As the Democrats descend on Charlotte looking for four more years with the unexpected star of the 2004 convention, they're also looking for this convention's rock star. Looking past keynote speaker Julian Castro, Politico rounds up five potential contenders:
- Joaquin Castro: The Texas state rep is seen as a shoo-in to win his race for US Congress, and will introduce twin brother Julian before his speech tonight. He's also ready making nice with party honchos, having given $100,000 from his war chest to the DCCC to help fund races closer than his own.
- Kamala Harris: The California attorney general and Obama 2012 national co-chair has taken on the Golden State's mortgage crisis and is seen as a leading contender for the governor's mansion if Jerry Brown doesn't seek re-election.
- Tammy Duckworth: The former helicopter pilot lost both legs in the Iraq War, and she's looking to snatch an Illinois House seat from feisty GOP freshman Joe Walsh. She speaks tonight.
- Tulsi Gabbard: The Hawaiian is 31, an Iraq War vet, and looking to become the nation's first Hindu-American congresswoman.
- Joyce Beatty: The House candidate and party pet from Columbus, Ohio, attracted a visit from Nancy Pelosi last month, and has sent the DCCC $25,000.