More In and More Out in 2020 White House Race - Sunday Political Brunch March 10, 2019


CHARLESTON, W. Va. – The presidential field grew bigger this week, but the pool of potential applicants also shrunk a bit. There are also some folks still on the sidelines saying, “Put me in, coach!” It’s a crowded field already. Let’s “brunch” on that this week!

“Hicken, What?” – Ever since he got in public life, former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) has had one of the most unusual, yet memorable, name in politics. Born in Pennsylvania, Hickenlooper worked in Colorado as an oil company geologist. When laid off, he launched a career in the craft brewing/brew pub industry to great success. He served two terms as Denver Mayor, before two terms as Colorado Governor. At 67 he’s one of the older, more experienced candidates in the race, that may be a fight for generational control of the party.

“They’re ‘In’ for Inslee” – Gov. Jay Inslee, (D-WA) is officially a candidate for president. Who, you say? Let’s explore. Inslee served 15 years in Congress, and four in his state’s House of Representatives. He’s in his second term as governor. All I can say is this is anyone’s race. Even a little-known candidate may spark the interest among a sector for voters. It’s about creating a niche. Remember, all things being equal in a 14-person race, a candidate could win the New Hampshire primary with just 7.2 percent of the vote. Dark horses have a real shot!

“Clinton: Out, or Maybe? – Former Sen. Hillary Clinton, (D-NY) said this week she will not be a candidate in 2020. She told News 12 in New York, “I’m not running. “But I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe.” Even if she ran at age 71, she would not be the oldest person in this race. As I keep saying, if a person is mentally and physically fit into their 70s, then they can remain a viable candidate. Here’s my prediction: As of now 14 Democrats have declared. If the party can’t reach a consensus, it may look for a “favorite son” candidate to step in. If asked, I say she’d accept.

“Sure Bet on Sherrod? Not!” – Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D-OH) had thought about a presidential bid but opted out this week. Brown was just elected to his third term on the U.S. Senate. He also served 14 years in the U.S. House, eight as Ohio Secretary of State, and seven in the Ohio House of Representatives. I mention his long resume because Brown is from the swing state of Ohio, which has probably determined the winner of the presidency more than any other state. He’s a candidate with proven strength to carry Ohio. Keep him on your VP short list.

“All Signs Point to Biden Run” – For weeks, my gut says former VP Joe Biden is getting in. He’s a combative, street-fighter of a politician, who is very good on his feet. He’s a solid public speaker, but who’s been known at times for making humorous gaffes. Biden sometimes is his own worst enemy by saying too much. He needs to self-edit and learn that sometimes, “less in more.” But he’s bruising for a brawl with Trump, and may come across as the hungriest, most combative option in the Democratic field. If he gets in, I automatically put him at frontrunner status.

“My Prediction: As of March 2019,” – As I look at the race now, I see a real generational fight for the soul of the Democratic Party. It’s faced with nominating a candidate in his or her 40s and 50s who may be regionally known, versus an old party pro in his or her 70s who is nationally-known. Many of the younger candidates are running to build national name recognition, for more serious political races down the road. This is resume building time. Some of the older candidates are more moderate than the liberal youngsters. This will be a more centrist race, in my guess, based on one word: competence. Donald Trump will be 74 at reelection time. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, or Bernie Sanders are all in that age and experience range. I give the nod to a more seasoned Democrat, as of now.

Who would you like to the party's nominees for president in 2020? Just click the comments button here or send me a message by clicking comments at

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia and its five surrounding states, including much of the Washington, D.C. media market.

© 2019, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

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