The First In The Nation primary is just over 300 days away, and the question we constantly get here at New Hampshire Journal is “Who’s up? Who’s down? Who’s really catching fire in the Granite State.”

And now we have your answer: It’s the NHJournal 2020 Primary “Starting Five” Power Ranking!

NHJournal asked ten New Hampshire politicos, pros and number-crunching pundits this question:

It’s the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, and you’re the coach. You can only put five players –AKA candidates — on the court. Who are your starting five? In order of performance?  We gave our “coaches” complete anonymity so they would speak freely about their fellow Democrats, and then we aggregated their responses.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, here are your Granite State Democratic Party “Starting Five:”


#1 Bernie Sanders

Position: U.S. Senator

Age: 77

Hometown: Burlington, VT

Coach’s comment: “Can’t take the guy who was the leading scorer last season off the court for the season opener – but this aging superstar could lose his spot in the lineup as the season plays out.”


#2 Joe Biden

Position: Former Vice President of the United States

Age: 76

Hometown: Wilmington, DE

Coach’s comment: “Joe Biden remains the 800 lb. gorilla in the room.”


#3 Kamala Harris

Position: U.S. Senator

Age: 54

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Coach’s comment: “Needs to show commitment to retail campaigning here in New Hampshire.”


#4 Cory Booker

Position: U.S. Senator

Age: 49

Hometown: Newark, NJ

Coach’s comment: “Great fundamentals. Strong inside game. Good staff.”


#5 Beto O’Rourke

Position: Former Congressman

Age: 46

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Coach’s comment: “He’s earned this spot because of the love affair he’s had with the press and some supporters, but he won’t remain there long if he doesn’t add substance to his interactions.”


We also asked our committee of political coaches to fill two more slots:

ON THE BENCH: The one candidate who’s just not playing well right now and needs to be benched until he/she can re-focus and get back in the game.

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand were among those mentioned, but the candidate sent to the bench by the most coaches was…

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Coach’s comment: “Every first-round draft class has a flame-out and she could be it.”


THE CINDERELLA STORY: The one candidate who isn’t in the starting five, but is impressing you with her/his unexpectedly solid performance. You wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the court in the future.

And there was an overwhelming consensus that the Cinderella story right now is…


Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN

Coach’s comment: “Mayor Pete blew folks away at the Politics and Eggs event and CNN town hall.  He has poise and smarts. Not sure he has legs.”


Agree? Disagree? Please send your NH 2020 Primary “Starting Five” to [email protected].  We may include your comments when we update the NHJournal “Starting Five” in the near future!