California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)
Both political parties have shadow primaries under way. A large Republican field is campaigning for the 2024 presidential nomination. They are visiting Iowa and New Hampshire, giving speeches at the Nixon and Reagan presidential libraries, and writing and promoting books. Their positions range from Donald Trump accolades wanting to see if he runs, to anti-Trumpers claiming to be running regardless of what he does.
Democrats, even with a seated President, also have a shadow primary under way. It's based on the assumption that Biden may not run for re-election. No one in the field is publicly breaking with him, but age, polls, and possibly a bad midterm election are weighting the side of one term.
Not surprisingly, Vice President Kamala Harris is the front-runner in a Morning Consult poll just released. She had 28 percent of the Democrats polled, with one-quarter of voters undecided. The results reflect a decline in Harris’s support since December 2021 of 5 points, down from 33 percent.
Among the nearly 50 percent of the Democrats in favor of other candidates, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was in second position with 13 percent.
Gavin Newsom, with 6 percent, joins the pack of liberals, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (8%) and Elizabeth Warren (7%) who jockey for third place in the field. Newsom’s standing with Democratic voters doubled in the last year, no doubt reflecting his high-profile challenge to Republican governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbot. Democrats should expect to see more of him as the political focus shifts to 2024 after the November 8th midterms.