FIELD OF DEMS

O'Rourke to Hire Jen O'Malley Dillon to Run Campaign

Michael Bennet is close to a presidential announcement.

March 22, 2019, 11:02 a.m.

Democratic strategist Jen O'Malley Dillon “decided this week to work” for former Rep. Beto O'Rourke’s (D-TX) campaign, "people familiar with the matter say." (CNN)

STILL NEW. “More than any other candidate for the presidency, O’Rourke admits that he does not have all the answers and will get things wrong. He thanks crowds for telling him what he did not know. He thanks reporters for being patient with him—after some complaints about access in Iowa, he began to hold 10- to 15-minute news conferences after nearly every event.”

“O’Rourke has refused to attack any Democratic rival; Bernie Sanders has pledged not to go negative on any other candidate. But the first real skirmish of the primary is underway, pitting supporters of Sanders against O’Rourke, and at the moment it’s breaking to the Texan’s benefit.” (Washington Post)

BENNET. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) “is taking the final steps toward becoming the second Colorado Democrat in the 2020 race for president, with a possible announcement coming soon… Craig Hughes, a longtime adviser, said a final decision has not been made.”

“While an announcement is not imminent, Bennet could announce within a month, the Democratic sources said.” (Denver Post)

BIDEN. Former Vice President Joe Biden, “whose fundraising lagged during his previous bids for the White House, would this time enter the race with a base of support from many of his party’s major givers, according to interviews with 20 top Obama fundraisers, who each raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help elect the former president.”

“Many of Obama’s backers say deciding which candidate or candidates to support in 2020 is difficult. But Biden, who a number of Obama’s funders count as a friend and former coworker in the administration, comes out of the gate with a crop of top-tier fundraisers ready to back his bid and other donors willing to cut personal checks to jump-start Biden’s campaign, though they might wait to throw the full power of their networks behind him.”

“Biden’s ability to put together a network of donors is a major test for the vice president—possibly moreso than for any other 2020 candidate. The small-donor digital network now so critical to the Democratic Party did not exist the last time Biden ran for office on his own, and he does not have a pre-built base of support from grassroots donors, like potential rivals such as” former Rep. Beto O’Rourke “have—though Biden did build an online presence last year for his PAC.” (Politico)

BERNIE. The Democratic Socialists of America formally endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (release)

“When Sanders heads to San Diego on Friday for the first of three California campaign rallies, the self-described democratic socialist will be asking for votes in a Democratic contest in which he’s a top-shelf candidate . He’ll be campaigning in a state that could be pivotal to choosing the Democratic nominee. And unlike the state’s end-of-the-line primary in 2016, California is voting near the front of the pack this time in March 2020 with hundreds of delegates at stake.

“He previewed his approach to the state on Wednesday when he spoke to striking workers in Los Angeles. He touched on familiar themes, decrying ‘a war being waged against the working people’ and California’s notoriously expensive housing costs and rents.” (AP)

BOOKER. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) “has netted the first endorsement from a sitting lawmaker in the crucial early-voting state of South Carolina. State Rep. John King… [said] that he’s chosen to back the senator from New Jersey above other hopefuls in the sprawling field in part because he feels that Booker’s experience combating corruption as mayor of Newark will help him do the same for the country as president.

“Booker returns to South Carolina on Saturday for events in Columbia and Rock Hill, a city in King’s district and where he planned to join him.” (AP)

DELANEY. Former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) “plans to open a campaign office in Davenport at the end of March, adding his eighth this year as he continues building his support network in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.” (Quad City Times)

HARRIS. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) “goes back to her political base by appearing at an event for her sorority in her home state. She will speak at the Alpha Kappa Alpha 90th Far Western Regional Conference in Los Angeles, California. (KOMO News)

KLOBUCHAR. “As chief prosecutor for Minnesota’s most populous county from 1999 to 2007,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) “declined to bring charges in more than two dozen cases in which people were killed in encounters with police. At the same time, she aggressively prosecuted smaller offenses such as vandalism and routinely sought longer-than-recommended sentences, including for minors. Such prosecutions, done with the aim of curbing more serious crimes, have had mixed results and have been criticized for their disproportionate effect on poor and minority communities.” (Washington Post)

Klobuchar “is expected to visit Michigan in May as candidates continue to target the 2020 battleground, the state party confirmed… [Klobuchar] is scheduled to speak during a women’s caucus luncheon ahead of the Michigan Democratic Party’s annual Legacy Dinner in Detroit on May 18.” (Detroit News)

MOULTON. “At a time when even long-shot presidential candidates like” spiritual guru Marianne Williamson (D) and Entrepreneur Andrew Yang (D) “attract crowds of hundreds,” Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) “came face to face with cold reality this week on a trip to South Carolina. There, at the student union of the University of South Carolina, a group of 22 students sat politely Tuesday to hear a pitch from the Salem Democrat, who is openly mulling his own bid for the White House.”

“Now, further on the outskirts of power on Capitol Hill than ever, Moulton has suggested he’s interested in a White House bid, kicking off a tour of the first states on the presidential nominating calendar.” (Boston Globe)

SCHULTZ. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (I) made a stop in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, “‘at a town hall on governing from the center’ hosted by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.”

“On Friday, Schultz will tour the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and meet with athletes, the Colorado Springs Independent reports. Schultz also reportedly plans to visit the startup incubator Techstars in Boulder during his Colorado swing” (Colorado Springs Gazette)

WARREN. “There’s no single answer for” Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) “slow start. You could blame the self-inflicted wound of the DNA test and the media’s fascination with the Bright Shiny Object of Betomania. Perhaps it’s because she’s a woman in an era in which misogyny remains all too rife. Maybe, after years in the spotlight, she feels too much like yesterday’s news. But there might be a more difficult hurdle for her to overcome: Warren may be too much of a senator.”

“But wait, you say: The last Democrat to occupy the Oval Office was a senator! Maybe that’s why, inspired by Barack Obama’s example, a half-dozen senators have already declared their 2020 candidacy, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) “might make it seven. But Obama was a historical outlier, and not just because he was the first African-American president. Before him, only two sitting senators—Warren Harding and John F. Kennedy—had been elected president.” (Politico)

Warren “will travel to New Hampshire this weekend to host an organizing event in Conway. She will also participate in a community conversation about the opioid crisis in Littleton and attend a meet and greet in Berlin.” (release)

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