Midterm results could catapult these four Democratic stars into 2024 conversation

Election 2022 Biden
President Joe Biden, left, reacts during campaign event for Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore, right, at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. Julio Cortez/AP

Midterm results could catapult these four Democratic stars into 2024 conversation

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Democrats enjoyed better-than-expected midterm results on Tuesday and may have seen glimpses of the party’s next round of presidential contenders in the process.

While President Joe Biden insists he’s running for reelection and Vice President Kamala Harris may be ready to rev up as well, there are several newer, younger challengers whose stardom brightened Tuesday night. Here are four of the most prominent.

BIDEN BUOYED FOR 2024 AFTER BETTER-THAN-EXPECTED MIDTERM ELECTIONS

Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Whitmer, 51, defeated Republican challenger Tudor Dixon in the key Midwestern battleground state of Michigan, winning a second term as governor by nearly 10 points.

Dixon was one of several former President Donald Trump-endorsed candidates to fall in the midterm elections, giving Whitmer something to brag about should she seek higher office.

The incumbent led nearly every poll from the outset of the campaign and pulled in a massive fundraising haul. Whitmer also welcomed Biden to the Detroit Auto Show in September, showcasing that she’s not afraid to embrace the incumbent despite his low approval ratings. The two were even seen holding hands while strolling the show floor.

In winning reelection amid a difficult political environment in a state that can tip presidential elections, Whitmer put herself in the 2024 conversation.

Gavin Newsom

Already a big name and flirting with 2024 ambitions, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) cruised to victory last night, beating GOP challenger Brian Dahle by 21 points.

Newsom, 55, has run ads attacking Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and is now free to concentrate fully on a 2024 presidential run, should he choose that option.

California’s top elected official amassed a fundraising haul totaling more than $16 million, proving he’s got the chops to bring in dollars for a national campaign.

He vowed to serve a full four-year term if reelected, a message intended to rebut speculation that he may be eyeing a run for the White House if Biden bows out.

While Newsom firmly denies any interest in a presidential bid, polling suggests that he could be a top contender to lead a ticket.

Wes Moore

Wes Moore, 44, is a fast-rising star who became Maryland’s governor-elect Tuesday night.

Moore was the last candidate Biden campaigned with during the midterm cycle, appearing with him in the Washington, D.C., suburbs during a Monday night rally that was marred by a trio of hecklers.

While Maryland is a solidly blue state, Moore will replace two-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan when he takes office in January. He beat GOP candidate Dan Cox by 22 points.

Despite never holding office before, Moore has emerged as a new voice in the Democratic Party, racking up a number of high-profile endorsements in his gubernatorial bid. His victory marks a win for Democrats, winning back party control of the governor’s mansion in Maryland for the first time since 2015.

Moore has vowed to serve two terms if elected governor, which would rule him out of 2024, but many are already comparing him to former President Barack Obama, who entered the White House after serving less than one full term in the Senate.

Josh Shapiro

Josh Shapiro, 49, defeated controversial Republican candidate Doug Mastriano to become Pennsylvania’s next governor. He’ll succeed term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf (D).

Mastriano was considered a far-right election denier, so much so that Democrats backed him in the primary in hopes of securing an easier general election victory.

Still, Shapiro proved an effective fundraiser and has a record of winning statewide races. He campaigned with Biden and Obama on Nov. 5, showcasing a full embrace of the party establishment, and his win is yet another repudiation of Trump-backed candidates.

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With Pennsylvania serving as a key swing state in the last two presidential elections, Shapiro’s background could be a good starting point toward larger ambitions.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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