Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race, from Eric Bradner, Greg Krieg and Caroline Kenny:
A government shutdown is looming - and the Democratic senators seen as 2020 contenders all seem comfortable with it.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is going to Miami and Montana
Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker had sharply contrasting styles this week
California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and others all said they'll oppose a funding measure that does not settle the fate of those who could face deportation after President Donald Trump rescinded the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"Republicans control the House, Senate and White House," Sanders said. "They have to pass an annual budget, not more one-month continuing resolutions."
"Why are we kicking the can down the road?" Booker said.
Worth remembering: Harris has the most on the line. She was the first Senate Democrat to publicly declare she'd oppose any government funding bill unless Congress took action on the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- a position now held by the vast majority of Democrats. It's made her a hero among immigration activists, and it's smart politics with both California voters and the 2020 primary electorate -- but it could also make her a target for blame if a protracted shutdown hurts Democrats politically.
News and notes:
BIDEN'S TRAVEL SCHEDULE: Former Vice President Joe Biden is headed January 29 to Miami. He'll appear at a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who is up for re-election and waiting to see whether Republican Gov. Rick Scott will get in the race against him.
- Biden also booked a trip to Montana. He'll keynote the Montana Democratic Party's annual Mansfield-Metcalfe Dinner in Helena on March 10. It's a major event for the state party - and a clear stop on the 2020 trail. Last year's speaker was Cory Booker. (The "Mansfield" here is Mike Mansfield, who was Senate majority leader when Biden first took office in 1973. For a glimpse at their relationship, these comments from Biden on how Mansfield taught him to get over his animosity for Jesse Helms are really worth a read.)
- Biden also lent his name to a fundraising email from James Smith, a Democrat running for South Carolina governor. Smith's primary opponent, Phil Noble, just picked up an endorsement from the Biden-backed new Alabama Sen. Doug Jones.
HARRIS VS. BOOKER: The contrasting styles of California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker - who were just recently appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee - were on display as the two questioned Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen in a hearing this week. US News' Dave Catanese points out that Harris, the former California attorney general, asked 23 probing questions in her 10 minutes, forcing Nielsen into some uncomfortable admissions. Booker, meanwhile, asked just two questions but delivered impassioned remarks, saying he had "tears of rage" when he heard about President Donald Trump's remarks insulting African countries.
- Harris is making a trip to Michigan in April. She'll be the state Democratic Party's guest speaker at its Legacy Dinner on April 14 -- an event focused this year on women in politics. Viewed through the lens of 2020, this line from the state party's release, from executive director Lavora Barnes, is interesting: "No longer is it the sole priority of women in positions of power to blaze a trail for the next generation. It is also our responsibility to expect, seek, and demand the power of these positions by running, winning, and leading according to no tradition or expectation other than our own."
- With all the buzz about Harris as a 2020 prospect, African-American Democrats aren't sure what to do with the latest speculation about Oprah Winfrey. Per BuzzFeed's Darren Sands, some African-American Democratic groups had already been pitching Harris to donors as the African-American female candidate to watch -- so bringing Oprah into the equation throws them for a loop. As one Democratic strategist told BuzzFeed, "They don't want to step on Kamala's toes."
SANDERS GROUP PICKS A HORSE IN IOWA: Iowa Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Cathy Glasson has spent the better part of her campaign courting the Sanders loyalists in her state. On Thursday, it paid off. Our Revolution, the political organization spun out of Sanders' 2016 campaign, endorsed Glasson in the hotly contested Hawkeye State Democratic primary.
The decision wasn't much of a surprise. Glasson is an Iowa City-based nurse and Service Employees International Union Local 199 president. The union, which backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, is now on board with Sanders, and has donated $1.8 million to Glasson's campaign, most of it coming in December 2017. Her campaign also revealed that it was hitting the Des Moines TV market this week with a six-figure buy.
To watch: Primary candidates need 35% to win outright, no given in a tight, seven-person race like this one. If no one crosses the bar, the nominee would be decided at the state convention - setting the stage for a nasty fight for the right to challenge GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds.
GARCETTI TO THE PALMETTO STATE: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will head to Columbia, South Carolina, next month, according to The Sacramento Bee's Christopher Cadelago. His visit to the capital city of the early primary state will be for his nonprofit organization focused with other mayors and business leaders on "innovation investments." Garcetti's nonprofit, called Accelerator for America, held its first meeting in South Bend, Indiana -- home of Pete Buttigieg -- in November. Garcetti has already visited other early primary states including New Hampshire and Nevada in recent months.
