“Party insiders expect between six and 10 candidates to launch exploratory or formal White House bids next month, with the eventual field of Democratic contenders swelling to as many as 20, according to interviews with nearly a dozen senior Democratic strategists.” (Reuters)
WARREN. With two critical articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post, lack of enthusiasm from Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) homestate voters, "and a lot of idle political consultants," several stories are "painting a picture of a wounded Warren campaign—before it's even gotten off the ground." While some operatives dismissed the scrutiny as the lot of a presumptive front-runner, "for others, the stories emerged from real flaws in Warren's candidacy ... and thus portend an uphill slog for her to seize the nomination." (Boston Globe)
Warren "is pushing three big ideas—cracking down hard on DC lobbying, giving workers more of a say in how corporations operate, and creating 3 million new affordable housing units—and now she has found partners for all of them among key House Democrats. ... To be clear, these are largely statement bills, since they have no chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Senate, or being signed by President Donald Trump. But importantly, Warren is finding allies for her ideas in the House, where Democrats will finally be in power. She’s laying the groundwork for action on these ideas down the road." The Massachusetts Democrat "is choosing her partners in the House strategically, getting a mix of moderate and progressive House Democrats to introduce and co-sponsor her bills. At least two of these Democrats will be in House leadership next year, giving the legislation an important boost. The move serves another purpose, too. As Warren is gearing up for a potential 2020 run, she’s showing she can build coalitions with multiple factions of the Democratic Party, not just among the progressive wing where she is strongest." (Vox)
The senator invited Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over to her D.C. condo Wednesday night, but no 2020 commitments were made by either party. (New York Times)
BETO. "Here's why the political world isn't writing off a potential presidential candidate who's mainly known for a failed Senate race: The last two presidents have been disruptive candidates who didn't have much political experience either—and who weren't the nominees the party establishments wanted." Presidents Obama and Trump both lacked much—or any—political experience, and new polling from progressive MoveOn puts Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) as the most popular Democratic candidate. "That's a sign that it doesn't matter who the parties want anymore, because it's up to the voters." (Axios)
MEGA-DONORS. “Billionaire investor and Democratic donor Chris Sacca is gearing up for the 2020 presidential election, but don't expect him to be donating millions of dollars directly to candidates.
“Instead, he's going to focus on assisting the Democratic Party's eventual nominee for president through his own start-up investments. One of them, Swing Left, generated a large-scale grassroots movement to help candidates retake the U.S. House. According to its website, Swing Left raised $10 million for Democrats in swing districts, made over 2 million phone calls and knocked on 5 million doors.” (CNBC)
And mega-donor George Soros “has been telling his aides that he may not back a candidate during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary as the potentially large field sorts itself out.” In 2016, Soros boosted Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders during the primary. (CNBC)
DAGA. The Democratic Attorneys General Association “announced new leadership for the 2019-2020 cycle. Virginia AG Mark Herring will join Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum as a Co-Chair to lead the growing committee. Current Co-Chair District of Columbia AG Karl Racine will remain on DAGA’s Executive Committee while he heads into rotation to be the President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). Additionally, California AG Xavier Becerra will join the DAGA Executive Committee as Kentucky AG Andy Beshear moves off to gear up for his gubernatorial run.” (release)
HARRIS. The scene at a Wednesday speech at the Center for American Progress by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality "was Harrismania. The audience spilled out into the hallways, and the waitlist stretched to more than 100 names. ... As Harris wrapped up the speech, she paused and tried out what sounded like a new slogan. 'I’ve found myself saying recently that, if something’s worth fighting for, it’s a fight worth having.' A woman seated near the front of the room applauded vigorously. The rest of the room remained mostly silent. Harris repeated the line. ... The promise, the hype and the Huh? were all on display, writ small." (Rolling Stone)
GABBARD. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) “confirmed Wednesday night that she is ‘seriously considering’ a 2020 White House bid” during an appearance on MSNBC. (Washington Post)
MOULTON. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) on Nancy Pelosi agreeing to term limits: “These conversations have been difficult, but we’re stronger because of them. My goal has been to have party leadership that reflects the new generation of Democrats in our country and represents the people who voted for change on election day. With the agreed-upon measures, we will do that: The leaders of our caucus will no longer be determined by tenure and loyalty but by frequent and open elections, giving us a better chance to change and evolve as the country does. They will also incentivize those in power to build our bench, something our party has struggled with for years. That’s progress.” (release)
RYAN. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) “is supporting a tentative deal between ... Pelosi ... and some of her Democratic critics to impose term limits on party leaders, putting her one step closer to clinching the Speaker’s gavel.” (The Hill)
STEYER. Mega-donor Tom Steyer (D) “will host a roundtable discussion followed by a town hall meeting in Fresno, California to discuss ... the right to clean air and clean water.” (release)
Steyer “is taking a novel approach to staffing up a potential campaign for 2020: An anonymous LinkedIn page advertising ‘state director’ jobs in three of the first four states that will kick off the nominating contest. ‘A high profile political campaign based on the West Coast is seeking highly skilled political professionals to join our national campaign team,’ the job description begins.
“It describes ‘state director’ posts in Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire. Nowhere is Mr. Steyer’s name mentioned in the posting. But the language and structure matches verbatim those of job opportunities listed with one of Mr. Steyer’s other political efforts, NextGen America. Both seek, for instance, ‘prior training in anti-oppression, equity and inclusion organizing.’” (New York Times)
BROWN. In a column, George Will writes that "[i]f Democrats are looking for a lefty who can win in 2020, they should look at" Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) "as seriously as he is looking at running." More than just "muscular progressivism," Will writes that Brown's lean toward protectionism and his popularity in key Ohio regions makes him a strong contender for the party. (Washington Post)
MARYLAND. The Maryland Democratic Party “has a new executive director, Baltimore resident Ben Smith.” (Baltimore Sun)
CONNECTICUT. "Gov.-elect Ned Lamont ... is trying to recruit outgoing Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to run for chair of the state Democratic Party. On the eve of a celebratory fundraiser for the party Monday in Hartford, Lamont informed Democratic Chairman Nick Balletto that he wants to take the party in a different direction. ... The incumbent chairman is not stepping aside, even as Democrats have been buzzing about Lamont trying to recruit popular Wyman for the job." (Hartford Courant)
MICHIGAN. "Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon will not seek re-election" following a cycle that saw the party elected to the offices of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. In a statement Wednesday, Dillon highlighted his relationship with party COO Lavora Barnes, "a likely candidate to replace him for the 2020 cycle."
Dillon: "It's been an honor to lead a storied Democratic Party that fights relentlessly for Michigan's workers and their families."(Detroit News)
SEXUAL HARASSMENT. “House and Senate negotiators reached a deal Wednesday on long-stalled legislation to deal with sexual harassment in Congress, a bipartisan breakthrough that comes as Capitol Hill has weathered a series of scandals. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said he and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) briefed their respective caucuses on the deal Wednesday. They hope to pass it unanimously this week or next in the Senate, and send it to the House as a stand-alone bill to prevent it from getting tied up in a government shutdown fight.” (Politico)