Thinning the 2020 Political Herd, the Final Frontier - Sunday Political Brunch May 19, 2019


PROVIDENCE, RI – We’re on the road again this week in my old New England stomping grounds! As promised we are providing our third straight week of “thumbnail” sketches of the 24 Democratic presidential candidates. Let’s “brunch” on that this week!

“Steve Bullock” – Gov. Steve Bullock (D) Montana, is in his second term, having previously served as state Attorney General for one term. He’s 53 and is a Columbia University Law School graduate. He is rated as the most popular Democratic Governor in the nation, and the fourth overall following three Republicans who have higher approval ratings.

“Jay Inslee” – Gov. Jay Inslee (D) Washington, is also in his second term after previously serving 15 years in Congress. Inslee is 68, and is a lawyer by trade, including years as a criminal prosecutor. Inslee made national headlines when he sued the Trump administration after it issued a 90-day travel ban from several majority Muslim countries. Inslee’s side prevailed in court.

“Amy Klobuchar” – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) Minnesota is now in her third term. Before going to Washington, D.C. she served as Hennepin County Prosecutor for eight years and was also a corporate lawyer. A Yale graduate, she wrote her senior thesis on the politics behind construction of the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The wheeling and dealing to build a sports stadium includes a lot of tension, intrigue and high political drama. It’s a pretty “outside the box” topic for a Yale student, and I’m tempted to take a peek!

“Wayne Messam” – Mayor Wayne Messam, (D) Miramar, Florida, is former star football player at Florida State University who played one season with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Messam is 44 and African American. He is a general contractor by trade and was elected mayor of this city west of Miami in 2015. Before that he served on the Miramar City Council.

“Seth Moulton” – Rep. Seth Moulton is a three-term Congressman from Massachusetts. He has multiple degrees from Harvard and was also an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, with four tours of duty in Iraq spanning five years. He’s 40 and has worked a lot in TV and radio, so he has good communication skills which is a big asset in politics.

“Beto O’Rourke – Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) Texas, served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1918 he gave up a safe seat and nearly toppled Sen. Ted Cruz (R) Texas. At 46 he probably has a long political career ahead of him. Here’s a bit of trivia: can a House member run for the Senate in a nationally-watched race and lose, only to be elected president down the road? It’s been done before, just ask Abraham Lincoln.

“Tim Ryan” -- Rep. Tim Ryan (D) Ohio, may only be 45 years old, but he has already served 16 years in Congress. He even challenged Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) California, in the race for Speaker of the House. He also served in the Ohio State Senate and was an aide to colorful former Rep. James Traficant (D) Ohio, and succeeded him in Congress. Ryan is a real up-and-comer, from a state Democrats must win to take back the White House. Keep an eye on him for several election cycles to come.

“Eric Swalwell” – Rep. Eric Swalwell (D) California, is currently serving his third term in Congress. At 38, he is one of the youngest candidates in a race where he may simply be building national name recognition for a more serious challenge down the road. While he’s viewed as a long-shot, he did take out a 40+ year incumbent in former Rep. Pete Stark (D) California, so Swalwell should not be underestimated by any means.

“Marianne Williamson” – A best selling author, Marianne Williamson has never held public office. She did run for Congress in 2014 but was defeated. She is a nationally-known advocate for AIDS patients and runs a non-profit food delivery service for those in need. She may be one of the least known candidates, but in a crowded field of 24 candidates now, it’s theoretically possible in a tight race, a person could win with just 4.2 percent of the vote. That makes lower-tier candidates more viable if their issues catch on.

“Bill de Blasio” – Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) New York City, has served in that capacity since 2014. Prior to that he was the NYC Public Advocate. He also served on the City Council for seven years. At 58, he has national name recognition as mayor of the nation’s largest city. He’s an old political hand who once served as Hilary Clinton’s campaign manager.

“Why All of This Matters” – As mentioned a packed field means anyone can win in a tight race. And for those who say the field is too crowded for the party to win in November, you need look no further than Republicans in 2016.There were 17 Republicans candidates in 2016, and only six Democrats. A packed field did not doom the GOP.
Are you already backing a candidate for president in 2020? If so, who and why? Just click the comment button to weigh in.

© 2019, Mark Curtis Media, LLC

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia and the five surrounding states, plus a large portion of the Washington, D.C. media market. He’s a national contributing writer at with a weekly column in The White House Patch.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images.

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