Michael Avenatti, the lawyer mulling a 2020 presidential bid, is attempting to put pressure on candidates running for reelection in the November midterms to signal whether they plan to seek higher office in two years.
Avenatti, who is representing adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, said Thursday that candidates who may be considering 2020 bids need to “commit now to either run or not run.”
“Any candidate that is currently running for higher office with an election in November owes it to voters to be honest about their intentions regarding 2020 NOW. They need to commit now to either run or not run as opposed to hiding it. Otherwise, they are deceiving voters,” he tweeted.
Avenatti, who dropped in on the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting in Chicago last week, issued the call as multiple potential 2020 contenders seek reelection this fall, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Warren, Pressley introduce bill to make it a crime for police officers to deny medical care to people in custody Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-N.Y.).
The 2020 White House battle is expected to kick off in force following the November midterm elections, with Democrats in the Senate and from several states jockeying for positioning for a chance to take on Trump
Should Avenatti launch a Democratic presidential bid, he is expected to join a crowded field. He has fueled speculation about a bid by visiting the crucial states of Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Ohio.
In addition to releasing a litany of policy positions earlier this month, he also announced last week the creation of the Fight PAC, which he says will support candidates in midterm elections with “the size and the presence to really fight back and advocate from a position of strength as opposed to weakness.”
The name of his PAC reflects the attitude he says he would take in a presidential campaign.
“I think that if the Democratic Party focuses on nominating who will make the best president, that’s going to be a critical mistake,” Avenatti told NBC News while in Iowa. “There’s only one question at the end of the day, and that question is: Can the potential nominee beat Donald Trump?”