The 59th presidential election will take place on November 3, 2020.

The list of potential candidates from both parties will be sorted into three categories: “Announced/Running”, “Testing the Waters” and “Mentioned”.

The reason folks end up in the “Announced/Running/Formed Committee” category is obvious.

The “Testing the Waters” category is for those folks who make some statement or take some action that suggests they are considering a candidacy, such as traveling to various early primary states or announcing in some fashion that they are testing the waters.

At this time, potential candidates are not required to file a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. The rules relating to limits on contributions from individuals, etc. do apply and internal records must be maintained. If and when a person decides to be a candidate for president, financial activity for this period must be reported.

The “Mentioned” category is for everyone else who gets mentioned, on their own behalf or by someone else.

When a person is no longer part of a category, a line will be drawn through his or her name in the next issue of the Watch and in the subsequent issue (starting with this issue) it will be erased.

WW’s chutzpah award goes to Michael Avenatti (attorney for Stormy Daniels). The following appeared in a December 4, 2018 edition of Politico.

Michael Avenatti announced on Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2020, saying his family has requested he not mount a campaign and warning the Democratic party must put up an aggressive candidate against Donald Trump.

“I do not make this decision lightly – I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run.”

Democratic Primary

Announced/Running/Formed Committee
Congressman John Delaney (D) – announced 7/22/17
Julian Castro (D) – Former HUD Secretary
Richard Ojeda, West Virginia – failed congressional candidate – announced
Elizabeth Warren (D) – U.S. Senator
Andrew Yang – Entrepreneur – announced
Kamala Harris (D) – U.S. Senator

Testing the Waters
Joe Biden (D) – former Vice President, former U.S. Senator
Cory Booker (D) – U.S. Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand (D) – U.S. Senator
Tim Ryan (D) – U.S. Representative
Bernie Sanders (D) – U.S. Senator
Tom Steyer – Billionaire philanthropist
Eric Swalwell (D) – U.S. Representative
Marianne Williamson – Spiritualist, teacher
Jay Inslee (D) – Governor of Washington

Howard Schultz – Founder & Exec. Chairman, Starbucks
Mark Cuban – Businessman and Owner, Dallas Mavericks
Michael Bloomberg – Businessman and former Mayor of New York
Michael Avenatti – Attorney, Attorney for Stormy Daniels
Al Sharpton – Civil Rights Activist
Oscar De La Hoya – former professional boxer
Sheryl Sandberg – Executive
Oprah Winfrey- Entertainer
Mark Zuckerberg – Executive

Andrew Cuomo (D) – Governor of New York
John Hickenlooper (D) – Governor of Colorado
Steve Bullock (D) – Governor of Montana
Jerry Brown (D) – Governor of California
Gina Raimondo (D) – Governor of Rhode Island
Martin O’Malley (D) – former Governor of Maryland
Terry McAuliffe (D) – former Governor of Virginia
Deval Patrick (D) – former Governor of Massachusetts

Seth Moulton (D – U.S. Representative
Maxine Waters (D) – U.S. Representative
Tulsi Gabbard (D) – U.S. Representative
Joe Kennedy (D) – U.S. Representative
Beto O’Rourke – U.S. Representative
Amy Klobuchar (D) – U.S. Senator

Tim Kaine (D) – U.S. Senator
Chris Murphy (D) – U.S. Senator
Sherrod Brown (D) – U.S. Senator
Mark Warner (D) – U.S. Senator
Jeff Merkley (D) – U.S. Senator
Bob Casey (D) – U.S. Senator
Michael Bennet (D) – U.S. Senator

Lincoln Chafee (D) – former mayor, Rhode Island governor and U.S. Senator
Eric Holder (D) – former Attorney General
John Kerry (D) – former U.S. Senator, former Secretary of State, former presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton (D) – former Secretary of State, former Senator, former presidential candidate
Eric Garcetti (D) – Mayor of Los Angeles
Mitch Landrieu (D) – Mayor of New Orleans
Bill de Blasio (D) – Mayor of New York City
Pete Buttigieg (D) – Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
George Clooney (D)
Al Gore (D) – former vice president

The Democratic nominating convention is scheduled for July 13-16, 2020 at a site to be determined (Miami or Houston).

In a survey of registered Democrats and Independents, taken December 11-16, respondents were asked if they are “excited” about a possible run of the following potential Democratic presidential candidates: Clinton, Sanders, Biden, Warren, Bloomberg, Booker, Harris, O’Rourke, Klobuchar and “Someone else”.

The winner is “Someone else.” The rough rank order of the other candidates is Biden (the only one to break 50%), Sanders, O’Rourke, Harris, Booker, Warren, Bloomberg, Klobuchar and Clinton.

Respondents were asked if they believed there were any of these candidates that should not run. Clinton leads that list with 65-70% saying they believe she should not run. The others in rough rank order are Sanders (roughly 40%), Warren, Bloomberg, Biden, Booker & Harris (about the same), O’Rourke & Klobuchar. [WP 12/27/18]

Only the leading five candidates in each poll will be listed below.

CNN Poll 12/6-9 Morning Consult 12/14-16
Biden 30% Biden 25%
Sanders 14% Sanders 15%
O’Rourke 9% Clinton 13%
Booker 5% O’Rourke 8%
Harris 4% Harris 3%
Kerry 4% Warren 3%
  Booker 3%

In a column on December 18, 2018 in the NYT, Frank Bruni pointed out that in December 2014 CNN published a poll on the potential Republican nominees. They were, in rank order, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee.

Early State Democratic Primaries
Select polls, December 2018

Biden 32%, Sanders 19%, O’Rourke 11%, Warren 8%, Harris 5%, Booker 4%, Bloomberg 3%, Klobuchar 3%
[Selzer & Company 12/10-13/18]

Republican Primary

Donald Trump (R) – President

Testing the Waters
John Kasich (R) – Governor of Ohio (about to retire)

Don Blakenship (R) – Business Executive
Jeff Flake (R) – former U.S. Senator
Larry Hogan (R) – Governor of Maryland
Bill Kristol (R) – Journalist

The Republican nominating convention is scheduled for August 24-27, 2020 in Charlotte, NC.

Each presidential primary/caucus season will always be different than those that have preceded it; primary/caucus dates will change, states that held caucuses in the past will adopt primaries and there will be other changes.

Consider the following:

2/3/20 Iowa Caucus Millions of ballots will be mailed out to Californians for its March 3, 2020 primary and voters could start mailing them back before the…
2/11/20 New Hampshire Primary Texans will have an opportunity to mail in their primary ballots before the…
2/22/20 Nevada Primary  
2/29/20 South Carolina Primary  
3/3/20 Super Tuesday Primaries in California, Texas, Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia (In 2018, nearly 7 in 10 votes cast in the California primary were mail-in absentee)

At least 5 states have decided to forego their traditional caucuses in favor of primaries to select the Democratic candidate in 2020: Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine and Minnesota. As of now, 9 states will still use caucuses to select the democratic nominee.

When registered voters are asked who they will vote for in 2020, 23% say they will definitely vote for Trump. Another 15% say they will probably vote for him. 39% will definitely vote for the Democratic candidate and another 13% say they will probably vote for the democratic candidate. [NBC/WSJ 12/12/18]