Former 2020 Presidential Candidates Remain Active in the Electoral Arena

(May 14, 2020)  After the intensity, excitement and grind of the presidential campaign and despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, erstwhile candidates have remained active in the electoral arena in various ways, including helping the Biden campaign and supporting Democratic candidates and causes. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden are working together.  The Sanders and Biden campaigns announced on April 30 an agreement on allocation and election of at-large and PLEO delegates and standing committee members (+) and on May 13 they announced leaders of Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces (+).

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced a series of donations: $2 million to Collective Future on March 9 (+), $500,000 to Voto Latino on March 12 (+), $2 million to Swing Left on March 17 (+), a transfer of $18 million to the DNC on March 20 (+), and a $1.5 million young voter registration effort by the gun safety group Everytown on April 9 (+).  [Note that Bloomberg also donated $5 million to Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight 2020 in Dec. 2019.]  On the minus side, Bloomberg is subject of a class action lawsuit (+) by former field staffers who say they were promised that they would have a job through the general election even if Bloomberg did not win the nomination.

In late March, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren launched Warren Democrats, "a movement to support candidates like Elizabeth who are fighting for bold, inclusive reform that roots out corruption in our government and puts power in the hands of the people."  Warren announced her first set of endorsements, 20 candidates, all women, on April 22 (+).  Warren has been mentioned as a possible VP pick.

On April 3, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Win The Era PAC, setting forth five values and characteristics it will use in choosing candidates and campaigns to support: generational leadership, building belonging, pioneering campaigns, substance and policy, and personal qualities (+).  Win the Era announced its first set of endorsements, 22 candidates, on May 13.  Buttigieg has also helped the Biden campaign, participating in virtual fundraisers on April 23 and April 30 and on May 15 he is scheduled to do a Biden campaign event billed as "Virtual Organizing Training with Pete Buttigieg in Virginia."

On May 1, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced the Win Big Project to "focus on electing Democrats from blue, purple and red districts and states who are committed to governing with integrity and moving our country forward."  The announcement included endorsements of 12 candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House, half incumbents and half challengers (+).  Klobuchar, mentioned as a leading VP prospect, participated in an April 20 "Here's the Deal" podcast (>) and a May 5 virtual fundraiser with Joe Biden.

CNN announced Andrew Yang was joining as a political commentator on Feb. 19.  In early March Yang launched Humanity Forward.  The nonprofit is working on COVID relief, starting with a program in the Bronx, "committing to delivering one-time, and recurring, basic income payments to individuals and families who stand to be most impacted by the coronavirus crisis." Humanity Forward has also outlined an endorsement process that starts with six values: humanity first; integrity and transparency; abundance; grace and forgiveness; not left or right but forward; and math (+).  Thus far Humanity Forward has not yet announced any endorsements.  Yang is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed on Apr. 28 against the New York State Board of Elections after it voted to cancel the presidential primary.  Yang participated in a May 11 "Here's the Deal" podcast with Biden (>).

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris is also mentioned as a possible VP pick.  On April 27 she participated in a Biden for President town hall with several African American leaders on "the disproportionate impact coronavirus is having on the African American communities."  She was also special guest at a virtual fundraiser with Biden on April 8.

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced formation of Powered by People on Dec. 20, 2019; its intial aim was to help elect Democratic candidates in Texas.  As the pandemic hit hard it focused on providing volunteers for food banks across Texas, but more recently it is returning to more of an electoral focus (+).  On May 13 O'Rourke participated in a Biden for President “Turn Texas Blue” virtual organizing event with Texas Students for Biden.

Four of the former candidates will, if all goes according to plan, be on the ballot in November 2020.  Two are in very high profile U.S. Senate races: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is challenging U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is challenging U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R).  Up for re-election are Gov. Jay Inslee in Washington and Sen. Cory Booker in New Jersey.