WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the White House on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
As 2018 ends, these Dems are looking best for 2020
01:17 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

They’re scouting office space, scooping up staffers and lining up support – the would-be 2020 Democratic candidates are assembling the structures they’ll need to run for president right now, in the final weeks of 2018.

And for the ones that are furthest along, all that comes next is the green light to make it official.

Take Elizabeth Warren, for example.

She may have suffered a bruising news cycle last week, but the Massachusetts senator is full steam ahead on building the infrastructure for a run – even reportedly shopping for office space for a campaign HQ in Boston. Warren also dipped her toe into supporters’ inboxes this weekend, issuing a fundraising call to arms in support of Democrat Dan McCready as allegations of election fraud swirl around his NC-9 race.

And Joe Biden’s got the same sort of infrastructure at the ready – should he decide he wants to run. Biden played it coy during an interview in Vermont this weekend, saying he wants to spend time with his family and be engaged for the rest of his life … whatever that means.

But just over the border, Biden’s team has been reaching out to old allies in New Hampshire. The self-described “most qualified person in the country to be president” hasn’t been there since 2017, but that hasn’t stopped members of his team from reportedly reaching out to top Granite State Democrats who are still super receptive to a Biden run.

This sort of timeline – with serious build-up and everything assembled before an official announcement, makes complete sense.

Candidates who have talked publicly about their timelines to decide on a run have narrowed their possible announcement dates to the next two months. If the skeleton of a campaign is assembled now, just before the holidays, they can kick their campaigns into gear as soon as 2019 begins – giving them the widest fundraising window possible.

Cory Booker is the latest proof: Visiting New Hampshire this weekend, the New Jersey senator called the trip “really helpful to me in understanding what a potential presidential campaign would be about,” and said it makes him “more confident in making decisions going forward” … He also said he’ll decide on a run over the holidays.

Kamala Harris has the same timeline, too: “Over the holiday, I will make that decision with my family,” the California senator recently said.

But don’t think Democrats are having all the fun.

For any Republican eyeing a challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020, Iowa Republicans haven’t banned challengers from the first-in-the-nation caucus contest, but they’re certainly not rolling out the welcome mat.

Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is playing it cool, telling the Des Moines Register: “They are welcome to come, but Chuck Grassley won’t be appearing with them.”

This is similar to the line drawn by Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann: “If challengers want to come into Iowa, they’re welcome,” Kaufmann said in November. “…But if those challengers are criticizing Republicans and the President, I’ll push back.”

The Point: New year, new race – and get ready for a whole lot of campaign announcements come the beginning of January.