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This is who Obama and his closest advisers want to challenge Trump in 2020

Former President Barack Obama is reportedly looking to former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to run against President Donald Trump in 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Even though America is less than one year removed from the 2016 presidential election, Democrats are already looking ahead to 2020 to determine who they should run to unseat President Donald Trump.

According to reports, former President Barack Obama’s inner-circle may have already found the apple of their eye.

Smoke Signals

The Hill reported over the weekend that Democrats believe two of Obama’s closest confidants, Valarie Jarrett and David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation, have begun to send “smoke signals” indicating who they and Obama want to see challenge Trump in 2020.

That person is former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), a moderate liberal who served two terms as governor. He is a close friend of Obama’s.

From The Hill: "Simas, who once served as a top aide to Patrick, is an ardent supporter of the former governor, sources tell The Hill, while Jarrett has privately told friends that she would do what it takes to support him.” Jarrett also said last month that her “heart desires” to see Patrick in the White House.

But does he want it?

Talk of Patrick running for president began last month after Politico Magazine did an in-depth story and podcast covering the possibility.

Patrick, who currently manages Bain Capital’s social impact fund, told Politico: "I’m trying to think about how to be helpful, because I care about the country, and I’m a patriot first. It’s way, way too soon to be making plans for 2020. So I’ll just leave it at that.

"I have no plans to make plans,” he said.

What about Biden?

In recent weeks, there have also been rumors that former Vice President Joe Biden may be interested in running, seeing what could have been had he run in 2016 now that Trump is president.

So who would Obama support? At this point, it’s not certain, and Obama’s aides say his loyalty would be torn. However, what is certain is Obama is so far looking at only Biden, 74, and Patrick, 61.

"If you were to poll 100 notable Obama alumni, the only two people who would win that 2020 straw poll right now are Biden and Patrick,” a former Obama aide told Politico.

No shortage of candidates

If one thing is for sure, it's that there is no shortage of potential Democratic candidates looking to the White House in 2020.

According to Axios’ Mike Allen, there are three dozen potential Democratic candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (Minn.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Chris Murphy (Conn.); Govs. Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.), Steve Bullock (Mont.), Terry McAuliffe (Va.); and even non-political celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mark Cuban, George Clooney, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

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