The number of Democrats running for president is growing as the first votes of the primary approach. And voters have a clear message: Stop.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick roiled the race last week by launching a surprise bid. New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg is likely to do the same in the coming days.
The late entries, less than 80 days before Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, have exposed a fresh gulf in a party already plagued by divisions. On one side: anxious establishment leaders and donors, who are increasingly concerned about the direction of the race and welcome new candidates. On the other: many rank-and-file voters and local officials across early voting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, who are drowning in candidates and say they’re more than satisfied with their current options.
“They need to sit down. We’ve got enough Democrats running,” said Debra Tyus, a 63-year-old Democrat from Walterboro, South Carolina.
In New Hampshire, 75-year-old undecided Democrat Thea Lahti said it’s “awfully late” in the process and fears that adding more candidates is “further splintering the field.”
And in Iowa, state Rep. Jennifer Konfrst said she hasn’t spoken to a single Democrat who felt the current field wasn’t good enough.