnson
"The Rock" is an actor and former professional wrestler who has risen to one of the top box office draws, and who said in December he is "seriously considering" a run. A popular and articulate communicator - in this environment, he can't be ruled out.
Amy Klobuchar
US Senator (elected 2006)
Klobuchar, 57, is up for reelection in 2018, but it hasn't stopped her from traveling to battleground states and fundraising events for candidates this year.  She says she is not running, but still shows up on everyone's list.
Terry McAuliffe Governor 
(elected 2013)
The popular former Governor of Virginia, 60, is fresh off his party's historic 2017 sweep and election of his Dem successor Ralph Northam. McAuliffe, a former DNC and Presidential Campaign Chair, and successful businessman, is known as an inexhaustible political and fundraising force. His tight ties to the Clintons, however, may hurt those still wanting to turn a new page.
Martin O'Malley
Former Governor
O'Malley, 54, who served as Governor from 2007-2015, and as Chair of the Democratic Governor's Association from 2011-2013, didn't gain much traction in his 2016 presidential run. He toured battleground states last year, but has been absent from the national scene of late.
Jeff Merkley US Senator (elected 2008) Oregon A progressive, he is known for his passionate voice on Wall Street reform, healthcare and in April, his 15+ hour protest on the Senate floor of Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination.  The 61 year-old was the only Senator to endorse Bernie Sanders for president, and as a Senator who convenes progressive organizations weekly, would be competing for the same base.
Christopher Murphy US Senator (elected 2013) Connecticut Murphy, 44, is an impressive lawmaker who has gained national attention fighting for gun control (Sandy Hook was his original District) and as a vocal Trump critic. In October he claimed not to be running, but watch for a shift after he is safely re-elected to the Senate (and by what #s) in 2018.
Deval Patrick
Former Governor
Patrick, 60, left office in 2015 and is now at Bain Capital (which was co-founded by Mitt Romney). Longtime floated as a presidential contender, he could expect to inherit alot of Obama's political machine. His high-profile campaigning for Senator-elect Doug Jones in the Alabama Special election has helped keep rumors going.
Tim Ryan Congressman (elected 2002) Ohio The moderate Democrat, 45, from all-important Ohio, stepped up his profile when he challenged Nancy Pelosi for the House Leadership in 2016. Ryan has been speaking in battleground states and has not ruled out a 2020 run.
Bernie Sanders US Senator (elected 2006) Vermont Officially an Independent, Sanders, 76, emerged as a leader on the left after his 2016 presidential run, and appears to be carrying his Our Revolution movement and organization into the 2020 presidential race. He tops all but Biden in national favorability so, if he doesn't run, will wield considerable weight in the primary.
Elizabeth Warren
US Senator (elected 2012)
Massachusetts Warren, 68, is at the top of many presidential picks list and a darling of the national progressive community. She is a proven fighter at the national level, and a favorite Trump foe. She should handily win her 2018 re-election and is fundraising on behalf of candidates nationwide. However it is hard to imagine Warren and kindred progressive Sanders both running.

Other names in play include Governors John Hickenlooper (CO) and Steve Bullock (MT), Mayor Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans), Congressman Seth Mouton (MA-6) and, after his star performance in delivering the Democratic response to the State of the Union, Joe Kennedy III (MA-4).

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg are still possibilities, as is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (but who is more likely to run as an independent or Republican).

Those who have officially taken themselves out of the running include former VP Candidate and US Senator Tim Kaine, businessman and philanthropist Tom Steyer and, as of last week, media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

Current Standings
A January 13-16, 2018 Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll of registered voters, Joe Biden lead with 27% among Democrats, followed by Bernie Sanders at 16%, Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey (13% each), Elizabeth Warren (10%), Cory Booker and Kamala Harris at 4% each, and finally Andrew Cuomo (2%) and Kirsten Gillibrand (1%).  Winfrey has since declined to run.

DemList will keep you informed!

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Washington Post, FiveThirtyEight, Business Insider, NBCnews, Observer, Harvard-Harris Poll, CNN, The Hill

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