The First In The Nation primary is 223 days away (but who’s counting?) 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.

Once again, these are the views of New Hampshire activists and pundits on how the current field looks here. And the new rankings contain some major shake-ups since we released our last Starting Five, including a new #1!


And so, ladies and gentlemen, here are your Granite State Democratic Party “Starting Five” for Independence Day, 2019:


#1 Elizabeth Warren

Position: U.S. Senator

Age: 70

Hometown: Norman, OK

Previous “Starting Five” ranking: Unranked.

Coaches comments: “Strong debate, keeping up the momentum, strong NH team.”

“Getting a second chance at the expense of Bernie.”


#2 Kamala Harris

Position: U.S. Senator

Age: 54

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Previous “Starting Five” ranking: #2 

Coaches comments: “Voters now have someone else they can imagine going toe to toe with the President.”

“She moved way up in my power rankings Thursday night.”


#3 Joe Biden (tie)

Position: Former Vice President of the United States

Age: 76

Hometown: Wilmington, DE

Previous “Starting Five” ranking: #3

Coaches comments: “Mr. VP, welcome to the race. There are no coronations.”

“Needs his second wind or he’ll be riding the bench soon.”


#3 Bernie Sanders (tie)

Position: U.S. Senator

Age: 77

Hometown: Burlington, VT

Previous “Starting Five” ranking: #1

Coaches comments: “Got outraised by the mayor of South Bend, IN; Didn’t do anything in the debate; Zero buzz in NH.”

“He’s Shaq at the end of his career. Big name, but nobody expects him to play.”


#5 Pete Buttigieg

Position: Mayor of South Bend, IN

Age: 46

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Previous “Starting Five” ranking: #4

Coaches comments: “Still in the hunt. Impressive answer on the police shooting back home.”

“So-so debate, lagging ground game, but raising a lot of money.”


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.

A couple of mentions of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and even one vote for Joe Biden, but by far the consensus choice for the candidate who needs to be sidelined is…


Beto O’Rourke

(O’Rourke was previously ranked #5)

Coaches comments: “Just not ready for prime time.”

“Barring a major turnaround, Beto’s excellent adventure will find itself relegated to the practice squad.”


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

It was a close vote for Cinderella story between Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and…


Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro

(Castro was previously unranked)

Coaches comments: “Credit where credit is due for knocking Beto down to size. Predict today that Castro beats Beto in TX.”


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!