primaries

Most 2020 Democratic candidates opposed spending bill
Booker, Harris, Gillibrand and Warren voted no, while Klobuchar voted yes

Gillibrand and her liberal colleagues in the Senate who are running for president opposed the spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats eyeing the White House split their vote Thursday on the compromise spending package that would avert another government shutdown, with nearly all the candidates who have already announced bids voting against it.

The Senate overwhelmingly adopted the conference report, 83-16, but five Democrats, including four presidential contenders — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — joined 11 Republicans in voting ‘no.’

Colorado has never had a female senator. Could that change in 2020?
Democratic Senate primary field expected to be a ‘mosh pit’

Former Colorado state House Speaker Crisanta Duran has been working with EMILY’s List as she considers a Senate run. (Brennan Linsley/AP file photo)

Colorado Democrats have their sights on Sen. Cory Gardner, one of the most vulnerable senators in 2020 and one of two Republicans running in a state won by Hillary Clinton. And some see the race as an opportunity to do something historic: send a woman to the U.S. Senate. 

Women now make up a majority in the state House after the recent midterms. And wins by Democratic women helped the party recapture the state Senate. But higher office has proved more elusive. Colorado is one of just five states that has never elected a female governor or senator. 

Kamala Harris wants marijuana legalized, cites her Jamaican roots
California Democrat also says she smoked a joint in college and ‘inhaled’

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has said she wants to legalize marijuana at the federal level. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Kamala Harris said Monday that she is in favor of legalizing marijuana at the federal level, pushing back against detractors in her own party who say she has a history of being too aggressive on drug offenders.

The California Democrat is running for president in 2020 and is widely considered a front-runner for the party’s nomination. 

There’s at least one special election coming to North Carolina soon
Death of Rep. Walter Jones opens up a reliably red seat

The death of North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones opens up a seat in a Republican area that's used to being represented by a Jones in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The death of North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones over the weekend opens up a safe Republican seat on the state’s east coast.

The governor must call a special election for the 3rd District. But there is no statutory time frame, so the timing will be up to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. 

Michael Bennet went viral. Now what?
Colorado Democrat running digital ads about his speech in early primary states

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet on his way to the Senate floor last month, when he surprised even his own staff by delivering a lengthy and fiery retort to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been two weeks since Colorado’s senior senator made a national splash with a Senate floor speech that went viral.

But you’d be forgiven if you’d already forgotten about Michael Bennet. He hasn’t been included in most polling of the Democratic field and barely makes the cut in stories about potential candidates.

Elizabeth Warren planned fanfare, but instead she’s getting panned
Warren’s anticipated 2020 campaign rollout overshadowed by reports renewed criticism over Native American heritage claim

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been dogged with questions about her claims of Native American heritage in the week before her anticipated announcement of a 2020 presidential bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Elizabeth Warren planned to spend the week gearing up for a “big announcement,” in her home state of Massachusetts followed by a ceremonial tour of Iowa.

Instead, she has been overwhelmed yet again with criticism about her claims of Native American heritage. It is the latest in a series of unforced errors that have destabilized Warren, as she attempts to roll out one of the most highly anticipated presidential campaigns in a competitive Democratic field. 

How the 2020 Democrats reacted to Trump’s State of the Union address
Gabbard spent most of it on her phone, Sanders was editing his response

President Donald Trump and others in the House chamber applaud during his State of the Union address Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one of the few Democrats to sit next to a Republican during the State of the Union address Tuesday night, but she spent much of it on her phone. Sen. Bernie Sanders, pen in hand, reviewed and edited the prepared text of his response during the first part of the speech. Rep. Tim Ryan stood in the back looking bored most of the time.

The rest of the Democratic lawmakers running or considering bids for president in 2020 paid more attention to President Donald Trump as he spoke but often sat stone-faced in reaction to his assertions and promises.

How to steal the SOTU show in a few easy steps
If a 2020 presidential hopeful wanted to steal the show, silently walking out during the speech would be the way to do it

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listen during the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William P. Barr on Jan. 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With at least a couple of dozen Democrats preparing to run for president in 2020, it will be hard for contenders to distinguish themselves in opposing President Donald Trump during and after the State of the Union speech. But there’s at least one surefire way to stand out from the pack.

Stand up and walk out.

Fewer members taking the leap to governor
Don’t expect a chunk of House seats to open up because of people wanting to run

Louisiana Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham is currently the only member running for governor and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last cycle, nine members left Congress to try to become governor and five ended up winning the state’s top job. But this cycle will be a different story. While 38 states elected a governor in 2017 or 2018, just 14 states will elect a governor in the next two years. And fewer opportunities to move up will limit the exodus from the House.

Currently, there’s just one House member running for governor, and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it.

Trump won Michigan in 2016. Does that matter for Gary Peters in 2020?
Peters is one of just two Democratic senators facing re-election in a Trump state

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is one of two Democratic senators up for re-election in a state President Donald Trump carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michigan’s Gary Peters doesn’t typically attract a lot of attention. 

But as one of only two Democratic senators up for re-election in states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, the mild-mannered Peters might find himself in the spotlight next year.