Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Julián Castro, a former member of Barack Obama’s cabinet, kicked off his Democratic presidential campaign over the weekend. He made the announcement from his hometown of San Antonio, where he formerly served as mayor.
* In the latest CNN poll, Donald Trump’s approval rating is just 37%, but of likely interest to the White House is this: among whites without college degrees – the heart of the president’s base – Trump has a 45% approval rating and a 47% disapproval rating. It’s the first time in Trump’s presidency that he’s been “underwater” with this constituency.
* Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has hired a series of prominent Democratic staffers, leaving no doubt about her plans to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
* On a related noted, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has scheduled a trip to South Carolina on Jan. 25, which also leaves little doubt about her 2020 plans.
* Just two weeks into his new term on Capitol Hill, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) isn’t denying his interest in returning to West Virginia and running for governor next year. If the conservative Democrat is serious about this, his seat will likely flip from “blue” to “red” soon after.
* Trying to clarify his electoral plans, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said late last week that he will, in fact, seek a second term later this year. Asked why he still hadn’t filed the necessary campaign materials, the Republican said, “I’m the governor of Kentucky, that’s my focus, not paperwork.”
* Georgia’s Stacey Abrams (D), who very nearly won a gubernatorial race last year, was in D.C. last week, where she met with Democratic leaders about a possible 2020 campaign against incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R).
* And my informal list of possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates already has four former or current mayors on it: New York’s Michael Bloomberg, South Bend’s Pete Buttigieg, Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti, and New Orleans’ Mitch Landrieu. Apparently, I should add New York’s Bill DeBlasio to the list. Asked about his 2020 plans, he told CNN yesterday, “I never rule things out because you never know what life brings.”