Report: Senate Democrats Losing Top Recruits to White House Bids | NTK Network Report: Senate Democrats Losing Top Recruits to White House Bids

Report: Senate Democrats Losing Top Recruits to White House Bids

Some of the party’s brightest stars in Texas, Montana, Louisiana, and Colorado are likely opting for presidential campaigns rather than running for Senate.

By NTK Staff | 01.09.2019 @9:30am
Report: Senate Democrats Losing Top Recruits to White House Bids

Several of the Democratic Party’s brightest stars are opting out of more winnable Senate races and instead setting their sights on running for president, according to a new Politico report.

Key recruits in important states such as Texas, Montana, Louisiana, Colorado, and West Virginia are either leaning toward presidential campaigns or already running for president. What that means for Democrats’ chances in those critical Senate races remains to be seen.

In Colorado, outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper has been building out a possible national campaign, though he would be an A-list opponent for Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, Senate Democrats’ top target in 2020. In Texas, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Obama administration official Julian Castro are both eyeing the White House, though Democrats believe they could be the party’s best shot at winning a Senate race after O’Rourke’s 2018 showing against GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. Even in Louisiana and West Virginia, two extreme long-shot states for Democrats, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is also weighing a presidential bid, while West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda has already launched a White House run after losing a 2018 congressional contest.

The starkest example of the presidential cross-currents hitting Senate races is in Montana, where a select few Democrats have managed to win statewide in recent years and GOP Sen. Steve Daines will be on the ballot in 2020. But two-term Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has said he’s not interested in the Senate, instead laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign.

These Democrats’ current focus on White House bids does not necessarily mean they have to rule out running for Senate, however. Should some of these candidates enter the presidential fray and find a less-than-warm response from primary voters in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire, they could switch gears and run for Senate. But that will be determined on a case by case basis, as each state has differently filing deadlines, and many of those races will attract other candidates to run in the meantime.

Still, these so-called top recruits putting their focus on the White House rather than building a winning team in their home states is a nightmare scenario for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, both of whom are tasked with winning back the Senate in 2020.

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