As former Vice President Joe Biden inched closer to declaring his candidacy for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination last week, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond went on record predicting that Biden would be the party’s best hope to defeat President Donald Trump.
That doesn’t mean that Richmond is putting all his eggs in Biden’s basket.
He’s also developing an alliance with an already-declared candidate, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Warren has introduced a bill in the Senate that would create more than 3 million new affordable housing units nationwide. Richmond, whose home base of New Orleans is certainly suffering from serious affordability challenges, has filed a companion bill in the House.
Teaming up with Richmond is a strategic move for Warren on several fronts. The most obvious is that, while Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, Democrats now control the House. That means that Richmond’s bill is much more likely to get a vote than Warren’s — which, she said at a press conference late last year, could raise its profile and create momentum for Senate action down the road.
Another plus for Warren is that Richmond’s got a position in the leadership, assistant to the House Majority Whip. And because he’s a generation younger than the top members of leadership, he’s well-positioned to move up even further in the future.
As for Richmond, he’d benefit from having strong ties to the party’s nominee, whoever that turns out to be. Richmond has also appeared locally with yet another candidate, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, which suggests he's keeping an open mind.
Given how many candidates are either running or still considering it, there’s no reason he shouldn’t.