Governors and Senators Weigh In as Democrats Search for a New Leader


As President Joe Biden’s presidential debate performance continues to raise questions about his ability to lead the party, Democratic governors are emerging as potential saviors of the party. However, Senate Democrats, who have previously run for president, remain on the sidelines.

Governors Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, J.B. Pritzker, Josh Shapiro, and Andy Beshear have been floated as potential successors to Biden, along with Vice President Kamala Harris. The White House has vehemently denied reports that Biden is considering withdrawing from the race.

Governors have an edge over senators when it comes to becoming presidents, with 17 governors accomplishing the feat throughout U.S. history. Just three senators have become president.

“Governors tend to be picked from particular geographies, the nominees from both parties, with higher probabilities of winning because they can bring different parts of the country together,” said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton.

However, the governors who have been floated as potential successors are not currently interested in the job of commander-in-chief. Newsom has repeatedly dismissed calls to jump into the race and has remained one of Biden’s most loyal surrogates. Whitmer has stated she is “behind him 100% in the fight to defeat Donald Trump” and has insisted Biden can still win her battleground state of Michigan. Pritzker has also remained steadfastly behind the president, saying he is “100% on board with supporting him as our nominee unless he makes some other decision.”

Some Democratic strategists argue that Senate Democrats, who have previously run for president, could be appealing options. Sen. Tim Kaine, a second-term senator from Virginia, has been praised for his experience running in a national campaign before. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a centrist who closely aligns with the party’s moderate wing, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.

However, the governors who have been floated as potential successors remain the most likely candidates to take the helm of the party.

Ramsey Touchberry
Ramsey Touchberry
Ramsey Touchberry is a Capitol Hill Reporter focusing on energy and environment. Previously, Ramsey covered Congress for Newsweek and was a multimedia reporter at a local NPR and PBS affiliate in Florida. A native of the Sunshine State, Ramsey graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in broadcast and digital journalism.

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