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Who Do Democrats Want for Vice President? - "Sunday Political Brunch" - September 15, 2019

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. – So much of the talk this week focused on the third Presidential Debate in Houston, sponsored by ABC. I’ll address some of that, but let’s talk about something few are talking about. And that is who will be the vice-presidential nominee? “Let’s “brunch” on that this week.

“Biden-Klobuchar” – I have long said that if former Vice President Joe Biden is the nominee, he will pick Sen. Amy Klobuchar as his running mate. The advantages are that the ticket has gender balance, and it has an experienced number-two who served as a county prosecutor, corporate lawyer and a U.S Senator for three terms. People want someone who can step in if the boss is ill or dies. Klobuchar can probably help the Democrats take back neighboring Wisconsin, while Biden could capture his native Pennsylvania. If they get Michigan or Ohio (assuming all other states stay as in 2016), Democrats win back the White House.

“Warren-Hickenlooper” – A lot of analysts think Warren is too liberal to be elected president in this era. They may be right. But pairing up with the moderate-pragmatic in Hickenlooper might give the ticket ideological and geographic balance. Hickenlooper served two terms as Mayor of Denver and two terms as Governor of Colorado. He’s not flashy, but rather is a steady, moderating influence a lot of people would be comfortable with.

“Sanders-Gabbard” – Like Warren, many feel Sanders is too liberal to get elected. Well, why not team up with the moderate Rep Tulsi Gabbard (D) Hawaii, who is a military veteran. Gabbard proved her tenacity in the second debate by forcefully taking on Senator Harris. A lot of centrist, moderate and right leaning Americans are less than confident of the Democrat’s support of the military. Gabbard, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) South Bend, Indiana, have scored a lot of points in these debates as the only military veterans on stage.

“Harris-O’Rourke” – Sen. Kamala Harris (D) California has faded in the polls after a great first debate, but a poor second debate. Democrats are going to win California no matter what, so she’d need to look at the Electoral College map, to see where Democrats could pick up a non-traditional state. O’Rourke nearly beat Sen. Ted Cruz (R) Texas. Also, five incumbent Republicans in the House of Representatives in Texas are retiring. Democrats hope to be competitive in all five districts. The demographics of Texas are changing. Harris picking O’Rourke or former HUD Secretary Julian Castro would be a bold roll of the dice.

“Buttigieg-Booker” – Mayor Pete is still a long-shot for the top of the ticket, but since he is performing so well in New Hampshire, you’ve got to look at his prospects of he wins or places high there. Again, his military chops matter. There’s also not a lot of concern – at least publicly – that he is openly gay and married. Fighting for his country seems to have “trumped” that. Still, he’s in his 30s, and would need someone with more seasoned experience to balance the ticket. Booker was the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, before advancing to the U.S. Senate.

“O’Rourke-Inslee” – Gov. Jay Inslee (D) Washington did not fare well in this presidential race and dropped out. But I think he’d be a viable running mate. He was clearly the most passionate and outspoken on the issue of climate change, and I predict no matter who wins, he will likely be tapped to be Secretary of Energy or the Interior. But, don’t rule him out as a potential VP pick. He served a stretch in Congress before his two terms as governor.

“The Others” – These are the top-six in virtually all presidential primary polls. At this point, I don’t think any of the other candidates can rise from the ashes, so I’m not going to handicap their chances. A good many of them probably have shots at cabinet positions, or higher political office down the road.

“The Third Debate” – Thursday night’s third Democratic Primary Debate from Houston was fascinating, but also plowed over a lot of old ground. The most memorable moment of the night was when former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D) Texas attacked former VP Joe Biden over health care, and whether Biden flip-flopped his policy on stage. “You just said two minutes ago, that you’d have to buy in. You said they’d have to buy in. Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked. “Are you forgetting what you said two-minutes ago,” Castro pressed as many on the crowd gasped. Given all the concerns about Biden’s age and mental acuity, Castro might either be viewed as appropriately combative, or highly insensitive. But you don’t become president by being timid. Stay tuned!

