Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 19-25, 2019

 Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing

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 four new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat. In total, 904 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“If the House votes to impeach President Donald Trump, thereby catalyzing a trial in the Senate, it’ll mark a profound political and historical moment. But it’ll also usher in an extraordinary logistical challenge for the six sitting Democratic Senators duking it out for their party’s presidential nomination in 2020: they may be required in Washington during the peak of the early primary campaign. …

The six Senators’ mandatory Washington interlude may also spark an ad war—on both TV and the Internet—as a proxy for in-person campaign events in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond. ‘We did not build this into our media budget,’ one campaign aide to a Senator running for President told TIME, referencing an impeachment trial. ‘We had counted on some earned media in-state. Now, we probably won’t even be in the state to earn it.’”

– Philip ElliottTIME Washington correspondent

“And so far, the 2020 campaign has seen more than twice as many television ad spots as the 2016 race. … One underappreciated difference between 2016 and 2020 that can help explain what’s going on (in addition to Steyer’s well-lined pockets) is that super PACs are playing much less of a role this year. At this point in 2015, outside groups were behind 69 percent of all spots that had been aired, but here in 2019, campaigns have accounted for 98 percent of the spots so far. (This also might explain why TV spending is lower in 2019 than in 2015 even though more spots have been aired — campaigns get better rates than super PACs.)”

– Nathaniel RakichFiveThirtyEight

Week in Review

Klobuchar makes nine for November debate

Amy Klobuchar qualified for the fifth Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday morning after reaching 3 percent support in a fourth eligible poll. She will join Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegKamala HarrisBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang on stage in Georgia on Nov. 20.

Julián CastroTulsi Gabbard, and Beto O’Rourke have met the fundraising threshold of 165,000 unique donors, but have not yet crossed the polling threshold.

MSNBC also announced this week that Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker, and Ashley Parker will moderate the event.

Ryan ends presidential run, candidates signal campaign health

Tim Ryan announced Thursday he was withdrawing from the 2020 presidential race and will run for re-election in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District.

Other candidates are signaling their campaign health through crowd size and fundraising requests:

  • An estimated 26,000 people attended Bernie Sanders’ campaign rally in New York Sunday, marking the largest rally for any 2020 Democrat.
  • Julián Castro said Monday he will end his campaign for president if he does not raise $800,000 by Oct. 31. 
  • In a statement released Thursday, the Joe Biden campaign indicated it is now open to super PAC spending. “It is not surprising that those who are dedicated to defeating Donald Trump are organizing in every way permitted by current law to bring an end to his disastrous presidency,” deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said.

Now playing in Iowa and New Hampshire

Michael Bennet is airing three previously released ads on healthcare on television, radio, and digital media channels in the Quad City market in Iowa. Pete Buttigieg is also airing a new ad in the same market focused on the Rust Belt.

Bernie Sanders released a new ad in Iowa focused on medical debt Monday.

Amy Klobuchar is airing her second ad in Iowa and New Hampshire, which presents her “optimistic agenda for all Americans.”

O’Rourke completes Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Beto O’Rourke completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, answering questions about his personal beliefs, professional background, and political priorities.

In his response, O’Rourke lists the first actions he would take in the Oval Office and explains his policy focus on strict gun regulations. He also describes why his family, the community of El Paso, and President Abraham Lincoln are his heroes.

Click here to read his responses.

Gabbard vs. Clinton

Tulsi Gabbard called Hillary Clinton “the queen of warmongers” and said she was behind “a concerted campaign to destroy [her] reputation.” Gabbard’s comments followed media reports that Clinton implied Gabbard was being groomed by the Russians.

In a podcast interview last week, Clinton said, “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”

A Clinton spokesperson said Oct. 18 that Clinton was responding to a question about Republicans. The New York Times and several other media outlets also ran corrections Wednesday saying that Clinton was referring to Republicans rather than Russians.

Gabbard also announced this week that she will not seek re-election to the U.S. House. “I believe that I can best serve the people of Hawaii and our country as your president and commander-in-chief,” she said in a video statement.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Natalie Montelongo is a Democratic staffer with experience in national political activism. Montelongo received a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University in 2008, a master’s degree in strategic negotiation from Paris-Sud University in 2010, and a master’s in international relations and diplomacy from the American Graduate School in Paris the same year.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign 
    • political director (April 2016 – November 2016)
    • regional organizing director (June 2015 – February 2016)

Other experience:

  • 2018-2019: ACLU, national campaign strategist
  • 2017-2018: Voto Latino, national organizing director
  • 2014-2015: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, presidential appointee
  • 2013-2014: Podesta Group, associate
  • 2011: International Chamber of Commerce, project coordinator

What We’re Reading

Flashback: October 21-25, 2015

  • October 21, 2015: Joe Biden announced that he would not run for president in the 2016 election.
  • October 22, 2015: Hillary Clinton gave 11 hours of testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
  • October 23, 2015: Lincoln Chafee ended his presidential campaign.
  • October 24, 2015: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders spoke at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.
  • October 25, 2015: In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Ben Carson discussed his opposition to abortion and Roe v. Wade.


Which incumbent president seeking re-election won the smallest share of the Electoral College vote?