Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 24-30, 2019

 Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the events that matter in the 2020 presidential election. 

Now, we’re bringing you the highlights from our daily briefings in a weekly format so you can stay up-to-date on the 2020 election with one weekly email.   

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates by the Number

There are nine new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats, two Republicans, and one Green. In total, 832 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“The problem for Walsh — or any other conservative challenger — is that Trump remains extremely popular with GOP voters. The president’s approval rating among Republicans hovers in the high 80s, and there’s little evidence that his popularity has much to do with his strict adherence to the conservative economic ideals that (supposedly) animated the Tea Party. Walsh may have been part of the Zeitgeist ten years ago, but as many Republicans who have crossed Trump and paid an electoral price can tell you, cutting spending is out and loyalty tests are in.”

– Benjamin Hart and Chas DannerNew York Magazine

“Walsh, a radio show host since losing reelection in 2012 and a frequent guest on cable news, could be effective in reaching rank-and-file Republicans, since he speaks their language. For example, Walsh was a Tea Party Republican when the Tea Party was known for championing lower federal budget deficits. In contrast, under Trump, the deficit is exploding, expected to hit $1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year. Walsh may be able to pick off some fellow Tea Party Republicans on that issue alone.”

– Dean Obeidallah, CNN

Week in Review

DNC rejects Iowa and Nevada virtual caucuses, primary calendar in question

The Democratic National Committee is expected to reject Iowa’s and Nevada’s virtual caucus plans Friday because of security concerns. Both states proposed a virtual option to comply with new party rules that require caucuses to be more accessible to all voters.

If Iowa cannot establish an alternative method of voting, it might be unable to hold a caucus and have to move to a primary system. This would likely eliminate Iowa’s place as the first nominating event of the year since New Hampshire law says that the state must hold the first primary of the presidential election cycle.

Who made the debate?

Ten candidates have qualified for the third Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 12, 2019: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

ABC News and Univision are hosting the debate, which will take place at Texas Southern University. Linsey Davis, David Muir, Jorge Ramos, and George Stephanopoulos will moderate the event. Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals.

While other 10 candidates will have another shot to qualify with the same requirements for the October debate, some have questioned the polling criteria:

  • Michael Bennet campaign adviser Craig Hughes sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee asking why some polling organizations were excluded as qualifiers and why information about future debate requirements had not yet been released.
  • The Tulsi Gabbard campaign requested the Democratic National Committee revise the list of certified polling organizations used as debate qualifiers and make the criteria for poll selection more transparent.
  • Tom Steyer made a similar request, calling for the DNC to include at least one poll from Nevada.

Walsh third notable Republican to enter 2020 race

Former Illinois Rep. and radio host Joe Walsh announced Sunday that he was launching a primary challenge to Donald Trump.

“I’m running because he’s unfit. Somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative,” Walsh said in an interview on ABC News. 

Following Walsh’s announcement, Salem Radio Network canceled the national distribution of Walsh’s radio show.

Walsh also said he thought that there was “certainly room for a viable third-party challenge next year” if he did not win the Republican nomination.

Biden on the small screen

Joe Biden released a new campaign ad in Iowa defending the Affordable Care Act as part of a six-figure ad campaign in Iowa. In the clip, he shares his personal experience with the healthcare system when his wife and daughter died in a car accident and his oldest son, Beau, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Also on the air in Iowa—and New Hampshire and Delaware—is an attack ad against Biden criticizing him for defending the bankruptcy court system. Shirley Shawe, whose son’s business was hurt following a dispute in the Delaware Chancery Court system, spent $500,000 on the ad campaign.

Gillibrand fifth Democrat to end presidential campaign in August

Kirsten Gillibrand became the fifth Democratic presidential candidate in August to suspend her presidential campaign. She announced her departure after missing the cutoff for the third primary debate.

She said in an interview with The New York Times, “I think being able to have a voice on a debate stage, when other candidates have that, is really important. And without it, I just didn’t see our path.”

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Noland Chambliss is an independent consultant with experience in organizational identity development and strategic communications. He graduated from Vassar College in 2006 with a degree in political science.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, field organizer and deputy field director

Other experience:

  • 2016 – present: Independent consultant
  • 2015 – present: The Dream Corps, board member
  • 2016-2018: SYPartners, strategist
  • 2012-2015:, strategic communications team and director of external affairs
  • 2009-2011: Chief of staff to Van Jones

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 26-30, 2015

  • August 26, 2015: Hillary Clinton released her rural agenda, calling for public-private partnerships that would bring federal capital to rural areas and increasing the number of solar panels across the country to 500 million.
  • August 27, 2015: TIME reported that the Democratic National Committee had obtained the 2012 Obama campaign’s email data.
  • August 28, 2015: All five Democratic presidential candidates spoke at the summer meeting of the Democratic National Convention. 
  • August 29, 2015: Donald Trump campaigned in Nashville, Tennessee, where he won a presidential straw poll and spoke at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies.
  • August 30, 2015: The Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen planned to endorse Clinton the following week.


Since 1968, nine states have voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election. Which of the following states is not among them?