Dem 2020 primary season is unofficially underway

Dem 2020 primary season is unofficially underway

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 BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenResurfaced Buttigieg yearbook named him 'most likely to be president' On The Money: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems face tricky balancing act after Mueller report MORE and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisFive former Obama ambassadors back Buttigieg Harris: Integrity of US justice system 'took a real blow' with Barr's actions Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina MORE (Calif.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerResurfaced Buttigieg yearbook named him 'most likely to be president' Man arrested for threatening Dems, citing Omar comments Buttigieg says he wouldn't be opposed to having Phish play at his inauguration MORE (N.J) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenResurfaced Buttigieg yearbook named him 'most likely to be president' The STATES Act will expose flawed marijuana legacy Impeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent MORE (Mass.) — will be crisscrossing the country to help candidates in tight races as Democrats aim to win back the House and Senate.

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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 CordrayThe road to the White House still goes through Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan announces presidential run Sherrod Brown says he will not run for president MORE and Betty Sutton, who are running for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Budowsky: 2020 Dems should debate on Fox Overnight Health Care: How 2020 Dems want to overhaul health care | Brooklyn parents sue over measles vaccination mandate | Measles outbreak nears record 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 BaldwinOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Democratic proposals to overhaul health care: A 2020 primer More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts 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 SmithMain Street businesses need permanent tax relief to grow Overnight Health Care: Lawmakers get deal to advance long-stalled drug pricing bill | House votes to condemn Trump's anti-ObamaCare push | Eight House Republicans join with Dems | Trump officials approve Medicaid expansion in Maine The 8 Republicans who voted against Trump's anti-ObamaCare push MORE (R).

Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneySeveral 2020 Dems say they're ready to face Fox News town hall Booker denies 'swipe' at John Delaney after his campaign sent fundraising email attacking Delaney The Hill's 12:30 Report: First look at 2020 money race 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 HolderFormer Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' Holder: Any 'competent' prosecutor could win obstruction case against Trump Meghan McCain to Sunny Hostin on Assange defense: 'Straight propaganda!' 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 Elizabeth GillibrandResurfaced Buttigieg yearbook named him 'most likely to be president' Court orders EPA to make final decision on banning controversial pesticide Buttigieg says he wouldn't be opposed to having Phish play at his inauguration MORE (D-N.Y.) will be in Georgia on Monday to campaign for Abrams and other candidates across the state.

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 DonnellySome in GOP fear Buttigieg run for governor Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty GOP senator issues stark warning to Republicans on health care 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.