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Punters start backing O’Rourke again after he tells Oprah he’ll make his mind up by the end of the month

February 7th, 2019

And Biden’s plans remain a mystery

The big developments in the WH2020 race have been an appearance by one-time Democratic nomination favourite, Beto O’Rourke on Oprah’s V show and reports on BuzzFeed that the man toping the nomination polling, 76 year old Joe Biden, has made no contact at all with the states that hold their primaries first.

O’Rourke, who seemed to to be in a strong position after running Ted Cruz close in last November’s Texas race, had barely done anything since and the betting money money moved away from him. This compared with the betting move towards the high-profile California Senator, Kamala Harris, who launched her effort two weeks ago.

With so many contenders trying to make a mark a lot is going to depend on what happens in the early states to decide – Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. A good start in the Iowa caucuses could make a big difference. What makes the latter intriguing is that the state’s decision is not made by a secret ballot open to all voters but on those who attend on of 1,600 precinct meetings on a cold February evening next year. Good organisation there is at a premium.

This is why the first port of call for serious White House contenders is generally Iowa and why there’s quite a bit of surprise that ex-VP Biden has yet to make a move in that direction. Signing up the most experienced and knowledgeable organisers is an important first step. It might be a year off but activity needs to be taking place now.

The latest Betfair betting has Harris on 23% with O’Rourke and Biden on 13%.

Mike Smithson