The TAKE with Rick Klein
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More than a quarter of the way through 2018, consider the following and ask what it means for how long the Democratic primary race may last.
There are nearly 20 candidates in the race.
The leader in most polls, former Vice President Joe Biden, is still a week or more away from a possible announcement.
And in a new poll in big-prize California, Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard are all out-polling a U.S. senator from New York and a former governor of Colorado.
The Democratic Party is still in the process of redefining itself. It figures to be a while before its voters can define who its 2020 candidate will be.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
The next stage in campaigning will likely be all about making the stage.
With initial fundraising totals in and a pivot to the spring and summer, expect the focus to adjust over the next few months around who in the Democratic primary has qualified for the first debate.
The Democratic National Committee has imposed new debate qualification standards. Candidates must earn at least 1 percent of respondents in three national or early-state polls conducted between January 2019 and two weeks before the given debate have receive donations from at least 65,000 individuals across 20 different states, with a minimum of 200 unique donors per state. Debate participants are limited to 20.
Wednesday night, Gabbard announced that she had met one of the thresholds to secure a podium. The congresswoman from Hawaii said she received contributions from more than 65,000 donors.
Yang, a relatively unknown businessman, already announced he's cleared that watermark too.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is still weighing a bid for president, signaled Wednesday he is much closer to making a final decision.
"I just want you to remember one thing, of all the candidates running, how many have actually wrestled a 280-pound, 8-foot alligator for a political contribution for $15,000. ... If I can wrestle an alligator, I can sure as hell wrestle Donald Trump," he said at the Building Trades Conference in Washington.
But McAuliffe, who has deep connections in Democratic circles that could make him a fundraising powerhouse, faces a familiar challenge: distinguishing himself from the pack. But he might set himself apart with a centrist appeal and a resume with extensive executive experience.
“Governors don't talk, we've got to deliver. You have to look at the governors because they are CEOs," he said Wednesday, sandwiched between several declared candidates who all delivered similar pro-union pitches. "We have to work with folks to get it done. I'll work with anybody."
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce, who recaps another day of testimony from Attorney General William Barr. Then ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks explains exactly what's in Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" proposal. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. President Donald Trump insists he doesn't want to separate families at the border. Meanwhile, if Attorney General William Barr was seeking to dispel mystery about what isn't known about special counsel Robert Mueller's final report, he didn't accomplish it on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Guest: Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas. https://apple.co/21V9721
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