The race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 has already begun, but don't expect to hear too much about it for at least a couple more years.
Just know that the jockeying for position is now underway. And your new front-runner is the former also-ran of the 2016 Democratic primary: former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
The former governor, who finished in a dismal third place in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic Caucuses back in February, made a couple of return trips to the Hawkeye State prior to Christmas to campaign on behalf of state Rep. Jim Lykam (D-Davenport). The legislator was running in a special election Tuesday to fill the local state Senate seat vacated by the death of the incumbent.
Gov. Terry Branstad—now the U.S. ambassador-designate to China—had attempted to set the election to fill the Senate seat during the Nov. 8 general election, but was stymied by the Scott County Auditor, a Democrat, who pushed for a Dec. 26 special election instead. Lykam was widely expected to win in the heavily Democratic district—and did—but the party took nothing to chance.
Democrats in Iowa were devastated in the Nov. 8 election, losing six of nine Senate seats they were attempting to hold and giving up control of the upper chamber for the first time in 18 years. They lost two of 43 seats they were attempting to hold in the House of Representatives.
In addition to spending time in Iowa campaigning for Lykam, O'Malley pumped PAC money into the fellow Democrat's campaign. Afterward, his O'Say Can You See PAC issued the following statement:
On Tuesday, now-Senator Jim Lykam won his special election to the Iowa State Senate seat. A silver lining at the end of a tough year.
It was an honor—cancelled flights, sub-zero temperatures and all—to campaign with Jim in Davenport a couple [of] weeks ago.
With your help, I will continue to travel across the country to help elect progressive Democrats to office. The strength of our party lies with the grassroots. We must re-mobilize and rebuild from the bottom up. 2016 may have been a setback. But 2017 is our path back to victory.
Be it ever so small, a win is a win, and right now, Democrats are looking desperately for a winner.