Gabriel Debenedetti writes at Politico that “at least a dozen” Democrats have begun exploring 2020 presidential runs and have hired staffers with experience in national campaigns.
At least a dozen possible Democratic presidential candidates have begun bolstering their teams by adding aides with campaign experience to their Senate staffs, personal offices or 2018 reelection payrolls.
The hires are never explicitly advertised or designed to be about 2020. But the behind-the-scenes shuffle is a long-overdue stage in the traditional precampaign scramble. Potential candidates who have run before — like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden — largely have their core teams in place.
Yet in many other cases, chiefs of staff and senior strategists are now actively looking for new talent after receiving clear instructions from their bosses: I don’t know whether I’m going to run for president, but do everything you need to do to get me in position, just in case.
Dozens of pols have asked aides to look into what it would take to mount a real campaign, potentially stretching thin the staffing pool and leading political professionals to be extra-careful about signing on with any one possible candidate.
“Most cycles you’ve got maybe four or five people starting this early. What’s different isn’t what people are doing, it’s how many. I talked to another consultant yesterday who is keeping a tally, and he said 53 different people or their staff have already talked to them about how to make this work,” said veteran Democratic operative Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign manager. “But even if it’s really 15, that’s a big difference from other years.”
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