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One year later, who made it?

By Staff | Feb 2, 2020

It is difficult to believe that after more than a year of house parties, town halls, conventions, parades, signs and stickers that the 2020 New Hampshire first-in-the-nation presidential primary is upon us.

In February 2019, we used this space to rank our Top 10 Democratic presidential contenders. Our list one year ago showed the following:

1. Kamala Harris of California

2. Joe Biden of Delaware

3. Beto O’Rourke of Texas

4. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

5. Cory Booker of New Jersey

6. Elizabeth Warren of Mass.

7. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York

8. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

9. Sherrod Brown of Ohio

10. Julian Castro of Texas

Clearly, we were not the only media outlet to overrate Harris and O’Rourke. For all of her positives, Harris simply struggled to find a consistent message during her time on the campaign trail before her eventual withdrawal from the race late last year. We still consider her a strong possibility for selection as the eventual nominee’s vice presidential running mate, however.

O’Rourke seemed to have many of the same problems, as he usually avoided giving solid answers to, really, anything. He probably should have kept his south Texas seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As African-Americans, it is conceivable that Harris and Booker were competing for many of the same voters along the way. Although Booker spent plenty of time in New Hampshire and earned some key endorsements, he just never gained enough momentum in fundraising or polling.

Gillibrand also made many trips to New Hampshire, but was always stuck in neutral when it came time to looking at polls.

Brown is the only candidate on our list who never formally launched a presidential bid, as he announced shortly after our February 2019 listing that he would not run. Having been elected three times to the U.S. Senate (2006, 2012 and 2018) as a Democrat from a state that trends Republican like Ohio, we wonder if Brown regrets not taking the leap.

During most of his time in the race, Castro was overshadowed by fellow Texan, O’Rourke. By the time O’Rourke withdrew from the campaign, Castro was so far behind in the polls and in fundraising that he exited shortly thereafter.

The other four on the list from a year ago (Biden, Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar) are, along with Indiana’s Pete Buttigieg, the top five candidates in New Hampshire … at least according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.

We’re still not totally sure who will win on Feb. 11 – or who will ultimately become the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee this summer.

We are sure this has already made for a first-in-the-nation (#FITN) primary that we’ll never forget.


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