Political Strategists, Voters React to Sen. Harris’ 2020 Announcement

SACRAMENTO -- California Sen. Kamala Harris threw her hat into what’s already expected to be a crowded field of Democrats running for president.

But some strategists say Harris’ diverse background and name recognition could be an advantage for her.

“Look, there could be 25 people who look to run. There’s no one who could say, ‘I know exactly how to do it because I’ve done it before,’ because we have never seen this before with a very crowded field," Democratic political strategist Andrew Acosta said.

Acosta says Harris has a good shot going into this primary season.

He says as the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, Harris brings diversity and experience.

“Obviously she’s going to oppose Trump, we saw that in the Kavanaugh hearings. She’s going to ask tough questions. But she’s a prosecutor and she’s smart. She’s not just going to throw bombs,” Acosta said.

The 54-year-old is a former prosecutor and California Attorney General -- a past that Cal Matters columnist Dan Walters says could both hurt and help her chances.

“Some of her rivals are already taking little shots at her being a prosecutor and so forth, and too close to the cops. On the other hand, if she were to be the nominee, being a prosecutor probably wouldn’t hurt her,” he said. “You get into some of those swing states like Florida and Ohio and what not that would commend her, somewhat.”

With such a large field of candidates, Walters says it’s hard to predict whose message will resonate with the country. He says Harris’ challenge will be finding a way to stand out.

“She’s not the only woman, she’s not the only person of color. She’s not alone in any of those regards, so she doesn’t have that kind of singular quality where she becomes a phenomenon. It’s like going into the Super Bowl. You pay your money, you get in the game and you hope you win,” Walters told FOX40.

Strategists also point out that so much could happen between now and 2020, so it’s really hard to say who’ll come out on toe.

Feminist Groups Excited About 2020

This is already shaping up to be a historic election for women. Sen. Harris is the fourth woman to join the field and feminist groups in Sacramento are thrilled.

"That overall is a testament of the times that we live in and that the country is ready to allow women to take the lead," said Dulce Ramirez, the communications director for Fem Dems of Sacramento. "Because we’ve been taking the lead for far too long and not getting the respectability attached to that as well."

Ramirez was inspired by the historic number of women planning to run. She said after seeing a record-breaking number of women elected to Congress this past year, the country is ready for a woman to take the highest office.

"I think we’ve been ready for such a long time and it’s definitely been shown across the last couple of months as we’ve seen a lot of women be elected," she told FOX40.

But Walters has doubts.

“At least in the Democratic party, it’s a great benefit to be a woman candidate these days," Walters said. "Does it help you outside of the party when you’re looking for a broader electorate? I don’t know. Ask Hillary Clinton that question, she could probably answer it pretty well."

Still, he says Harris is on solid footing for the primaries, even with a large field of candidates expected.

Walters says the nation could see as many as 20 to 30 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. Right now, there’s no clear front runner. A lot could happen between now and 2020.

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