Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: September 14-20, 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 14 new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats, three Republicans, and two Libertarians. In total, 864 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“Everyone is obsessed with finding the most ‘electable’ candidate, but no one really knows what that means. For a lot of people, part of electability is seeing that a candidate can generate excitement and draw big crowds. Hillary Clinton didn’t really do that last time; Trump does in a way Republicans usually don’t. Taking back some of that populist momentum would be huge.”

– Zach Simonson, Wapello County Democrats chairman

“I have not had one conversation of even small concern over these three [Republican challengers]. Not even a hint and I’m talking about five to 20 text emails or phone conversations a day with the R.N.C. and the Trump campaign.”

– Jeff Kaufmann, Iowa Republican Party chairman

“They are talented and will weaken President Trump and I am hopeful there will be more that enter the race.”

– Anthony Scaramucci, former Trump White House communications director

Week in Review

De Blasio ends presidential campaign, 19 Democrats remain

Bill de Blasio ended his presidential campaign on Friday morning. “I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election and it’s clearly not my time,” he said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

De Blasio had qualified to participate in the June and July debates but failed to make the stage in September. He is the eighth notable Democrat to leave the race, following the most recent departures of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Seth Moulton.

Nineteen candidates are still running in the Democratic primary. The next debate will be held on October 15-16, 2019.

Trump hits the campaign trail in New Mexico and California, releases digital video attacking Biden

Donald Trump held a campaign rally Monday in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, making an appeal to Latino voters and discussing the Second Amendment, sanctuary jurisdictions, and the Democratic presidential candidates.

He also raised $15 million for the joint fundraising committee Trump Victory during a California fundraising trip on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign posted a digital video featuring Joe Biden’s alleged gaffes and television commentary critical of his campaign and debate performances. The video ended with the statement, “You just wonder.”

Warren and Sanders mark grassroots support

The Working Families Party endorsed Elizabeth Warren Monday. The group had previously endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary.

The Sanders campaign announced Thursday that it had received contributions from 1 million donors, the fastest of any candidate in presidential election history.

Climate change and LGBT issues bring 2020 Democrats together

Michael BennetCory BookerSteve BullockPete ButtigiegJulián CastroJohn DelaneyTim RyanBernie SandersTom SteyerMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang spoke at Georgetown University’s presidential candidate forum on climate change Thursday and Friday. The event was streamed live on NBC News Now and Telemundo.

Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroTulsi GabbardAmy KlobucharJoe SestakElizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson are also participating Friday in an LGBTQ presidential forum cosponsored by The Gazette, One Iowa, GLAAD, and The Advocate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Advocate said it was the first 2020 election event to focus exclusively on LGBTQ issues.

Odds and ends on the campaign trail

  • Joe BidenBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren have agreed to release their medical records before the Iowa caucuses. The three candidates are 70 years old or older.
  • Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who previously endorsed Julián Castro, switched his support to Joe Biden.
  • Pete Buttigieg wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post presenting his proposal for “Medicare for All Who Want It.”
  • Kamala Harris is planning to increase her presence in Iowa, according to a Politico report. The effort will include weekly visits to the state and doubling her ground operation, which currently has 65 staff members.
  • Amy Klobuchar launched a tour of former blue wall states Tuesday, with stops in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  • The Andrew Yang campaign said it collected 450,000 email addresses, 90 percent of which were new, in the 72 hours following Yang’s universal basic income proposal during the September debate.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Richard McDaniel is a Democratic staffer with experience campaigning in the southeast. McDaniel graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in sociology in 2007.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2017 Doug Jones U.S. Senate campaign, field director and political director
  • 2017 Randall Woodfin mayoral campaign (Birmingham, AL), senior advisor
  • 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, consultant, primary states director, and state director
  • 2014 Michelle Nunn U.S. Senate campaign, political director
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, state field director
  • 2006 Greg Hecht lieutenant gubernatorial campaign, field organizer

Other experience:

  • 2015: Democratic Party of Georgia, political director
  • 2013: Organizing for Action, state director
  • 2012: Democratic Party of Ohio, regional field director
  • 2010-2011: Service Employees International Union, organizer
  • 2007-2010: Levy Restaurants, suite captain
  • 2009-2010: Planned Parenthood Southeast
    • 2010: Legislative coordinator
    • 2009: Field director

What We’re Reading

Flashback: September 16-20, 2015

  • September 16, 2015: CNN hosted the second Republican primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
  • September 17, 2015: CNN announced it had received its highest ratings ever from the previous night’s Republican primary debate, earning 22.9 million viewers.
  • September 18, 2015: Donald Trump released his gun policy proposal, calling for national concealed carry permits, an end to gun and magazine bans, and stricter sentencing for felonies involving firearms.
  • September 19, 2015: Black Lives Matter announced that it would not endorse any candidate in the 2016 presidential election.
  • September 20, 2015: Hillary Clinton discussed the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2012 Benghazi attack in an interview on Face the Nation.


What is the earliest month in which a major party held a political convention?