WARREN TO CO-CHAIR WOMEN'S MARCH EVENT: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will serve as an honorary co-chair of the Women's March "Power to the Polls" campaign alongside civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. The campaign is launching in Las Vegas this weekend on the one-year anniversary of last year's Women's March. The goal of the initiative will be to register 1 million voters. Warren will not be in attendance but will be featured in a video message that will be played during the event.
- Kamala Harris will attend the Women's March in Los Angeles. She'll also speak at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Breakfast.
HEY, JOE! NEW POLL NUMBERS BUMP BIDEN: Quinnipiac put out a new poll this week with some telling takeaways on Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand, former Vice President Joe Biden - and Oprah! Here are four quick takeaways:
- All four are well above water on the favorable-unfavorable front: Sanders is at 76-11 with Democrats and 48-38 with all voters; Gillibrand is at 25-5 with Democrats and 14-11 with all voters; Oprah Winfrey is at 69-13 with Democrats, 47-33 with all voters; Biden leads the pack with a 78-6 spread among Democrats and and is 53-29 with all voters.
- Only Biden scores well with a key part of Trump's base -- whites without college degrees: Sanders is at 35-51; Gillibrand is at 8-12; Biden just barely makes the grade, at 42-39.
- But would you be "inclined" to vote for them? That was a separate question. And for good reason, apparently, because it yielded one weird stat: Among Democrats, it's a YES for Biden (75-16) and Sanders (66-27). The numbers there track pretty closely with overall approval. But that does not hold for Gillibrand. She gets a NO (24-37) from her own party's voters.
- Black voters undecided: Biden (73-6) actually scores better on the favorability scale with black voters than Winfrey (70-15). And Sanders (70-10), breaking against the narrative about his supporters, receives similarly high marks from black voters. Gillibrand (13-8) is working from solid ground, but again, is still mostly an unknown on the national scene.
View from the right:
TRUMP'S TAKE ON 2020: According to a new dispatch from Politico's Annie Karni, President Donald Trump is both unworried about his re-election prospects -- and constantly talking about who's going to run against him. From Karni's report: "He's always asking people, 'Who do you think is going to run against me?' " said the Republican who heard the president's assessment in December. Despite a bumpy first year and historically low approval ratings, this Trump ally said: 'I don't think he sees anyone, right now, being a serious competitor.' "
Additional takes: Trump thinks Bernie Sanders, at 76, is going to decide he's too old to run. Trump thinks Elizabeth Warren would be "easy to beat." Trump does not think Cory Booker will get in the race. Trump doesn't seem to know who Kamala Harris is ... yet.
The word from "Trumpworld" is more colorful. Here's the money quote from a "former White House staffer": "What we can't let voters do is think they can get the same policies with someone they like better, like Joe Biden -- someone who would fight for them but who doesn't have the crass edge. I hope CNN has Kirsten Gillibrand on every minute of every day. Love it. Bring it. She's easy to destroy. If you're the president, or the RNC, you're more worried about someone who looks like Biden -- someone who has more mainstream appeal, who blue-collar workers could identify with."
Before you go:
Anxiety is high in California -- now a Super Tuesday primary state -- over the immigration politics on Capitol Hill. ... New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's re-election war chest is stocked with an eye-popping $30 million. ... NJ.com sees seven signs Cory Booker is thinking about running for president in 2020.
- #2020Vision: Shutdown politics; Harris vs. Booker in a clash of styles; Biden gets good polling news
- #2020Vision: Booker's jobs guarantee; Sanders and Biden up in New Hampshire; Buttigieg's state travel
- #2020Vision: Oprah vs. Trump; Biden's 'shithole' response
- #2020Vision: Sanders 'seriously contemplating' 2020; Biden draft effort live in Iowa; Booker wants to 'unify people'
- #2020Vision: Biden's beneficial brawl; Warren's health care move; Harris backs Jealous in Maryland
- #2020Vision: Biden a popular 2020 pick; Holder plans early 2019 decision; Harris schedules several big appearances
- #2020Vision: Biden's Anita Hill apology; Gillibrand's rising star; The Rock
- #2020Vision: Biden: 2020 decision by January; Harris raises $3 million for Senate Dems; Castro heads to Georgia
- #2020Vision: Warren talks 'Pocahontas' while Booker, Gillibrand swear off corporate cash
- CNN Poll: Biden is top 2020 contender