US Representative Seth Moulton will travel to New Hampshire in two weeks, according to people familiar with the planning of his visit.
The trip to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state will likely restart buzz that the Salem Democrat is exploring a run for president.
Moulton, 40, will address the Bedford (N.H.) Democratic Committee on Feb. 2, at a time a host of Democrats are exploring bids for president.
Since Friday, four Democrats have made moves to run for president, including Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro officially entered the race Saturday and spent Tuesday night and Wednesday in New Hampshire. They join Senator Elizabeth Warren, who announced a couple weeks ago that she was exploring a presidential bid. Roughly two dozen names are being floated as potential candidates in the Democratic field.
Although Moulton has traveled to both Iowa and New Hampshire in the past two years, he has not been as closely watched as others eyeing the White House. Media organizations rarely name him to their list of prospective candidates.
Moulton is not expected to make any major announcements about a White House campaign during his trip.
Moulton spokesman Matt Corridoni said the congressman “is always happy to accept invitations to speak with Democratic groups, especially ones so close to home.
“This is an outstanding request from the Bedford Democrats and Seth is looking forward to chatting with them about what he hopes to achieve in our new Democratic House majority,” added Corridoni.
This will be Moulton’s first trip to any early presidential primary state since the November election.
While he said in December he was not interested in a long-rumored Democratic primary challenge to US Senator Ed Markey in 2020, he never ruled out a run for president.
In a meeting with The Boston Globe editorial board Monday, Moulton was directly asked three times if he would run for president. Each time he changed the subject.
“American government is shut down and Americans are not getting their paycheck,” Moulton replied to the first inquiry, before delving into voting irregularities in North Carolina and Georgia in the 2018 election.
When it was pointed out that he didn’t answer the question, Moulton responded: “No, look these are the things we should be talking about.”
And when he was asked about a timeline to make a decision, he said: “You’ve heard everything you need to know.”
Moulton’s potential interest in running for president follows a rough few months for him in Washington and in his district. He became the face of Democratic opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s bid for House Speaker. But he eventually backed down and voted for her on the House floor earlier this month.
In the wake of his campaign against Pelosi — the first woman to hold the Speaker’s gavel — local activists indicated they were looking to challenge Moulton in the primary for his House seat in 2020.
That same backlash could damage his presidential hopes as well, according to some Democrats.
“It’s just not going to work,” said Boston-based Democratic strategist Mary Ann Marsh on Moulton potentially running for president. “In a Democratic primary for president or US Senate or his own re-election is going to have a problem with women voters because he opposed Nancy Pelosi the way he did.”
Pelosi’s office did not return a request to comment Wednesday on Moulton’s interest in the White House.
Moulton’s New Hampshire visit could shake up the region’s political donor circuit as Warren has already visited both Iowa and New Hampshire this month. In addition, former US secretary of state John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee, still hasn’t ruled out running for president again in 2020.
In the Globe editorial board meeting, Moulton demurred on whether he was open to endorsing Warren, but said he thought “it is great” Warren was running and that they have a good relationship.
Ahead of the midterm election, Moulton was busy in New Hampshire. He visited a handful of times and had his political action committee boost local candidates like newly elected state Representative Matt Wilhelm, a 36-year-old Democrat from Manchester.
Wilhelm, who introduced Warren last weekend at her first event in the Granite State, said Moulton is a candidate who could catch on in the state.
“He has a career defined by service, and I think Democrats right now are really open-minded to hearing new voices,” said Wilhelm.