Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:
Former Vice President Joe Biden is still playing coy about his future in politics – but says he’ll make his 2020 decision by January.
In an interview with Al Sharpton that aired on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation” on Sunday morning, Biden said that he’s not ruling out a 2020 run for president. But, he said, “If the Lord almighty, Al, came down and said, ‘the nomination is yours now, you have to accept it now,’ I would not.”
“But you say, ‘Lord, check with me before the year’s up?’” Sharpton asked.
“Exactly right. No, that’s exactly right,” Biden replied. “These polls are showing me winning and all this stuff. You and I both know that don’t mean a thing until you’re in the green.”
This isn’t the first time this week that Biden has said he will announce his plans within the year.
During a stop in Nashville at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday, Biden told the crowd that he knows he will have to make a decision on a potential run by January, but his main focus right now is helping Democrats win in their midterm races.
“I know that by January, I’ll have to make that decision,” Biden said. “If God Almighty himself came down today and said, ‘The nomination is yours,’ I’d say no. Where I’ll be in eight months, I don’t know. In the meantime, I’ll do everything I can to be sure we elect a Democratic Congress this fall.”
News and notes:
HARRIS HELPING SENATE DEMOCRATS: California Sen. Kamala Harris has raised more than $3 million combined for all 26 of the Senate Democrats up for re-election this year, McClatchy’s Emily Cadei reports. She spoke to the Michigan Democratic Party over the weekend and later this month will appear in Wisconsin for Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Harris recently attracted some 2020 speculation by visiting the early-voting state of Nevada and endorsing in the state attorney general’s race.
CASTRO HITS THE ROAD: Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is slated to attend a Tuesday night fundraiser for Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams. The ramped-up travel schedule is another sign of his interest in 2020. More Castro news: He’s headed back to New Hampshire on May 12 to deliver the commencement address at New England College.
KANDER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander told reporters in New Hampshire that the warm reception he got from a crowd of 600 Democrats at the state party’s annual 100 Club Dinner on Saturday “makes me think about” a 2020 presidential run. But he largely hammered Republicans for what he called “racist” voting laws, per WMUR’s John DiStaso. One key line: He said President Donald Trump “certainly has said a lot of racist things, and he is either that or a coward because he has not shown the ability to stand up to the KKK and Nazis.”
HOLDER: ‘RAMPANT CORRUPTION’ IN TRUMP’S CABINET: Former Attorney General Eric Holder said President Donald Trump and Republicans have allowed “rampant corruption” to take place in Trump’s Cabinet. In Columbus, Ohio, on Friday night, Holder, who is leading a Democratic redistricting effort, said: “There is rampant corruption within the Trump Cabinet, but a Congress full of Republicans is simply unwilling to conduct oversight or to hold them accountable.”
GARCETTI: LA IS ‘THE SAME AS IOWA’: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had an interesting riff at a news conference in Sacramento last week ahead of his two-day visit to Iowa. “We’re the same as Iowa,” he said. “These divisions that there’s the heartland and the coast to me are B.S.”
Selling Hollywood to the heartland is tough even in a Democratic primary. But here’s how Garcetti tried it: “Los Angeles is the heartland, and Iowa is the cutting edge. They have 31.3% of their power generated by wind, by renewable, the highest in the country. They are a manufacturing capital like we are. They’re a farm state; we’re a farm state. I think we struggle with the same things: Will politicians listen to us? Will we have a country that brings us together rather than rips us apart?”
Garcetti tried the riff again in Davenport, per CNN’s Maeve Reston: “We have the same struggles. We have the same hopes right now, and we have the same challenges before us,” Garcetti said. “People who are wondering, ‘Can I get out from under debt and send my kid to college?’ Will I have the opportunity in the future economy to find a place for me in it?’ …. People here are sick and tired of Washington, or the state capital, telling us what we should do in our local communities.”
Before you go:
California Gov. Jerry Brown — on the long list of 2020 prospects — endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein for re-election despite a challenge from the left from state Sen. Kevin de León. … In South Carolina on Friday night for the 2018 Blue Palmetto Dinner and James Clyburn Fish Fry: Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. … It’s worth reading in full Greg Krieg’s analysis of how California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker pressed Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.