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 BidenBarack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Biden: 'The America I see does not wish to turn our back on the world' MORE and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Harris calls idea of Trump trusting Putin over US intel ‘height of irresponsibility and shameful’ Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report MORE (Calif.) Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Jussie Smollett case shows media villainizing Trump and his supporters, without proof — again MORE (N.J) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Booker seeks dialogue about race as he kicks off 2020 campaign 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 CordrayOn The Money: Consumer bureau proposes scrapping borrower safeguards from payday loan rule | Negotiators running out of time to avert shutdown | Trump nominates World Bank critic as its next chief Consumer bureau proposes scrapping borrower safeguards from payday loan rule Supreme Court should do what Congress won’t: Rein in the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection MORE and Betty Sutton, who are running for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSmaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats 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 BaldwinKlobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Dems offer smaller step toward ‘Medicare for all' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid 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 Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for Dems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland House panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales MORE (R).

Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyNBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates 2020 Dem slams Green New Deal: As realistic as Trump's claim that Mexico will pay for wall Poll: Biden, Sanders, Harris early Dem favorites in New Hampshire 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 HolderBarack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Ocasio-Cortez to be first guest on new Desus and Mero show Holder says he will make 2020 decision in coming weeks 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 GillibrandWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Senate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up 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 DonnellyOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks 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.