Friday July 3rd, 2020 6:42PM

Weary Democratic voters balk at new presidential candidates

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The number of Democrats running for president is growing as the first votes of the primary approach. And voters have a clear message: stop.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick roiled the race last week by launching a surprise bid. New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg is likely to do the same in the coming days.

The late entries, less than 80 days before Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, have exposed a fresh gulf in a party already plagued by divisions. On one side: anxious establishment leaders and donors, who are increasingly concerned about the direction of the race and welcome new candidates. On the other: many rank-and-file voters and local officials across early voting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, who are drowning in candidates and say they’re more than satisfied with their current options.

“They need to sit down. We’ve got enough Democrats running,” said Debra Tyus, a 63-year-old Democrat from Walterboro, South Carolina.

In New Hampshire, 75-year-old undecided Democrat Thea Lahti said it’s “awfully late” in the process and fears that adding more candidates is “further splintering the field.”

And in Iowa, state Rep. Jennifer Konfrst said she hasn’t spoken to a single Democrat who felt the current field wasn’t good enough.

“The more common refrain revolves around having too many great candidates already,” said Konfrst, a first-term lawmaker who’s backing Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. “I struggle to see what more candidates bring to the conversation that isn’t already here.”

Before Patrick’s announcement, at least 16 high-profile Democrats were running for president. The field spans multiple generations, racial backgrounds, political ideologies and levels of experience.

There are still so many candidates, in fact, that they can’t all debate together. The Democratic National Committee implemented a system of rising donor and polling thresholds to make the numbers manageable, although last month’s debate featured 12 candidates, and a group of 10 will share the stage this week.

Despite the extraordinary options, establishment-minded Democrats have become increasingly concerned about the direction of the race, seizing on what they see as former Vice President Joe Biden’s lackluster candidacy and fears that leading progressives Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are too liberal.

Underlying their concerns is an almost desperate urgency shared by much of the Democratic Party to find a surefire nominee to deny Trump a second term. After almost a year of campaigning, virtually all the candidates face lingering questions about their political liabilities.

Former President Barack Obama sought to calm establishment anxiety at a weekend donor conference when he reminded attendees of his own turbulent primary battle against Hillary Clinton in 2008. Yet he also seemed to reinforce concerns about the more liberal candidates in the race, warning that “the average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

Obama and Patrick have long been friends. They spoke privately in the days before the former Massachusetts governor launched, just as Obama did with several other candidates earlier in the year. Far from dissuading Patrick from running, the former president shared “great insights about his own experiences and about his experience with some of the other candidates and what he thought the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign, of my campaign, might be,” Patrick said late last week.

Patrick campaign manager Abe Rakov insisted that deep uncertainty across the electorate and the absence of clear front-runners creates an opening for new candidates.

“When we’re at this point in the process and voters still haven’t made up their minds, there’s an opportunity for someone with a different story and a different background to come in and make their case,” said Rakov, who most recently worked for Beto O’Rourke’s failed presidential campaign. “If it was obvious this was a two-person race, it probably would be too late for someone to get in. But it’s not. This is a wide-open race.”

Having launched his campaign in New Hampshire late last week, Patrick is scheduled to make his inaugural Iowa appearance on Monday, followed by a Tuesday appearance in South Carolina.

A Bloomberg announcement is expected this week as well.

Should he run, the former New York mayor is planning to bypass the early states altogether and focus instead on the group of so-called Super Tuesday states holding primary contests on the first Tuesday in March. While Patrick may struggle to raise the resources to launch a robust multistate effort in the short term, Bloomberg has a net worth of more than $50 billion, and he’s expressed a willingness to spend whatever’s necessary to win.

Bloomberg senior adviser Howard Wolfson said he’s aware that many voters and early state officials are pushing back against new candidates.

“I hear it, I respect it, but we do not believe that the current field is particularly well-positioned to take on Donald Trump in November, and we do believe that Mike would be the best candidate to do that,” Wolfson said. “There will be a burden on us to convince people of that. And that is not a burden that we will likely be successful in overcoming on Day 1, but certainly it’s one in which we hope to be successful in overcoming as the possible campaign commences.”

As Wolfson notes, persuading voters to welcome new faces to a race already bursting with high-profile Democrats will not be easy.

In July, the Pew Research Center found that roughly two-thirds of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters had an excellent or good impression of the Democratic presidential candidates as a group. That’s dramatically higher than ahead of the 2016 presidential primary between Clinton and Bernie Sanders, when only about half of Democrats had a positive impression of the field.

