When I left you last, we had eliminated the first eight Democrats in the current field of 24 running for President. Today there are a number of good matchups in this round so let’s get cracking!
#9 Kirsten Gillibrand (52, U.S. Senator, New York – down from #8) vs. #8 Cory Booker (50, U.S. Senator, New Jersey – down from #7)
This is a battle of two Senators who have had some difficulty standing out in a crowded field. I alluded to Gillibrand’s lackluster campaign in part one; fortunately, she’s up against a Senator who’s been more of a laughingstock to some and who hasn’t been the successor to Barack Obama he was perhaps shooting to be. It’s a battle of attrition here and a mild upset.
Winner: Gillibrand, 51-49.
#10 John Hickenlooper (67, most recent past governor of Colorado – down from #9) vs. #7 Amy Klobuchar (58 – for a few more days – U.S. Senator, Minnesota – down from #6)
Even though Hickenlooper is well known for opening a brewpub after being laid off as a geologist, his lack of buzz nationally wouldn’t be enough to overcome the fellow moderate, who has the advantage of the more national Senate stage.
Winner: Klobuchar, 59-41.
#11 Steve Bullock (53, term-limited current governor of Montana – not ranked) vs. #6 Elizabeth Warren (69, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts – down from #4)
Because Bullock is shiny and new, and Warren seems to have taken courses from Hillary Clinton on how to alienate broad swaths of the populace by trying to appear like a normal person, I smell an upset here. Warren’s campaign hasn’t been the juggernaut some may have hoped for when she jumped in the race so early.
Winner: Bullock, 52-48.
#12 Michael Bennet (54, U.S. Senator from Colorado – not ranked) vs. #5 Beto O’Rourke (46, former U.S. Congressman from Texas – no change)
Given the fact Beto is trying to “reboot” his campaign, the fact he drew the nondescript Bennet is a definite godsend for him. Out of the eight lower seeds that advanced, Bennet might be one of the just two or three O’Rourke could beat right now.
Winner: O’Rourke, 55-45.
#13 Andrew Yang (44, entrepreneur – up from #15) vs. #4 Kamala Harris (54, U.S. Senator from California – down from #3)
This is the opposite of the previous race, as Yang could beat some of the lower echelon players on a head-to-head basis. While Harris hasn’t run the most inspiring campaign, she would have enough name recognition over Yang – who may become the next Pete Buttigieg surging up through the field with good debate performances – to win this round. That may not be the case in a couple months.
Winner: Harris, 54-46.
#19 Tim Ryan (45, U.S. representative from Ohio – not ranked) vs. #3 Pete Buttigieg (37, mayor of South Bend, Indiana – up from #13)
Over the past two month, Pete has become the flavor of the day but he may be closing in on his expiration date as he receives more press scrutiny from opponents on both sides. In this case, though, he will have no trouble with the little-known lower seed Ryan whose Midwest roots are negated by Buttigieg’s similar background.
Winner: Buttigieg, 61-39.
#18 Julian Castro (44, former HUD Secretary – down from #12) vs. #2 Bernie Sanders (77, U. S. Senator from Vermont – no change)
While this has the same disparity of seeding as the previous contest, here’s another case where the expiration date may be on the milk carton. Remember, these are head-to-head battles and something tells me that feeling the Bern is so 2016 – meanwhile, Castro seems to be slowly building momentum. Bernie was never going to win this anyway, and I think his support isn’t as widespread as believed – witness how quickly he’s lost frontrunner status.
Winner: Castro, 51-49.
#16 Jay Inslee (68, current governor of Washington state – down from #11) vs. #1 Joe Biden (76, most recent previous Vice President and two-time previous candidate – no change)
There’s a reason Joe is the frontrunner, and Inslee isn’t the candidate who can beat him. Running on climate change is thin enough gruel, and it really serves well to alienate Joe’s Big Labor base.
Winner: Biden, 73-27.
So we are set up for part 3, which will wrap things up tomorrow. Here are the matchups, which go pretty much according to seeding except for my two huge upsets.
- #5 Beto O’Rourke vs. #4 Kamala Harris
- #11 Steve Bullock vs. #3 Pete Buttigieg
- #7 Amy Klobuchar vs. #18 Julian Castro
- #9 Kirsten Gillibrand vs. #1 Joe Biden
The semi-finals would pit the O’Rourke-Harris winner against the survivor of Gillibrand-Biden and place the Bullock-Buttigieg victor opposing the Klobuchar-Castro winner. Oddly enough, three of the four quarter-final pairings have a male against a female. Think that’s interesting? #Metoo.
See you tomorrow.