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 BidenBiden invokes Ted Kennedy in defending remarks about working with segregationists Biden invokes Ted Kennedy in defending remarks about working with segregationists Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' MORE and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDemocrats asked to create ideal candidate to beat Trump pick white man: poll Democrats asked to create ideal candidate to beat Trump pick white man: poll Biden defends remarks about segregationist senators: 'Apologize for what?' MORE (Calif.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Biden defends remarks about segregationist senators: 'Apologize for what?' MORE (N.J) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Sanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Warren: 'On Juneteenth and every day: Black lives matter' 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 CordrayWatchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Watchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Kraninger's CFPB gives consumers the tools to help themselves MORE and Betty Sutton, who are running for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownFacebook's new cryptocurrency raises red flags for critics Facebook's new cryptocurrency raises red flags for critics Hillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries 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 BaldwinChris Murphy may oppose bipartisan health bill unless it addresses ObamaCare 'sabotage' Chris Murphy may oppose bipartisan health bill unless it addresses ObamaCare 'sabotage' Overnight Health Care: Poll finds most Americans misunderstand scope of 'Medicare for All' | Planned Parenthood chief readies for 2020 | Drugmakers' lawsuit ramps up fight with Trump 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 SmithHouse panel to hold hearings on SALT deduction cap House panel to hold hearings on SALT deduction cap Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill MORE (R).

Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyBiden campaign blasts 'willfully disingenuous' attacks on remark about segregationist senators Harris: 'Deeply' concerned by Biden segregationist comments Harris: 'Deeply' concerned by Biden segregationist comments 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 HolderThe most important pledge Democratic presidential candidates can make Congress and contempt: What you need to know Congress and contempt: What you need to know 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 GillibrandOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 'We fight on': 2020 Democrats mark Juneteenth 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 DonnellyConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers 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.