A Californian in the White House?
Insiders’ predictions on who might be on the presidential ballot in 2020
The latest conventional wisdom among state political insiders: There’s a good chance a Californian will be on the presidential ticket in 2020, and that Californian is likely to be Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.
Among participants in a new Target Book Insider Track survey, 55 percent say it is somewhat or very likely that a Californian makes the 2020 ticket, either for president or vice president. The survey—our attempt to put some real data behind the anecdotal estimations of conventional wisdom—is based on 34 respondents who are Target Book subscribers, an assortment of politicos, lobbyists and consultants.
When asked whom they had in mind, the overwhelming favorite was Harris, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti a distant second.
Garcetti has already made several trips to South Carolina, an important state in the primaries behind Iowa and New Hampshire.
But Harris is visiting the state this week. The rookie senator also has made stops in Ohio, where she was greeted earlier this month by fellow Democrats as a rock star. Although she has been consistent in saying she’s focused on the midterms as she campaigns for Democratic candidates across the country, she also went further than before in acknowledging her interest in 2020.
“I’m thinking about ’18 and what we need to do around these races, and then I’ll seriously take a look at things after that. But right now I’m focused on this,” she told reporters.
Harris, a former prosecutor and California attorney general, is the first Indian American senator and California’s first black senator. She firmly stood behind Christine Blasey Ford, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s first public accuser, and drew headlines for her tough questioning of him during the confirmation hearing that addressed alleged sexual assault.
There hasn’t been a sitting mayor who transitioned straight to the White House, but Garcetti, who like Harris has been glowingly profiled in Vogue, has been quietly working the national circuit with visits to Iowa and New Hampshire. During these trips he would frequently introduce himself with the line: “I come from Los Angeles, and we have a few more Kardashians than you do, but we are mostly not Kardashians,” according to a GQ profile.
For now, many national experts place Harris among the wide top tier of potential Democratic presidential contenders, behind Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. But she hasn’t given sufficient clues to determine her aim in the view of FiveThirtyEight.com, which places Harris behind Garcetti in a rubric of actions made by past candidates that signaled their intent to run.