(New York Times) Jonathan Martin October 22 2019 WASHINGTON When a half-dozen Democratic donors gathered at the Whitby Hotel in Manhattan last week the dinner began with a discussion of which presidential candidates the contributors liked. But as conversations among influential Democrats often go these days the meeting quickly evolved into a discussion of who was not in the race but could be lured in. Would Hillary Clinton get in the contributors wondered and how about Michael R. Bloomberg the former New York mayor? One person even mused whether Michelle Obama would consider a late entry according to two people who attended the event which was hosted by the progressive group American Bridge. Its that time of the election season for Democrats. Since the last debate just anecdotally Ive had five or six people ask me: Is there anybody else?" said Leah Daughtry a longtime Democrat who has run two of the partys recent conventions. With doubts rising about former Vice President Joseph R. Bidens ability to finance a multi-state primary campaign persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warrens viability in the general election and skepticism that Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend Ind. can broaden his appeal beyond white voters Democratic leaders are engaging in a familiar rite: fretting about who is in the race and longing for a white knight to enter the contest at the last minute. It is a regular if not quite quadrennial tradition for a party that can be fatalistic about its prospects and recalls similar Maalox moments Democrats endured in 1992 2004 and in the last primary when it was Mr. Biden who nearly entered the race in October. But the mood of alarm is even more intense because of the partys hunger to defeat President Trump and with just over three months to go before voting starts in Iowa their impatience with finding Mr. or Mrs. Right among the current crop of candidates. Theres more anxiety than ever" said Connie Schultz a journalist who is married to Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio another Democrat who some in the party would like to see join the race. Were both getting the calls. Ive been surprised by some whove called me."
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