Political News

#2020Vision: Deval Patrick on the trail; Gillibrand's moment; Fox unfriendly to Steyer's ad

Posted December 8, 2017 1:36 p.m. EST

— Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the 2020 Democratic presidential race:

An interesting figure will campaign for Doug Jones in Alabama this weekend: former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Beloved by Barack Obama world but out of office since early 2011 and now working for Bain Capital (yes, Mitt Romney's Bain Capital), it's a return to the national campaign trail for someone who's the subject of 2020 chatter in Democratic circles, if not with the broader electorate.

"Patrick is definitely looking at running for president. He's had conversations with a lot of people," one Democratic strategist said.

Patrick and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, another 2020 prospect, are headed to Alabama to help Jones turn out African-American voters ahead of Tuesday's Senate special election against Roy Moore.

News and notes:

GILLIBRAND'S MOMENT: By being the first senator to call on Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to resign, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand -- for the second time -- was the first Democrat to answer uncomfortable questions about her own party's bad actors. And while those comments have angered some within the party, Gillibrand's actions have positioned her to turn her focus to Republicans and make an aggressive case against President Donald Trump. The short version: At the same time Gillibrand led the charge against sexual misconduct in her own party, Trump -- accused of sexual assault himself -- endorsed Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate facing allegations that he pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls while in his 30s.

Now that Franken is sidelined, a Democratic strategist who worked for Gillibrand said Trump "should be very, very concerned here."

"It should be quite the contrast for the media to take note of and for the American people, for voters, to know that Al Franken resigned and Roy Moore could be sitting in the chamber," the strategist said. "And that's what Donald Trump seems to want."

HOW KLOBUCHAR HANDLED FRANKEN: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar wasn't among the first Democratic senators to urge fellow Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to resign. That, she explained to CNN's Dana Bash on Friday, was because of their relationship. "I felt I was in a different role as his colleague, that I'm someone that has worked with him for a long time, there's a lot of trust there, and I felt it was best to handle it in that way," she said. "I talked to him about the fact that you had reached the situation with the mounting allegations and the fact that there was an ethics investigation going on."

FOX UNFRIENDLY TO STEYER'S AD: Tom Steyer, in the middle of spending $20 million on a national advertising push for President Donald Trump's impeachment, was rebuked again by "Fox & Friends," the President's favorite morning show. But The Washington Post's Dave Weigel reports that "on Wednesday, Steyer learned that the ad would not run during the morning show, citing 'viewer kickback.' It could, instead, be run during afternoon hours when the network focuses more on straight news."

GARCETTI DUCKS ON 2020: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has kept up a robust travel schedule, and -- while he wouldn't talk about his own presidential ambitions on David Axelrod's podcast -- he said he wants mayors to run. "I hope, even if I never did, that we have mayors that run for president because they are ready," Garcetti said. Also worth noting are his comments about the size of Los Angeles. "This is bigger than 23 states. If I was governor of any of those 23 states, I don't think people would dismiss that," Garcetti said. "We run a port, an airport, municipal utility -- not through authorities but direct -- and I chair a transportation authority that's 10 million people, which is bigger I think than 43 or 45 states. So it's not a question of whether mayors could."

O'MALLEY'S SOUTH CAROLINA TRIP: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is heading to Charleston to stump for two South Carolina Democrats. He will be in Charleston on December 16 to speak at a rally, knock on doors and headline a happy hour event at Charleston's Bay Street Biergarten. He's backing Joe Cunningham, who is running for Rep. Mark Sanford's seat, and Cindy Boatwright, a state House candidate.

The week ahead:

-- Saturday, December 9 -- Just as the political world turns its eyes to Minnesota, former Vice President Joe Biden will be in Minneapolis on Saturday. He's the special guest at the Minnesota DFL Founders Day event, starting at 4 p.m. CT in the Minneapolis Hilton.

-- Saturday and Sunday, December 9-10 -- New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick campaign for Doug Jones ahead of Alabama's Senate special election Tuesday.

-- Tuesday, December 12 -- Alabama voters decide between Jones and Republican Roy Moore in the race to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Before you go:

Joe Biden will preside over the second inauguration of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on New Year's Day. Presumably this time he'll get the right Marty Walsh. ... Is retiring Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake a third-party factor in the 2020 contest?