2020 Democrats campaign across the US

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5:33 p.m. ET, March 23, 2019

Buttigieg says he will be 'pulling the trigger' on official campaign launch soon

By Dan Merica, DJ Judd and Jamie Ehrlich

Having already traversed across early battleground states, Mayor Pete may not be just "exploring" for much longer.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has made several stops in South Carolina Saturday, was asked by CNN’s Dan Merica why he has not moved beyond his "exploratory committee" phase to formally throw his hat in the 2020 ring.

"Well, all of the indicators are pointing in the right direction, but a launch is something you only get to do once, and we’re not going to do that until we have all of the pieces in place," said Buttigieg, who recently announced he reached the fundraising threshold to appear in the Democratic debates.

"I’d say we’re going to be pulling the trigger sooner rather than later."
3:42 p.m. ET, March 23, 2019

Jon Bon Jovi to host fundraiser for Cory Booker in New Jersey

By Veronica Stracqualursi

Jon Bon Jovi will be there for Sen. Cory Booker.

The rockstar, along with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy, is hosting a fundraiser tomorrow night in Red Bank, New Jersey, for Booker so the Democratic senator's 2020 campaign won't be 'livin' on a prayer" in terms of money.

A $1,000 donation will get you into the cocktail party; $2,800 includes the cocktail reception and a photo with Booker.

For $28,000, donors will get dinner, along with entry to the cocktail reception and that photo op with Booker.

Bon Jovi, a New Jersey native, and Booker's relationship stretches back to when Booker was mayor of Newark.

3:33 p.m. ET, March 23, 2019

Harris announces first major policy initiative of her campaign

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Devan Cole

Sen. Kamala Harris announced the first major policy initiative of her presidential campaign Saturday, pledging to supporters that she’ll increase federal spending for teacher salaries during her first term.

“We are not paying our teachers their value,” Harris told supporters at a rally in Houston, adding that she’s met teachers around the country who are working multiple jobs to pay for personal and work-related expenses.

“You can judge a society by the way it treats its children,” she said. “And one of the greatest expressions of love that a society can give to its children is educating those children with the resources they need. And teachers are our greatest resource in that endeavor.”

The federal plan -- which put teachers front-and-center in her campaign -- is set to be a major policy departure from how teacher pay has been determined in the past, as teacher pay has previously been handled by state and local governments.

Harris’ proposed federal investment in teacher pay would be the largest in American history.

The campaign said it plans to unveil the details of the full policy next week.

3:36 p.m. ET, March 23, 2019

'Friday Night Lights' actress Connie Britton to join Gillibrand for 2020 campaign kick-off event

By Veronica Stracqualursi

Actress Connie Britton will be one of the speakers at Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's 2020 campaign kick-off event tomorrow outside the Trump International Hotel in New York.

The "Friday Night Lights" and "Nashville" star has been friends with the New York senator since their time together at Dartmouth College. The two were roommates during a study abroad program in Beijing, China.

When Gillibrand officially announced her Democratic campaign, Britton tweeted her support:

Britton also held a March 10 fundraiser for Gillibrand in Los Angeles, according to an invitation CNN obtained from a Democratic donor.

CNN's Athena Jones and Dan Merica contributed to this report.

2:31 p.m. ET, March 23, 2019

O’Rourke says he believes ‘beyond a shadow of a doubt’ Trump colluded with Russia to win election

From CNN's Devan Cole and Jasmine Wright

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said Saturday that he believes “beyond the shadow of a doubt” President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, stopping short of saying Trump should face impeachment proceedings.   

“You have a president, who, in my opinion, beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to -- however ham-handedly -- collude with the Russian government -- a foreign power -- to undermine and influence our elections,” O’Rourke said at a town hall in Charleston, South Carolina.

“If you are wondering about collusion then when you saw the President of the United States standing next to leader of Russia on that stage in Helsinki, Finland, defending him and taking his word for it against our own intelligence community in our country, in (conservative columnist) George Will’s words not mine, that is collusion in action. Ultimately, I believe this will be decided at the ballot box in 2020 by you, by me, by all of us in this country,” he added.

O’Rourke’s comments come as lawmakers await a briefing by the Justice Department on the “principal conclusions” of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The presidential hopeful also commented on the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” drawing a large applause from attendees as he discussed the incarceration rate of minority students.

“As a white man in this country, it is only belatedly and only in part that I’ve begun to understand the struggles of others. A criminal justice system that is the largest prison population on the face of the planet per capita disproportionally comprised of people of color -- many of whom arrived there on a school house to jail house pipeline that began not in high school but at five-years-old years old in a kindergarten classroom where a child of color stands five times the chance of being disciplined, suspended, expelled,” O'Rourke said.


8:59 a.m. ET, March 23, 2019

It's a busy campaign weekend in New Hampshire

At least four 2020 Democrats will hold meet-and-greets, town halls and round tables in New Hampshire this weekend.

They are...

  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • John Hickenlooper
  • Elizabeth Warren
8:59 a.m. ET, March 23, 2019

These candidates are campaigning in the South this weekend

Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris will both visit southern states this weekend.
Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris will both visit southern states this weekend.

At least four 2020 Democrats are campaigning in southern states this weekend.

Pete Buttigieg — who has yet to officially declare that he's running for President but does have an exploratory committee — will start his Saturday in South Carolina.

Cory Booker and Beto O'Rourke are also campaigning in the state.

Kamala Harris will spend her Saturday in Texas before heading to Georgia on Sunday.

8:59 a.m. ET, March 23, 2019

At least 14 Democrats are officially running for president

The 2020 Democratic field is taking shape, with candidates revealing their intentions on a seemingly everyday basis.

Here's a look at the 14 Democrats who have officially announced their candidacy:

  • Sen. Cory Booker
  • Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Former Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Spiritual author Marianne Williamson
  • Businessman Andrew Yang