Raimondo to lead Dem governors, won't run for president

Raimondo to lead Dem governors, won't run for president
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NEW ORLEANS — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) will head the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) for the next year, rather than making preparations to run for president in 2020.

Raimondo won her second term in office in November, easily dispatching a Republican challenger and an independent candidate in an increasingly Democratic state. As head of the national group, she will have access to major donors and prominent fundraisers who could help fuel her future political ambitions.

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But those ambitions do not include challenging President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE.

Asked whether taking over the DGA meant she would not run for president, Raimondo said Saturday: "That is correct. Not in 2020."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) will take over for Raimondo at the end of 2019.

Democratic governors are gathered in New Orleans this weekend to hobnob with those donors, and to celebrate significant wins in the midterm elections. Democrats picked up seven previously Republican-held governorships, including offices in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine and even in deep-red Kansas.

"We can win anywhere. We can compete and win anywhere," Raimondo said in an interview. "People want results and their governor is the one delivering that."

The seven-seat swing is the largest pickup of gubernatorial seats for any party since 1994, when Republicans picked up 10 Democratic-held executive offices.

Next year's elections may prove a more significant challenge for Democrats. The three states that will elect governors in 2019 — Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi — are all deep-red territory.

"Those are three states that are not necessarily home games for the Democratic Party historically over the past 10 or 20 years," Murphy conceded in an interview.

Democrats will defend Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who will seek a second term next year. In Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood (D) has already announced his candidacy. In Kentucky, Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), son of the commonwealth's last Democratic governor, has hinted he will run against Gov. Matt Bevin (R).

Democrats now hold 23 of the nation's 50 governorships, in states that represent a majority of Americans. Republicans picked up one seat in this year's midterm elections, in Alaska, where independent Gov. Bill Walker lost his bid for a second term to Republican Mike Dunleavy.