Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton said he's "been approached" about a 2020 run
Joe Biden told South Carolina Democrats "we are living through a battle for the soul of the nation"
Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:
A traditional stop on the presidential campaign trail returns in Iowa this weekend, when Polk County Democrats host the Steak Fry.
Former Sen. Tom Harkin used to throw it every year. But he retired in early 2015, and the steak fry disappeared — until Polk County party chairman Sean Bagniewski brought it back as a fundraiser for the county Democrats.
His move is proving to be popular. More than 1,000 tickets were sold. Bagniewski had to double his steak order, and then increase it again twice in the last week.
The steak fry, at noon Saturday in Des Moines, will feature Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos — three up-and-coming House Democrats.
Is that a group of potential 2020 candidates? “Look, I’ve been approached, but we’ve got to remain focused on 2018,” Moulton said on MSNBC Friday morning. “If we can’t figure out how to win in 2018, we don’t have a prayer for 2020.”
News and notes:
“WE TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME”: That’s what former Vice President Joe Biden’s wife Jill Biden said about a potential 2020 run as the two made the rounds in Charleston, South Carolina. Where is Biden’s head right now? Here’s what he told 800 people at the Charleston NAACP last weekend: “Once again, we are living through a battle for the soul of the nation, a battle I thought was done and won.”
— If Biden runs for president, his campaign will circle South Carolina as his “must.” Biden’s friendship with former state party chair Dick Harpootlian is well-known. He campaigned in the state often for Vincent Sheheen in an unsuccessful gubernatorial race in 2014, and then for Fran Person, a former aide who ran against then-Rep. Mick Mulvaney for Congress last year. A long list of prominent South Carolina Democrats, including James Smith, the likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, have said they want to see him run in 2020.
OPRAH TEASES 2020 RUN: John Podhoretz makes a serious case for an Oprah Winfrey candidacy, writing: “If you need to set a thief to catch a thief, you need a star — a grand, outsized, fearless star whom Trump can neither intimidate nor outshine — to catch a star. We’re through the looking glass here. America is discarding old approaches in politics. Democrats will have to do the same to match the mood to the moment.” Oprah responded on Twitter, linking to the New York Post op-ed and saying, “Thanks for your VOTE of confidence!”
BLACK CAUCUS LOVES HARRIS: That was BuzzFeed’s takeaway from last week’s Congressional Black Caucus convention. People there heaped praise on California Sen. Kamala Harris as a 2020 prospect. “An exciting possible candidate,” Democratic strategist Gregory Cendana gushed. “I love her,” said Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore. “I think she’s phenomenal,” said Indiana Rep. Andre Carson. “I think she represents America’s future and she has a message,” he said.
CALIFORNIA MAKES ITS MOVE-UP OFFICIAL: California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the bill we’d discussed previously, moving the state’s primary up to Super Tuesday — right after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Yes, momentum will be key, since retail politicking is impossible in such an enormous state. But California Democratic chairman Eric Bauman was clear what the state party wants this to be about in a statement. He said: “With all due respect to our brothers and sisters in Iowa and New Hampshire, California is the beating heart of the national resistance to Trump, and California Democrats are defining the progressive agenda for America with the work we are doing on the ground every single day. When it comes to deciding the Democratic Nominee, our voices need to be heard early in the process.”
MCAULIFFE TO OHIO: The keynote speaker at the Ohio Democratic state party dinner and gubernatorial debate on October 29, announced this week: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe — who is term-limited out of office at the end of the year and will be looking for something to do soon.
NEW HAMPSHIRE SCORECARD: Paul Steinhauser takes stock of the Democrats who have gone to the Granite State so far in 2017. He notes that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has been three times and Jason Kander a whopping five. Other visitors include Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Reps. John Delaney of Maryland and Tim Ryan of Ohio.
ZUCKERBERG RESPONDS TO TRUMP: Perhaps the most interesting part of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s post responding to President Donald Trump’s accusation that Facebook was against him: “After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea. Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive. But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact – from giving people a voice to enabling candidates to communicate directly to helping millions of people vote – played a far bigger role in this election.”
On the right:
SASSE TO IOWA AGAIN: Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a strident conservative but also a Donald Trump critic, will make his second trip of the year to Iowa on November 18 to speak at a fundraising dinner hosted by Bob Vander Plaats’ socially conservative organization The Family Leader.
The week ahead:
— Saturday, September 30: The Polk County Steak Fry starts at noon in Des Moines.
— Saturday, September 30: Jason Kander attends a 1:30 p.m. PT “local brews and national views” event for the Nevada Democratic Party in Reno.
— Tuesday, October 3: Joe Biden will campaign in Birmingham for Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones in Alabama.
Before you go:
Michelle Obama didn’t hold back at an event in Boston this week, saying: “Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice.” … Citing the nation’s mood, Martin O’Malley says his 2016 presidential campaign was “one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever attempted in my life.”
CNN’s Caroline Kenny, Betsy Klein, Sophie Tatum, Greg Krieg, Ashley Killough, Saba Hamedy and Miranda Green contributed to this memo.