Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 7-11, 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


Notable Quotes of the Week

“As the 2020 election season ramps up, two global events beyond President Trump’s control threaten to be decisive in determining the U.S. economic environment in which he will be fighting that election. The first is the manner in which the United Kingdom might leave the European Union. The second is whether the political crisis in Hong Kong can be resolved without mainland China sending in troops to quell the island’s political unrest.”

Desmond LachmanThe Hill

“If Democrats learned anything in 2016 — an open question, surely — it is that it is impossible to win with a campaign that is not about anything except the all-consuming ‘Can you believe he said that?’ badness of one’s opponent. McMansion wine moms in Northern Virginia want to hear about what a misogynist the gross orange man is, and they will pay $4600 a pop for the privilege. The voters Democrats actually need in 2020 are the ones in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania who want to hear that Trump is right about trade and manufacturing and the swamp but that he has shown he can’t get the job done.”

Matthew WaltherThe Week

“With a crucial debate looming next week in the Democratic presidential primary, the party’s populist wing appears increasingly in control of the race — rising in the polls, stocked with cash and with only a wounded leading candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr., standing in its way.

Several slow-building trends have converged to upend the race over the last few weeks: Senator Elizabeth Warren’s steady ascent in the polls has accelerated. Both she and Senator Bernie Sanders, a fellow progressive, have raised immense sums of money from small donors online, dominating the Democratic field and each collecting about $10 million more than Mr. Biden in the last quarter. And Mr. Biden’s numbers have gradually slipped in a way that has alarmed his supporters.”

— Alexander BurnsThe New York Times

Week in Review

Candidates announce third-quarter fundraising totals

Presidential candidates continued to announce their third-quarter fundraising figures in advance of the October 15 reporting deadline. Steve Bullock announced that he had raised $2.3 million, doubling his number of individual contributions from the second quarter. Amy Klobuchar reported raising $4.8 million through September 30, up from $3.9 million raised in the second quarter but down from $5.2 million in the first quarter. 

Bullock and Klobuchar followed eight other candidates who released unofficial fundraising totals the week before. Of the candidates who have so far self-reported, the leading fundraisers are:

President Trump holds rally in Minneapolis

President Trump held a rally in Minneapolis Thursday night, his first campaign rally since September 16. At the rally, Trump criticized Joe Biden and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), adding that he believed he would carry the state in the 2020 election. No Republican has carried Minnesota since Richard Nixon (R) in 1972, although Trump came within two percentage points of winning the state in 2016.

In the runup to the rally, the Trump campaign and Mayor Jacob Frey (DFL) clashed over $530,000 in security costs the venue had initially charged the campaign. Frey said that the charge was necessary to pay for overtime for police officers and other necessary costs. The campaign, citing a 2009 Barack Obama rally which the city had paid for, said that the charge was an attempt to prevent the rally from taking place.

Nine candidates participate in CNN town hall focused on LGBT issues

Nine Democratic presidential candidates participated in a town hall event organized by the Human Rights Campaign and CNN and focused on LGBT issues Thursday. Cory BookerJoe BidenPete ButtigiegElizabeth WarrenKamala HarrisBeto O’RourkeAmy KlobucharJulián Castro, and Tom Steyer each attended.

In the runup to the event, several candidates released LGBT issues-related policy proposals and took place in rallies alongside members of the LGBT community. In an interview with Pride Source Wednesday, Buttigieg discussed his campaign, who he looks up to in the LGBTQ community, and where he and other candidates stand on LGBTQ issues. That night, Harris appeared at The Abbey, a gay bar in West Hollywood. Marianne Williamson, who did not participate in the town hall, attended a watch party hosted by Chicago Reader in Chicago, Illinois.

