The 2020 presidential election campaign has already started

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The 2020 election is getting into full swing. That might seem to be an odd thing to say on the eve of 2019, but in presidential politics, the future is now.

The past year already saw many of the candidates who are hoping to replace President Donald Trump begin to lay groundwork for potential White House bids. Many of the likely hopefuls made trips to key early primary states. Some have even hired staff and locked down web addresses. Trump has also already announced his intention to run for re-election and even hosted a slew of campaign rallies.

In 2019, the race is going to start for real. Operatives in Washington, D.C., have spent recent weeks buzzing about donors and staffers choosing sides and even which cities the candidates will choose for campaign headquarters.

Presidential campaigns generally begin in earnest the year before an election. Last time, the top candidates began launching their bids in March 2015. This time, it looks like things will start even earlier.

Multiple likely candidates have suggested they will take the holidays to make final decisions on whether to run.

“The holidays are a time for family and reflection and you can expect that the hopefuls will be with their families over the break and weighing their options,” one consultant working with one of the potential Democratic candidates said.

On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee announced the party will begin its primary debates in June of next year, two months earlier than any debate was held in 2015. Part of the reason for the accelerated schedule is the sheer number of Democrats who are likely to throw their hats in the ring.

As of now, only two established Democratic politicians have officially launched presidential campaigns for 2020; Maryland Rep. John Delaney and West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda. Earlier this month, Julian Castro, formerly U.S. secretary of housing and urban development and San Antonio mayor, announced the formation of an exploratory committee.

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