Democratic senators want candidates to take Swalwell's hint and drop out

Senate Democrats hope Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week MORE’s (D-Calif.) decision to drop out of the crowded presidential field is a sign of things to come.

The anxiety in the Senate about the crowded race mimics the nervousness of Democratic voters who worry their party will blow a second presidential contest against President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE and who see the 25-candidate race as a hindrance.

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Democratic senators also see a potential silver lining to a narrowing field: They are holding out hope that candidates like Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Steve Bullock exits: Will conservative Democrats follow? MORE (D), former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Impeachment enters new crucial phase Bullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate 2020 hopes rise for gun control groups after Virginia elections MORE (D) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) could still run for the Senate.

“I’d like to get the debate into a one-night event. Right now, with 25 or whatever the number is, that’s hard to do,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinJulián Castro jabs ICE: 'Delete your account' Watchdog: Steele dossier 'had no impact' on opening of 2016 probe Horowitz: 'Very concerned' about FBI leaks to Giuliani MORE (Ill.).

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? GOP braces for Democratic spending onslaught in battle for Senate MORE (D-Mont.) said “it has to narrow down.”

Some candidates, such as Bullock, didn’t make the debate stage when 20 Democrats battled last month over two nights.

“It’s still early, but it still has to happen,” Tester said of a narrowing field. He singled out tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Krystal Ball warns about lagging youth support for Buttigieg Saagar Enjeti calls Yang's rise a 'return to the fundamentals of democracy' MORE and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing Marianne Williamson roasted for claim Trump pardoned Charles Manson Democrats take in lobbying industry cash despite pledges MORE, two long-shot candidates with low poll numbers who were both in the debate.

“For the supporters of Yang, I apologize, and the lady who writes the books,” said Tester, who complained that candidates got little time in the debate given the crowded stage.

Tester also said the big field makes it difficult for candidates who might be able to win over working-class moderates to gain any traction.

“For somebody like Bullock, if there were five or six candidates and he were one, it would improve his chances a lot. Same thing with Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first Sanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate MORE,” he said, referring to the Colorado senator.

Another Democratic senator who requested anonymity to discuss the field praised Swalwell for dropping out early and setting an example for other low-polling candidates.

“I think it’s good to narrow it down, and there will be more,” the lawmaker said. “The next probable narrowing-down is September.”

“I can’t imagine being on stage with a total of 10 people and trying to answer [questions],” the lawmaker added. “It’s a very challenging format.”

CNN will air the next round of debates in Detroit, again over two nights on July 30 and 31.

Candidates must average more than 1 percent in three qualified polls or have more than 65,000 unique donors to their campaigns to make it onstage. The 20 candidates who qualify will be notified later this month.

A second Democratic senator expressed concern that the party’s message has become too scattered because of the large field of candidates. The lawmaker warned that could give Trump and the Republican Party a big head start in delivering a unified message to voters.

“If there was a way to sort this out more quickly it would be a lot better for us,” the lawmaker said, predicting that Trump will have an uncontested path to the GOP nomination and quickly move into general-election mode.

The senator expressed disappointment that shortly after Swalwell announced his decision to drop out, billionaire Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Saagar Enjeti calls Yang's rise a 'return to the fundamentals of democracy' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - An unusual day: Impeachment plus a trade deal MORE said he would run for president and spend $100 million on his campaign.

The former hedge fund manager, however, may have trouble qualifying for the next debates in Detroit.

NBC News analyst Jonathan Allen declared Trump the winner of the first Democratic debates.

“Trump and the Republican Party are locked and loaded,” Allen said. “He’s staying on message and he’s hitting the themes and he’s going to be doing it all the way, for 16 months.”

He wrote that for long stretches of the debate the candidates seemed to forget about Trump as they fired shots at each other.

“The motivation to beat each other was, on this night, more urgent than defeating Trump — life-or-death moment for some of their campaigns,” he wrote. “Trump was the chief beneficiary of that dynamic.”

Democrats also saw some encouraging signs in the first round of debates, such as the blockbuster ratings of the second night, when former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Julián Castro jabs ICE: 'Delete your account' Pelosi endorses Christy Smith in bid to replace Katie Hill MORE (D-Calif.) clashed over federally mandated busing. Nearly 15.3 million people tuned in to watch the first night, while 18.1 million watched the second night.

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Senate Democrats hope that if the field winnows, it could free up promising candidates to run for Senate in Montana, Texas and Colorado.

“We won’t give up on anybody,” said the first Democratic senator, who is holding out hope that O’Rourke or Bullock might reconsider running against Sen. John CornynJohn CornynLive coverage: DOJ inspector general testifies on Capitol Hill Hillicon Valley: Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling | Tech legal shield makes it into trade deal | Impeachment controversy over phone records heats up | TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling MORE (R-Texas) and Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesBullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Perry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine MORE (R-Mont.), respectively.

“They have to make their own decisions, but we would certainly welcome to take another look and get back to us on their own time frame,” the senator said.

  Another Democratic senator said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (D-N.Y.) is still pursuing those prize recruits.

“I don’t think Schumer ever gives up on these guys,” the lawmaker said, noting that it took a lot of persuading to get Marine veteran Amy McGrath to run against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play House Democrats to vote on flavored e-cigarettes ban next year MORE (R-Ky.).

Tester said fellow Democratic senators are bugging him “every day” to get Bullock to change his mind and run for Senate. But he said he didn’t know what outreach Schumer had made to the governor.

A Senate Democratic strategist familiar with recruiting, however, said that Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoSenate confirms Trump's 50th circuit judge, despite 'not qualified' rating Democrats challenge South Carolina law requiring voters to disclose Social Security numbers Bicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers MORE (D-Nev.) hasn’t spoken to Bullock, O’Rourke or Hickenlooper “for months.”