Voters’ level of satisfaction actually increased earlier in the month, according to a Monmouth University poll, which found that 74% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters were satisfied with the field; just 16% said they would like someone else to run.

Still, establishment-minded donors have become increasingly worried about their party’s top-tier candidates.

Robert Zimmerman, a New York-based donor and member of the Democratic National Committee, said that cocktail parties have essentially turned into therapy sessions for nervous Democrats in recent weeks. He noted, however, that most voters on the ground where it matters most are pleased with the current field.

“We need more Democrats in the field like Tom Brady needs more Super Bowl rings,” said Zimmerman, a fan of the lowly New York Jets.

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler, who is based in South Carolina, worries that the sheer number of candidates still in the race will allow a less-than-desirable nominee to emerge, much in the same way Trump captured the GOP nomination in 2016 because the more experienced candidates sliced up the establishment vote.

“We’ve got too many candidates,” he said. “No more.”

That’s not to say that all primary voters are completely closed off. While polls show that most are satisfied with the current field, they also suggest that most voters haven’t yet settled on one candidate.

In New Hampshire, 65-year-old independent Carol Maraldo said that the 2020 primary is already confusing because it’s so crowded.

"Adding more people adds to the confusion,” she said, even as she entertained the possibility of a new candidate. If it's "somebody that would be that perfect person, I'd be all for it."

