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Which Democrats pass the 2016 Presidential “Freshness” Test?

Christopher Harris

In a previous article, entitled “Who passes the 2016 Presidential “Freshness” Test?”, we focused on putting the current crop of likely 2016 Presidential hopefuls from the Republican Party through the “Presidential Freshness Test” of National Journal writer, Jonathan Rauch. We found that the RNC had a rather deep field of 12 “Fresh” candidates. Out of the 12, only three of the likely candidates (Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Scott) were “Stale” candidates; and one (Ben Carson) was the only “Too Fresh” candidate. Furthermore, six of them had gubernatorial experience, which always looks good to the American electorate when they are considering someone to be Commander-in-Chief, Head of State, and Chief Executive Officer of these United States of America.

So lets take a look at a list of likely Democratic Party Presidential hopefuls for 2016, supplied by Ballotpedia, and see how “Fresh” they are, and how deep of a field the DNC is going to offer Democrats to choose from. Just as with the Republicans, these candidates are listed by, the office they currently (or formerly) held,  their First Elected Date, and their “Freshness Date/Status”.


2016 Democrat Candidates - LIKELY CANDIDATES - UA edit


Joe Biden: Vice President of the United States – First Elected (U.S. Senate) in 1972 = Stale as of 1986.

Hillary Clinton: Former United States Secretary of State – First Elected (U.S. Senate) in 2000 = Stale as of 2014. **Technically speaking, Mrs. Clinton has prominently been on the national stage since 1992, when she became the First Lady to President Bill Clinton. She was known to be politically active, essentially serving as Co-President. So technically speaking = Stale as of 2006**

Andrew Cuomo: Governor of New York – First Elected (Governor) in 2010 = Fresh until 2024.

Kirsten Gillibrand: U.S. Senator from New York – First Elected (U.S. Representative) in 2006 = Fresh until 2020. **Gillibrand didn’t reach National office until she was elected Senator in 2008. Technically speaking = Fresh until 2022**

Amy Klobuchar: U.S. Senator from Minnesota – First Elected (U.S. Senate) in 2006 = Fresh until 2020.

Martin O’Malley: Governor of Maryland – First Elected (Governor) 2006 = Fresh until 2020.

Bernie Sanders: U.S. Senator from Vermont – First Elected (U.S. House of Representatives) in 1990 = Stale as of 2004. **Sanders didn’t reach National office until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. Technically speaking = Fresh until 2020**

Brian Schweitzer: Former Governor of Montana – First Elected (Governor) in 2004 = Fresh until 2018.

Mark Warner: U.S. Senator from Virginia – First Elected (Governor) in 2002 = Fresh until 2016

Elizabeth Warren: U.S. Senator from Massachusetts – First Elected (U.S. Senate) in 2012 = Fresh until 2026

Jim Webb: U.S. Senator from Virginia – First Elected (U.S. Senate) in 2006 = Fresh until 2020


As stated before, one of the vagaries of this “Freshness” test is how the “clock” stops for a candidate if they make it into the Vice-Presidency within that 14-year period; As was the case with President Lyndon B. Johnson, and then President Richard M. Nixon. You will note that some of the candidates on the list above have exceptions on their “Freshness”, because they were previously U.S. Representatives, which would normally qualify as “National Office”. However, according to the “Freshness” test, that doesn’t necessarily count, maybe because most Americans don’t know who most U.S. Representatives are, beyond their own Representative.

The really fascinating thing about this field of Democratic candidates, is the candidacy of Former United States Secretary of State, Former U.S. Senator, and Former First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton. She has the most unique “exception” to her “Freshness”, because for all intents and purposes, she was truly the first woman in history to be a de facto “Co-President of the United States”, and to have truly been a shadow running mate of her husband when they won the general election in 1992. With that in mind, her “Freshness” was up in 2006. However, if you subject her to the Presidential “Freshness” test, according to when she first achieved elected office (in 2000) in her own right, she would have still gone “Stale” in 2014 anyway.

So when you look at this list of 11 candidates, you will see that, just as with the Republicans, the field is rather deep with “Fresh” candidates. Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton are the only “Stale” candidates. A field of nine “Fresh” candidates, with four of them having gubernatorial experience, should make for a strong field of qualified people to choose from. However, I suspect that most of these “Fresh” candidates are going to have a heck of a time breathing in the same room with the two “Stale” candidates, when they have the name recognition, and the financial backing, to suck most of the oxygen (and money) out of the room. Should be a wild ride for Democrats who are trying to saddle up the donkey and ride it into the White House.

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