Everyone’s Jumping in the Presidential Hot Tub - Sunday Political Brunch January 27, 2019


CHARLESTON, W. Va. – We suddenly have several Democrats announcing bids for the White House in 2020, including a couple of folks I know. Others have merely formed “exploratory committees” meaning they are leaning towards a run. The field is crowded, and I bet will balloon to around 20 by the time Iowa and New Hampshire are ripe for visiting. Let’s “brunch” about those in so far and find out more about them.

“Lots of Gab About Gabbard” – 37-year-old Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) Hawaii, is the youngest to jump in so far, but that’s probably not a big disadvantage. She’s been in Congress for six years, and before that served in the Honolulu City Council. She was born in in American Samoa, and yes, that makes her a native-born citizen. She practices the Hindu faith and served 16 years in the Army on active duty, and now in the Hawaii National Guard. Her dad is a long-time member of the Hawaii State Senate. While Hawaii does not offer a huge political or media launching pad, she has generated a lot of buzz and national press in Washington, DC. She’s not someone I had predicted would run for the White House, at least not yet.

“No, NOT that Castro!” – On the other hand, one person I did pick for a run at the White House was former San Antonio Mayor and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro. Like Gabbard, Castro is still very young at age 44. But he comes with lots of experience. Prior to being Mayor of San Antonio, he served on the City Council a number of years and has a dozen years in elected or appointed political office. He has degrees from Harvard and Stanford and his twin brother is Rep. Joaquin Castro, (D) Texas. There was speculation Joaquin might run for president, but it’s hard to imagine both. They are no relation to the political Castros of Cuba.

“California Kamala” – I got to know Kamala Harris when she served as District Attorney in San Francisco where I was a reporter for a decade. The 54-year-old lawyer rocketed from there to Attorney General of California, and then on to the U.S. Senate in 2016. Her name is often mispronounced: it’s KOM-uh-luh, not kuh-MAL-uh. She is mixed race, of Indian and Jamaican decent. Harris is close to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) California, who is also considering a White House bid someday, but perhaps not 2020. Stay tuned.

“Richard Ojeda” – He’s not well-known nationally just yet, but former State Senator Richard Ojeda (D) West Virginia, is also a declared candidate. Ojeda, age 48, was in his first four-year Senate term, but resigned shortly after losing a West Virginia Congressional race. He’s a fierce, fiery, combative public speaker who President Trump called, “a wacko,” and “stone-cold crazy” during the Congressional campaign (even though Ojeda voted for Trump in 2016). Ojeda was out-front during the West Virginia teachers strike in 2018, and the efforts to legalize medical cannabis in the Mountain State. He’s very popular among the followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont. He’s a decorated, retired U.S. Army veteran. Editor's note: Late Friday January 25, Ojeda dropped out of the race.

“No Delaying Delaney” – Former Rep. Joe Delaney (D) Maryland, was the first Democrat to announce a presidential campaign, doing so in July 2017. Delaney served three terms in the U.S. House, after successfully launching two very successful business ventures. Educated at Columbia and Georgetown, the 55-year-old Delaney is a New Jersey native who represented the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. while in Congress.

“Warren Peace” – Certainly a favorite of a lot of progressive Democrats, is Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) Massachusetts. The 69-year-old native of Oklahoma is now serving her second term representing the Bay State. She also served a few years in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau following the financial and real estate market meltdowns of 2008. Like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Warren is something of a pinata for conservatives who love to mention both names at rallies, which leads to a chorus of boos. Warren draws support from the “Bernie Sanders wing” of the party, so if he runs again, they may neutralize each other’s support.

“Kirsten’s NY Brand” – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) New York has served a dozen years in Congress, ten in the Senate and two in the House. The 52-year-old did her undergraduate work at Dartmouth, with law degree from UCLA. She differs from many of her progressive counterparts, having identified as a conservative “Blue Dog Democrat,” especially on fiscal issues. Being from a state holding among the most Electoral College votes, she should be considered a serious contender.

So those are the first seven Democrats to declare candidacy or form an exploratory committee. Do you have a favorite? Click the comment button on my Patch.com article or message me at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

© 2019 Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Mark Curtis Ed.D., is the Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, five surrounding states, and much of the Washington, D.C. television market. He writes weekly for The White House Patch.

Photo Courtesy: Mark Curtis Media

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options