____

Associated Press writer Hunter Woodall in Manchester, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Buttigieg touts military service, wary of overstating role
Pete Buttigieg is leaning hard on his seven-month deployment as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan as a powerful credential, but the Democratic presidential candidate is walking a narrow path between giving his service its due and overstating it
1:51AM ( 1 minute ago )
Ford Mustang SUV starts a blitz of new electric vehicles
Ford Mustang SUV starts a blitz of new electric vehicles that could make them more popular with US consumers
1:34AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Weary Democratic voters balk at new presidential candidates
Anxious Democrats to new presidential prospects: No more
1:33AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
James, Lakers start fast in racing past Hawks 122-101
LeBron James scored 12 of his game-high 33 points during a breathtaking opening nine minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers, who raced to a 25-point lead and handed the Atlanta Hawks their second ugly loss in 24 hours at Staples Center, 122-101
12:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Gurley, Brown help Rams ground out 17-7 win over Bears
Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown ran for touchdowns and the Los Angeles Rams were able to ground out a 17-7 victory over the Chicago Bears
11:28PM ( 2 hours ago )
Edelman’s TD pass leads Patriots over Eagles 17-10
Julian Edelman threw a go-ahead 15-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett and the New England Patriots rallied for a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles
9:22PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sports
49ers rally past Cardinals 36-26 on 4 TD passes by Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Wilson Jr. with 31 seconds left for his fourth TD pass of the game and the San Francisco 49ers rallied for a 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals
7:35PM ( 6 hours ago )
Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa set for hip surgery in Houston
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is scheduled to have hip surgery in Houston
7:05PM ( 6 hours ago )
Falcons defense overwhelms Allen, Panthers 29-3
Atlanta intercepted Kyle Allen four times, Kenjon Barner returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown and the Falcons defeated the Carolina Panthers 29-3 for their second straight lopsided win against an NFC South foe
6:58PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Pelosi invites Trump to testify as new witnesses prepare
Pelosi invites Trump to testify as impeachment hearings enter a crucial second week and Democrats prepare to hear from eight witnesses
12:39AM ( 1 hour ago )
Feds get Native American tribal shield after yearslong push
A ceremonial shield at the center of a yearslong international debate over exporting of sacred Native American objects to foreign markets has returned to New Mexico
12:23AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Exclusive: Climate said to imperil 60% of Superfund sites
AP Exclusive: A congressional watchdog agency says at least 60 percent of toxic U.S. Superfund sites are vulnerable to flooding or other worsening disasters of climate change
12:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Iran’s top leader warns ‘thugs’ as protests reach 100 cities
Iran’s supreme leader has signaled that a potential crackdown on widespread protests loomed, describing the protesters as “thugs” pushed into violence by Iran’s foreign enemies
10:44PM ( 3 hours ago )
3rd record tide enters Venice as Italy hit with snow, rain
Venice has been flooded by a record third exceptional tide in a week while winds, an out-of-season avalanche and other weather woes hit other parts of Italy
10:35PM ( 3 hours ago )
Democrats invite Trump to testify in impeachment inquiry
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has invited President Donald Trump to testify in front of investigators in the House impeachment inquiry ahead of a week that will see several key witnesses appear publicly
10:24PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
China urges US to “stop flexing muscles” in South China Sea
China has urged the U.S. military to “stop flexing muscles” in the disputed South China Sea
10:14PM ( 3 hours ago )
Jon Voight, Alison Krauss honored with national medals
Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, singer and musician Alison Krauss and mystery writer James Patterson are among those being honored by President Donald Trump for their contributions to the arts or the humanities
9:34PM ( 4 hours ago )
Russia providing mood music for House impeachment drama
Russia providing the mood music in House impeachment inquiry focused on Ukraine
6:44PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Lionel Messi in Israel despite rockets and boycott threats
Soccer superstar Lionel Messi has finally arrived in sports-crazed Israel after a Palestinian protest campaign derailed his previous visit and the latest round of cross-border fighting in Gaza threatened to scare him off once again
3:07PM ( 10 hours ago )
Algeria kicks off presidential campaign, 5 candidates to run
Algeria’s presidential campaign is officially starting on Sunday with five candidates vying to replace the longtime leader pushed out in April in an ongoing protest movement
12:20PM ( 13 hours ago )
Patrick refuses to disavow PAC money in Dem presidential bid
Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick says he will not discourage potential support from political committees raising huge sums for his campaign because he’s doing “catch up” in the 2020 race
10:36AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Edwards speaks to supporters after victory
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has appeared before a crowd of supporters and declared victory in a tight race for reelection
11:21PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Democrat Edwards reelected governor of Louisiana
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will keep his job as the Deep South’s only Democratic governor, in a blow to President Donald Trump, who tried to boost the incumbent’s opponent
10:58PM ( 1 day ago )
Sanders stars with Biden, Warren absent at California forum
Bernie Sanders was greeted with a raucous welcome at as convention of California Democrats, as the Vermont senator seeks to capture the biggest prize in next year’s presidential primary season
10:49PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Bolivian interim leader meets UN envoy amid violence fears
Bolivia’s interim president has met with a U.N. envoy to discuss the country’s crisis, a day after security forces fired on supporters of former President Evo Morales in a clash that left eight dead and raised fears the violence could escalate
11:12PM ( 1 day ago )
Louisiana vote: Democratic gov in nail-biter re-election bid
Louisiana runoff: Gov. John Bel Edwards bidding for reelection in a nail-biter of a contest against GOP businessman Eddie Rispone
4:39PM ( 1 day ago )
Bolivia’s crisis turns dangerous as 8 killed in clash
Officials now say at least eight people died when Bolivian security forces fired on supporters of Evo Morales
12:23PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Trump says impeachment probe has been ‘very hard’ on family
President Donald Trump says the impeachment probe has been “very hard” on his family
4:38AM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Trump says impeachment probe hard on his family
President Donald Trump says the impeachment probe has been “very hard” on his family
9:54PM ( 3 days ago )
Trump returns to Louisiana, trying to flip governor’s seat
President Donald Trump is making his third trip to Louisiana this fall, hoping to flip the state’s governorship to Republicans
8:06PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Biden holding Democratic campaign town hall at Vegas school
Former Vice President Joe Biden brought an alarmist warning to a diverse crowd of Democrats in early-caucus Nevada during a town hall, saying the country is at risk as long as Donald Trump is president.
12:03AM ( 1 day ago )
Harris’ Iowa pivot struggles to turn interest into momentum
Kamala Harris faces a challenge as she reorients her campaign to focus almost exclusively on Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation caucus in February
1:09AM ( 2 days ago )
Buttigieg backed by former Charlottesville, Va., mayor
The former mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, is endorsing Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign
5:32PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Buttigieg touts military service, wary of overstating role
Pete Buttigieg is leaning hard on his seven-month deployment as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan as a powerful credential, but the Democratic presidential candidate is walking a narrow path between giving his service its due and overstating it
1:51AM ( 2 minutes ago )
Ford Mustang SUV starts a blitz of new electric vehicles
Ford Mustang SUV starts a blitz of new electric vehicles that could make them more popular with US consumers
1:34AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Thousands at vigil for victims of California school shooting
Thousands of people held a candlelight vigil to remember two students shot and killed by a classmate at his Southern California high school as investigators try to determine what prompted the deadly attack that left three other teens wounded.
1:25AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Innocence Project seeks to clear a man executed 13 years ago
The Innocence Project, a nonprofit dedicated to clearing the innocent, seeks to allow use of DNA evidence in effort to exonerate a Tennessee man executed 13 years ago for a woman’s 1985 rape and murder
1:18AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Protesters try to leave Hong Kong campus but avoid arrest
As police close in, protesters try to leave Hong Kong university campus they occupy without getting arrested
1:04AM ( 49 minutes ago )