Warren campaign outlines 2020 path in new memo

Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign released a lengthy memo Tuesday outlining its electoral path in an unwieldy primary field that may not truly begin to winnow down until next month.

The nearly 2,000-word memo from Roger Lau, Warren’s campaign manager, comes in the aftermath of a third-place finish in last week’s Iowa caucuses and amid polls that show another third-place showing — or worse — may be coming for the senator in New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday.

Lau casts the primary field as wide open, noting that no 2020 contender thus far has been able to win support from a majority of Democratic primary and caucus voters in the polls.

“No candidate has come close yet to receiving majority support among the Democratic primary electorate, and there is no candidate that has yet shown the ability to consolidate support,” he wrote. “As we’ve seen in the last week, debates and unexpected results have an outsize impact on the race, and will likely keep it volatile and unpredictable through Super Tuesday.” 

Warren, who was thought to have an advantage in New Hampshire being from a neighboring state, has seen her standing in the Granite State dip since last week’s muddled Iowa caucuses results. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has surged in polls since his surprise victory in the Hawkeye State, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has also seen her poll results rise in the aftermath of what was widely viewed as a strong debate performance Friday.

Warren’s campaign has worked to cast her as a unity candidate who can bridge the protracted centrist-progressive divide within the Democratic Party. However, it appeared to manage expectations ahead of Tuesday night’s contest in New Hampshire and said that the campaign has a long runway in the months ahead.

“After New Hampshire tonight, 98% of pledged delegates will still be up for grabs. And as the race consolidates after Super Tuesday, we expect the results to show that Elizabeth Warren is the consensus choice of the widest coalition of Democrats in every corner of the country,” Lau wrote.

Lau repeatedly touted the Warren campaign’s infrastructure, maintaining that it will continue to compete “everywhere.” He noted that Warren was able to win delegates from both blue and red counties in Iowa and released internal projections regarding delegate viability on Super Tuesday showing a “three-way race” between Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

While Warren has largely refrained in recent weeks from publicly rebuking other 2020 competitors, the memo also ticks off a list of weaknesses the campaign sees in some of its top-tier competitors, particularly as it appears to cede ground to Sanders and Buttigieg.

“Senator Sanders starts with a ceiling that’s significantly lower than the support he had four years ago,” Lau wrote. “And he hasn’t yet faced the scrutiny of his record that will surely come with any further rise.”

“Former Mayor Buttigieg’s most significant challenge is yet to come, as the contest moves into states with more diverse electorates, and he still hasn’t answered tough questions about his record in South Bend,” he added of Buttigieg, referencing polls showing the Indiana Democrat with minuscule support among voters of color.

Lau also noted slipping poll numbers for Biden, Klobuchar’s lagging infrastructure and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s heavy investiture in Super Tuesday states from his personal coffers.

In spite of a string of negative headlines following Iowa and New Hampshire, Warren’s campaign expressed confidence that it is built for a long slog of picking up delegates and that it will defy skeptics about Warren’s electability. 

“The road to the Democratic nomination is not paved with statewide winner-take-all victories,” Lau wrote. “This is a district-by-district contest for pledged delegates awarded proportionally.” 

“Our campaign is no stranger to being written off or counted out early. But here’s what we do know: Warren has proven the doubters wrong before.”

Tags 2020 Democratic primary Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg Warren campaign
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