While Republicans are trying to figure out who to support this year, Democrats can get a head start on who they might support in 2016. Here are some top candidates who may seek the 2016 Democratic nomination.
1. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Although Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said that she plans to retire from politics after she steps down as secretary of state, she still has a loyal following who want her to run in 2016 – her husband is probably chief among them. She’s very popular. Not only is she a prolific fundraiser, but she has the experience, expertise, and network to win – not to mention that her website – www.hillaryclinton.com – is still up and running, and selling t-shirts that read “Hillary For President.”
2. Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is widely talked about as a Democratic candidate for president in 2016. He was previously New York’s Attorney General, served in the Clinton administration as the secretary for Housing and Urban Development, and was a close adviser to his father, Mario Cuomo, when the elder Cuomo was governor of New York. Andrew Cuomo’s national profile was heightened after he successfully shepherded New York’s same-sex marriage bill, securing the backing of four Republicans in the New York state house and writing in protections for religious institutions. His fundraising skyrocketed after passage of the bill.
3. Governor Martin O’Malley
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is in his second term. He has used his tenure as head of the Democratic Governors Association to raise his national profile, and frequently assails his Republican counterparts for their attacks on labor unions. This month, O’Malley introduced a same-sex marriage bill in Maryland, and has made its passage one of his top priorities. O’Malley’s second term ends in 2014, which would provide him ample time to build a national campaign and enhance his visibility around the country. Incidentally, O’Malley was one several inspirations for fictional Mayor of Baltimore Tommy Carcetti in the HBO series The Wire.
4. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand represents New York. She was appointed to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2009 and was elected in her own right in 2010, having previously represented New York in the House of Representatives. She is well-connected and a remarkable fundraiser. Her supporters have even started a Facebook page “Supporters of Kirsten Gillibrand for President in 2016.”
5. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is one of the most influential elected Latinos in the United States. He is also the president of the United States Conference of Mayors. This week, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced that Villaraigosa will chair the Democratic National Convention in August. Villaraigosa cannot run for re-election in Los Angeles, and the Convention will give him an opportunity to elevate his national profile as he contemplates his next steps after his term ends in 2013.
6. Mayor Cory Booker
Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker, a former Rhodes Scholar, is young, charismatic, and attractive. He is passionate about his politics, including education reform and same-sex marriage. For six years, he lived in a low-income housing complex in Newark. Booker was re-elected mayor of Newark in 2010, and some think he may challenge New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2014. A poll last year showed Booker and Christie virtually tied in a future gubernatorial race.
Some honorable mentions, but much longer shots, are California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren. Both rising stars within the Democratic party. Harris, elected attorney general of California in 2010, recently made national headlines for her tough negotiations on a national mortgage settlement. Warren, a darling of the left who Republicans successfully prevented from heading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is in a tight race against Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
Who would you add to this list?
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