LGBT issues, foster care, and athletics among the issues covered by policy proposals this week

Presidential candidates released policy proposals this week outlining their positions on LGBT issues, campaign finance, and more:

  • Michael Bennet unveiled his housing platform, calling for the construction of nearly 3 million new housing units over the next decade and funding programs to assist  low-income renters.
  • Joe Biden released a higher education proposal on Tuesday that would guarantee two years of free community college or technical training.
  • Cory Booker released a package of policy proposals related to college and professional athletes. Included was a requirement that college athletes be allowed to profit off of their name and image.
  • Pete Buttigieg unveiled a policy related to LGBT issues. The platform calls for Senate passage of H.R. 5, called the Equality Act, as well as granting veterans’ benefits to former service members discharged on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Julián Castro released a foster care platform, calling for increased funding for foster care programs and allowing foster children the option to remain in foster care until they turn 21.
  • Kamala Harris released her Children’s Agenda, which includes proposals for up to six months of paid family and medical leave, more nurses and social workers at schools, and criminal justice reforms. 
  • Harris announced a set of policy proposals on LGBT issues, including establishing the office of Chief Advocate for LGBTQ+ Affairs.
  • Beto O’Rourke released a plan focused on women, including proposals to address pay gaps, provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave, and guarantee private insurance coverage of abortion.
  • Bernie Sanders released a campaign finance proposal. He said he would replace the Federal Election Commission with a law enforcement agency and prevent party conventions and inauguration ceremonies from corporate sponsorship.
  • Tom Steyer released an economic plan calling for a $15 minimum wage, repealing the Trump Administration’s tax cuts, and implementing a 1 percent wealth tax on individuals worth more than $32 million. His plan also includes congressional term limits and repealing Citizens United, which Steyer said would limit corporate power in the U.S. economy.
  • Elizabeth Warren released a plan Wednesday titled “Fighting for Justice as We Combat the Climate Crisis.” In it, she said, “I’ll direct one-third of my proposed climate investment into the most vulnerable communities – a commitment that would funnel at least $1 trillion into these areas over the next decade.” She also released a plan related to LGBT issues, calling for the passage of the Equality Act and increased federal funding for investigations into allegations of discrimination.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Rob Friedlander is a Democratic staffer with experience handling communications for campaign and government offices. He is a former staffer to O’Rourke’s opponent Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Friedlander graduated from Bates College in 2010.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Beto O’Rourke U.S. Senate campaign, senior advisor
  • 2012 Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) U.S. House campaign, communications director
  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, field organizer

Other experience:

  • 2015-2017: U.S. Department of the Treasury, spokesman
  • 2014-2015: Office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), press secretary
  • 2013-2014: Office of Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), communications director
  • 2011-2012: White House Office of Management and Budget, press assistant
  • 2010-2011: U.S. Department of Education, confidential assistant

What We’re Reading

  • New York Magazine: The Emerging Anybody-But-Warren Campaign
  • CNN: How Bernie Sanders’ heart attack changes the 2020 race
  • FiveThirtyEight: “Which Democratic Presidential Candidate Was Mentioned Most In The News Last Week?”
  • The Hill: “Small-dollar donors reshape Democratic race”
  • The Washington Post: “We could have record turnout in the 2020 election. We’re not ready for it.”

Flashback: October 7-11, 2015

  • October 7, 2015The Washington Post published an analysis of Gallup’s decision not to do horserace polling in 2016. This was a departure from the 2008 and 2012 election cycles when Gallup published daily national polls during the primary and general elections.
  • October 8, 2015CNN Business detailed then-candidate Donald Trump’s (R) efforts to prevent the use of his trademarked phrase “Make America Great Again” on merchandise sold by vendors other than his official campaign website.
  • October 9, 2015: Hillary Clinton’s campaign had aired around 5,500 TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire—about one-quarter of ads in the 2016 presidential race to date from any source, including Democratic and Republican candidates, political parties, and super PACs, The Center for Public Integrity reported.
  • October 10, 2015Time published a piece on Democratic candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley titled, “Here’s How Underdog Martin O’Malley Plans to Win the Democratic Debate.” The piece came out days ahead of the first Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential race, which was on October 13, 2015, and featured five candidates. 
  • October 11, 2015: CBS News released the results of a poll of Republican and Democratic primary voters. The CBS analysis of the Republican poll emphasized the decrease in favorability and support numbers for Jeb Bush (R-Fla.). The analysis of the Democratic poll highlighted Hillary Clinton’s support, which was unchanged relative to September but lower than in August.


In the past century, which presidential election had the highest estimated voter turnout?