California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris, a rising star in the progressive constellation, is the favorite for the 2020 Democratic nomination among participants at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation policy forum, NBC News reports.
After speaking with political insiders and CBC members, the news outlet said the consensus places New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker in second place. But many, who declined to speak on the record, said it’s still too soon to start choosing candidates. Plus, many of them are more focused on the 2018 mid-terms.
Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University, told NBC that Harris, a first-term senator, has a gender advantage. She pointed out that Black women tend to vote at a higher rate than Black men.
“You have to win over African-American voters, particularly African-American women, to be viable in a primary because they are going to be the ones who are going to be decisive in terms of allocating delegates to the convention,” Gillespie explained.
Having a Black female candidate could reverse the growing disenchantment Black women feel toward the Democratic Party. A recent survey found that fewer Black women believe the party represents their interests.
For many forum participants, the candidacy of former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was “an afterthought,” NBC said.
However, he’s at the top of the list for many in President Barack Obama’s circle, The Hill reported. The news outlet said close advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Simas, the CEO of Obama’s foundation, “have sent smoke signals” calling on Patrick to consider entering the race.
A leading Obama fundraiser suggested to The Hill that the signals are intended to “take away oxygen from Harris.”
“A lot of people in our world see Deval as the one who will carry the Obama legacy,” the fundraiser stated. “Kamala has labeled herself as the female Obama, but Deval was Obama before Obama was Obama.”