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2028 Already?

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2024 hasn’t even happened and yet…

In American politics, no state punches above its weight more than Iowa. With a long-standing tradition of being first in the nation’s presidential primary contests, the political magnifying glass perhaps burns brightest in the Hawkeye State. So the reaction was understandably strong when the Iowa Democratic Party announced that Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear would serve as keynote speaker at its annual fundraiser in July. Though Iowa is no longer the first Democratic presidential primary in the nation, it still raises the eyebrows of those already pontificating about an open Democratic presidential primary in 2028…

Beshear, 46, still a young politician fresh off an impressive five-point reelection campaign last November, is one of more than a dozen Democrats floated by national media and consultants as contenders for the 2028 presidential nomination. Prominent Clinton-era strategist James Carville recently named Beshear among a few of the party’s brightest young stars. While 2028 is a long ways off, the timing for Beshear could work well for a presidential run. He’s term-limited from running again when the second term expires in 2027. Beshear has repeatedly said he’s committed to serving out the term, eschewing the possibility of a U.S. Senate bid in 2026.

Ok… I had hoped that we were done with Iowa being a thing in Democratic circles, but maybe. Beshear will be 50 in 2028 and as a term-limited governor in a deep red state faces an uncertain political future. He’s sworn off running for McConnell’s open seat in 2026 but not for Paul’s seat in 2028… I’m honestly not sure which of those would be the tougher race to win. KY-3 is occupied and KY-6 has become a very tough district for a Democrat to win; even if Andy Barr steps down to run for McConnell’s seat it’s still an R+9 (although this means Beshear would likely represent the only plausible Dem pickup opportunity). And anyway how often do former governors find themselves in the House of Representatives?

In this context, a soft campaign for President makes sense… if it gets traction great, if not it puts Beshear into decent position for a cabinet position or even for VP. Of course we ain’t even done with 2024 but in either case (assuming we’re allowed to have an election) the 2028 race will be open on both sides of the aisle…

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