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 BidenJoe BidenGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Trump outraises Biden in July, surpasses billion for the cycle Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTwitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation Virginia mayor refuses to resign over controversial Biden, 'Aunt Jemima' post Exclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board MORE (Calif.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEx-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets Exclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency MORE (N.J) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBill from Warren, Gillibrand and Waters would make Fed fight economic racial inequalities The other reason Democrats want Biden to shun debates The Memo: Biden faces balancing act 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 CordrayConsumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions Supreme Court ruling could unleash new legal challenges to consumer bureau Supreme Court rules consumer bureau director can be fired at will MORE and Betty Sutton, who are running for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOvernight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw Chamber of Commerce, banking industry groups call on Senate to pass corporate diversity bill 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 BaldwinBiden: I'll have a running mate picked next week The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided GOP to unveil COVID-19 bill Biden strikes populist tone in blistering rebuke of Trump, Wall Street 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 SmithChina sanctions Cruz, Rubio, others over Xinjiang legislation New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Republican Rep. Chris Smith easily wins primary in New Jersey MORE (R).

Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what 'policing' means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight 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 HolderObamas discuss pandemic, voting, anxiety and community in new podcast Joy Reid debut delivers 2.6 million viewers for MSNBC The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Facebook — Republicans rejigger summer convention plans 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 GillibrandProgressives soaring after big primary night Bill from Warren, Gillibrand and Waters would make Fed fight economic racial inequalities Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman 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 DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents 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.