The Austin Chronicle

Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar Top SXSW Candidate Cavalcade

By Mike Clark-Madison, February 25, 2019, 1:00pm, Newsdesk

At least five declared candidates for president in 2020, from both parties, and some potential entrants will bring their campaigns to Austin for “Conversations About America’s Future,” a collaboration between South by Southwest and The Texas Tribune happening the first weekend of the conference (March 9-10) at ACL Live at the Moody Theater.


Leading the presidential pack at SXSW will be senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, along with Texas’ own Julián Castro, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and on the red side, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, the first primary challenger to President Trump. Also confirmed for the conference (though not yet for the campaign) are former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper (D) and former Ohio governor and 2016 contender John Kasich (R), as well as non-2020 aspirant and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The Tribune and SXSW say “more will be announced,” so hold onto your Beto hats.

These “Conversations” will be one-on-ones with prominent journalists, such as Time’s Anand Giridharadas (Warren), BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith (Hickenlooper), Huffington Post’s Lydia Polgreen (Castro), and Crooked Media’s Ana Marie Cox (Buttigieg). “There is no better place to have these important conversations about the future of our country,” said SXSW’s Hugh Forrest in a statement. “Our audience is made up of a young and diverse group of people, who are savvy [and] smart … I couldn’t think of a better group to have participate in helping solve complex problems.”

This event-within-the-event adds yet more chewy, buzzy content to SXSW’s Cities, Government, and Politics track, which already features Bronx rockstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Georgia’s almost-governor Stacey Abrams, Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, and Texas border Rep. Will Hurd. While there will be plenty of opportunities to see and touch these political stars, the track is designed to explore (in SXSW’s words) “how factors such as innovative city development, privacy issues, and politics shape policy at all levels of government, and how today’s issues will transform the future through civic engagement.”

“Conversations About America’s Future” take place at ACL Live at the Moody Theater on Saturday, March 9, and are open to all badge holders.

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