US Senate (Office of Sen. Sherrod Brown)(NEW YORK) — In the aftermath of two contentious state elections, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown joined “Powerhouse Politics” on Wednesday, sharing his beliefs that suburban voters and local elections will be the key for Democratic candidates in gaining support in the 2020 presidential election.
“Suburban Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington … these are the places that have the power to beat President Donald Trump in 2020,” Brown told ABC News Political Director MaryAlice Parks and Multi-platform Correspondent Serena Marshall. “And maybe even the ticket to beat [Sen. Mitch] McConnell in Kentucky.”
Last night’s elections in Virginia and Kentucky may offer support for Brown’s theory. For the first time in two decades, Democrats in Virginia reclaimed the majority in both the House and the Senate after flipping seats in traditionally Republican suburbs of Washington, D.C. and in near the state capital. In 2017, Democrats in Virginia forecasted a major backlash against Trump that materialized in the 2018 midterm elections.
“It’s suburban Washington that’s started the clock ticking on the demise of Republicans in Virginia,” Brown said. “That’s where we go. That’s [also] how we win Ohio for the Democrats. That how we win Senate seats around the country … That’s our ticket to beat Trump in 2020.”
Nationwide, Brown said the suburbs “pretty much flipped,” adding that this could be a foreshadowing of the 2020 election.
Tuesday night, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear declared victory in the Kentucky’s gubernatorial race after galvanizing the vote in the state’s cities and surrounding suburbs.
While that race is still too close to call, the results do show the Democrats increasing in power in these neighborhoods even in a southern state.
Deep into the Democratic presidential primary, Brown still talks openly about how he weighed a possible bid himself.
On the podcast, he claimed he did have a path, but ultimately decided not to run.
There has been considerable buzz about whether he would make a strong running mate though, having repeatedly carried a purple state and winning last year in Ohio, despite Trump also doing well there in 2016.
But Brown told ABC News that none of the 2020 Democratic candidates had approached him about joining their ticket, and he suggested it may be too risky for the party given the vulnerability of his Senate seat.
“If I were Vice President, my Senate seat would probably be replaced by a Republican, appointed by Governor [Mike] Dewine,” Brown said, calling it enough of a reason to stay put.
Brown said he has confidence that the large slate of Democratic 2020 contenders are “progressives” and capable of carrying on a legacy of progressivism he explores in his new book: Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America.
The book details the stories of eight progressive senators, — including Hugo Black, George McGovern and Al Gore — all of which carved their names into the bottom of the desk where Brown currently sits at the Senate chamber.
It chronicles how their progressive legacies relate to the Democratic field today.
Even though the senator started the book a decade ago, he said it’s more relevant to the election cycle today — as Democrats in 2020 could mark a new progressive era.
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