Wednesday, February 13, 2019

#InvisiblePrimary: Visible -- Klobuchar, Minnesota and the Primary Calendar

Thoughts on some aspect of the invisible primary and links to the movements during the days that recently were...

Over the weekend, Amy Klobuchar announced her intentions to make a run at the White House. Some of the reaction has focused on a campaign in its infancy and its early focus on midwestern states. That is a reasonable general election strategy in light of Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin flipping to the red column and the loss of ground the party incurred in Minnesota (while still holding on there at the presidential level).

But as FHQ pointed out, this is not exactly a sound strategy in the presidential nomination process. While Iowa certainly kicks the process off, the midwest is underrepresented early in the 2020 presidential primary calendar. In some ways, this raises the stakes for Klobuchar in Iowa, but that is not anything that is unique to her. Many candidates will run Iowa-or-bust campaigns. But not all candidates will attempt to make a win in Iowa, whether outright or relative to expectations, about their strength in the midwest. Indeed, given the calendar, some candidates may point toward their performance in the Hawkeye state as appealing to a particular constituency within the broader party network that better aligns with the next contest or round of contests.

Yes, FHQ is oversimplifying things here, but with a purpose in mind.

Here is the thing: Klobuchar may get some helpful calendar clarity within a few weeks. Although the next midwest contests after Iowa are technically Michigan and Ohio on March 10, Minnesota may join Super Tuesday on March 1 of this year. Yes, the Land of 10,000 Lakes has made the transition from caucus to primary for the 2020 cycle, but part of that former caucus law carried over one important aspect of the caucus process: the scheduling portion. As under the old caucus system, the parties have the option of selecting and agreeing on an alternative date for the primary. If the two major parties either cannot settle on an alternative or refuse to select an alternative, then the date of the new presidential primary is set for the first Tuesday in March.

That would add Minnesota into the mix on Super Tuesday alongside California, Texas, North Carolina and others, and perhaps provide a midwestern -- and home turf -- contest for Klobuchar (or others) if they are able to survive the first month of contests.

As of now, there is no reporting out of Minnesota about any alternatives being considered, so March 3 is the odds on favorite for a landing spot for the new primary. One way or another, that will get locked in by March 1, 2019

Elsewhere in the invisible primary...

1. In candidacy announcement news, both Warren and Klobuchar have officially thrown their hats in the 2020 ring. Bloomberg follows O'Rourke in setting the end of February as the deadline for a 2020 decision. Sanders, on the other hand, is likely to go the exploratory committee route in February before later launching a full-fledged campaign.

2. Several others are making moves on the periphery of the invisible primary. Moulton is mulling, De Blasio is going to take a trip up north to the Granite state (or not), Holder is set to give a speech in Iowa (and announce by the end of the month), Bennet is running early sate digital ads, Abrams is casting a wide net following her State of the Union response, and Swalwell continues to say a decision on his 2020 plans is close.

3. And then there are folks like Mitch Landrieu who are seemingly passing on a 2020 bid. Joe Kennedy fits that category as well. And both were really only mentioned as possibilities without doing many of the things associated with folks who run or consider running.

4. On the travel front, Klobuchar (see above) is seemingly making the midwest a focus with treks to Iowa and Wisconsin planned on the heels of her announcement. Gillibrand made her maiden voyage as a candidate to the Palmetto state, and Hickenlooper stopped in there as well. Buttigieg and Gabbard have hit Iowa following their announcements and Bullock is heading back that way for the first time since last August.

5. In the #MoneyPrimary, Klobuchar has joined the group of candidates swearing off corporate PAC money for the 2020 cycle. California remains a presidential nomination ATM, and that includes Hollywood. Booker has a super PAC aligned with his run, but does not want it. [The New Jersey senator also has a trip planned to fundraise in the Golden state.] And there is another story about Democratic donors playing the waiting game.

6. Harris continues to make moves in the #StaffPrimary. This time adding two more to her Iowa staff and both have experience with either Clinton's or Obama's past campaigns. The California senator has also hired someone with some fundraising chops, tacked on another veteran hand in New Hampshire, and added to her South Carolina operation. Harris is not alone. Warren, too, is assembling a team in the Hawkeye state. Even Hickenlooper has gotten in on the action in Iowa.

7. There still do not appear to be many breaks in the early #EndorsementPrimary trend. Announced candidates so far are getting support from home state elected officials. Klobuchar had a big showing of elected official support at her snowy rollout. Warren picked up the support of Joe Kennedy. Harris continues to rollout home state endorsements. Even Brown, through the Draft Sherrod movement, seemingly has some Ohio-based support. Gillibrand has thus far had no such luck. Not only is Governor Cuomo more focused on Biden's potential candidacy, but Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) appears to be following suit.

8. Meanwhile, the early states have not really heard much from Biden, but folks on Capitol Hill have. Strategists, however, have their doubts about a Biden run.

9. Money is not the only thing the candidates are after from California. Their campaigns are trying to figure how the Golden state fits into their 2020 strategies. That is an important story, but there is much to the consideration about how to tackle California.

10. Yes, the idea has been floated, but according to the South Carolina Republican Party, nothing has been settled with respect to canceling the presidential primary there in 2020. That decision will come later this year at the state convention.

11. Dave Hopkins nudges back on lanes and other schema for assessing the progress of the presidential nomination process.

12. Finally, Iowa Democrats have a draft delegate selection plan, and it looks like New Hampshire is satisfied that virtual caucuses do not equate to a "similar contest". Dave Redlawsk provides a synopsis of the changes and Jonathan Bernstein gives a big picture reaction as well.

Has FHQ missed something you feel should be included? Drop us a line or a comment and we'll make room for it.

Follow FHQ on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe by Email.

No comments: