Democratic leaders in Iowa, the starting line for the party’s wide-open 2020 presidential contest, are hungry for a young standard-bearer who will usher in generational change, which is erecting a potential roadblock for the three best-known prospective contenders for the nomination.
.. Of the 76 Democratic county party leaders who responded to the survey, 43 said they would prefer a young candidate. They said they want a fresh face and expressed interest in potential candidates who haven’t run for president before. They yearn for a nominee with the energizing charisma of President Barack Obama to counter President Donald Trump’s rowdy base. Most said gender wouldn’t be a determining factor.
.. Those are hurdles that could trip up three of the best-known potential candidates, former Vice President
- Joe Biden, and Sens.
- Bernie Sanders of Vermont and
- Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts,
each of whom will be at least 70 years old when Iowa Democrats caucus in February 2020.
“They’re all too old,” said Chris Henning, the 71-year-old Democratic chairwoman in Greene County. “It’s not white bread America any more, we’ve got to get with the program.”.. “We have to look for the Barack Obama scenario for the party,” said Bryce Smith, the 26-year-old Democratic chairman in Dallas County, a booming Des Moines suburb that is the fifth-fastest growing county in the nation, with a 32% population increase from 2010 to 2017. “I can’t see how my generation, 18- to 34-year-olds, can get excited about a 70-year-old candidate ever again.”.. He said he is intrigued by Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who narrowly lost a Senate race to Republican Ted Cruz. “Beto, he sounds and talks like he’d be Barack Kennedy,” Mr. Smith said, suggesting that Mr. O’Rourke had charisma akin to Mr. Obama or the Kennedys... New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.. When Ms. Harris, 54 years old, appeared recently in Cedar Rapids, “I got calls from people in counties 100 miles away” hoping to attend.. The clamor for a generational change may take its harshest toll on the 77-year-old Mr. Sanders if he decides to run again...Ms. Warren, who will turn 70 in June, declined to run for president in 2016 despite a high-profile effort to draft her into the race. The delay may wind up hurting her chances in 2020... Some said they might make an exception for Mr. Biden, a 76-year-old who was still in demand as a campaign surrogate during this year’s midterms. One person defined “young” as “less than mid-70s.”