Whom would you like to see be the Democratic nominee for vice president next year? Just click the comment button and let me know.

Mark Curtis Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia and its five neighboring states, plus most of the Washington, D.C. television market. He is a National Contributing Political Write for the White House Patch at www.Patch.com.

© 2019, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

The Wild Card Races of Campaign 2020 – “Sunday Political Brunch” - September 8, 2019

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PROVIDENCE, R.I – We are on the road this week looking at politics New England style. While all the attention has focused on the presidential campaign so far this year, there are some fascinating races for U.S. House, Senate, and some contests for governorships. Let’s “brunch” on that this week.

“Almost Political Heaven!” – It was shaping up to be one of the marquee races for governor this year, but it won’t happen. For months, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) West Virginia, has toyed with the idea of running for his old job of Governor of West Virginia. The current office-holder is Gov. Jim Justice (R) West Virginia. Justice, a Manchin protégé, won the governorship in 2016 running as a Democrat. But seven months into his term, Justice stood onstage with President Trump and switched to the Republican party. He even fired Manchin’s wife from his cabinet. But Manchin decided to pass on the race this week and will be staying in the Senate.

“Georgia on My Mind” – Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) will be stepping down at the end of this year due to health concerns, after serving 20 years in Congress. He was just reelected in 2016, the Republican Governor can appoint his successor until a 2020 special election. After almost winning the governor’s race in Georgia, and flipping a Republican U.S. House seat, Democrats believe they have a real shot to win this Senate seat. Like the former solid red states of North Carolina, and Virginia, Georgia has turned more “purple” as more Northeastern and Midwestern Democrats have migrated South.

“First in the Nation, New Hampshire!” – While everyone is focused on the traditional “first in the nation” presidential primary in New Hampshire, there may be another hot race there. Sen. Jean Shaheen, who also served as governor, is up for reelection. Among those hopping to face off with her in November 2020 is President Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski is very combative, loves to duel with the press, and is still beloved by his former boss. Trump loves a street fight, and you can envision him in New Hampshire often to help an old friend try to increase the GOP margin in the Senate, which currently stands at 53-47.

“Montana or Bust” – Sen. Steve Daines (R) is facing reelection and appears on an easy glidepath for reelection. But Governor Steve Bullock is term-limited, and he is running for president. His poll numbers are in the weeds, and his White House chances are grim. But Bullock is very popular in Montana and could give Daines a run for his money. Bullock insists he has no interest in the Senate, but if he changes his mind watch out. Remember, Democrats gain control with a net gain of three or four U.S. Senate seats. This is one to keep an eye on.

“Texas Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em” – When you think of Texas, it seems to be one of the most solidly red states in the nation. Or is it? Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) Texas nearly defeated Sen. Ted Cruz (R) Texas in 2018, and O’Rourke is getting lots of attention in his presidential campaign. Five Texas Republican House members have already announced they are retiring in 2020, and Democrats believe they can make significant gains. Texas (like Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, as I mentioned earlier), is seeing an influx in population and it includes a lot of Democrats.

“Apple, Tree?” – Sen. Mike Enzi (R) Wyoming will not seek a fifth term. But will Rep. Liz Cheney get into the race? The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is a rising star in the national Republican Party and is already Chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-highest party office, in just her second term. A Senate seat would likely start getting her presidential mentions.

“The Wild, Wild Cards” – We always hear about celebrities who plan to run for public office. The anti-Trump backlash has produced legions suggesting they may run for the White House or something else. They include Oprah Winfrey, Roseanne Barr, Ron Perlman, Katy Perry, Kanye West and Alec Baldwin, among others. So far none of them has filed candidacy papers for anything. It seems we go through this every election cycle.

What races are you watching? Which candidates do you like? Just click the comment button!

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virgins, its five neighboring states, and most of the Washington, D.C. media market. He is a National Contributing Writer for The White House Patch at www.Patch.com.

© 2019, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: C-SPAN.org

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