In Nevada, Inslee tries to pull 2020 spotlight away from DC

LAS VEGAS — The Democratic presidential sweepstakes might seem like a tale of Joe Biden and the Seven Senators, but there are plenty of governors and mayors looking for a chance to steal the spotlight from the former vice-president and other headliners.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is headed to the early caucus state of Nevada on Saturday and will soon travel to the first primary state of New Hampshire as he mulls a White House bid. Terry McAuliffe, the former Virginia governor and longtime Democratic power player, is showing up on cable news and writing newspaper op-eds. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock are busy with day jobs but recently finished an ambitious round of midterm campaigning. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper left office this month, and he spent part of the fall on the road.

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’d fund his own race if he runs, and even Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is making noise.

Each person is making moves that could result in a presidential campaign. But in the early days of a Democratic primary, the question is whether someone without a Washington resume can win a contest that’s so far dominated by Biden, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and several nationally known senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Other senators who might join the race include Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. And that number of senators may grow.

“Being an outsider governor or an outsider mayor is a good place to run from to cast yourself as somebody with executive experience and leadership at a time when people don’t trust a dysfunctional Congress,” said Dave Hamrick, who managed then-Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland’s unsuccessful bid in 2016.

“The challenge,” Hamrick said, “is figuring out whether your story is the right one for this moment and selling it when so many other people are out there.”

For now, Inslee is the most publicly active of the governors. In Nevada, he’ll address activists at the Battle Born Progress convention.

Jamal Raad, an Inslee aide, said the governor will highlight Washington state’s Medicaid expansion and family-leave policy while repeating his call for action on climate change. Raad notes Nevada Democrats’ new combined control of the legislative and executive branches, with the governor’s office being one of seven that Democrats flipped in November under Inslee’s chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association.

“He wants to lay out for them what kind of progressive agenda they can accomplish,” Raad said.

Campaign finance laws give non-federal officials more leeway to raise money without having an official presidential campaign or exploratory committee, so there’s less pressure on them to announce campaigns than for senators who want to travel. If those governors and mayors announce early and then fail to show fundraising prowess, their campaigns could be short-lived. But if they wait too long, they could lose …read more

Source:: Nationalpost – News


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