O’Rourke drops out of 2020 race, 17 Democrats remain

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

November 4, 2019: Beto O’Rourke announced that he was dropping out of the presidential race. Elizabeth Warren proposed a 6 percent tax on wealth over $1 billion to fund Medicare for All.

There are 14 new candidates running since last week, including one Republican and two Libertarians. In total, 930 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“The vaunted event that catapulted Obama to stardom [the Liberty and Justice Celebration] was reduced to just another candidate cattle call, long on rhetoric but short on results.

Lu Ann Pedrick, a Des Moines-based party activist … said the candidate field is just too large. That means no single candidate really has the time to spin a narrative. She thinks even Obama would be lagging somewhere towards the back of the pack in an environment like this.”

– Daniel Newhauser, Vice



  • Donald Trump held a rally in Tupelo, Mississippi, to campaign for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in his run for governor of Mississippi. Trump discussed the impeachment inquiry, the Democratic primary, and the media. An estimated 10,000 people attended the event.
  • In a CNN interview Sunday, Joe Walsh said Fox News and conservative talk radio were lying to and manipulating listeners on the impeachment inquiry.
  • Bill Weld spoke at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention on Sunday in Manchester, New Hampshire.

General Election Updates

Special Guest Analysis

Jim Ellis is a 35-year political veteran who now analyzes election data for major corporations, associations, and legislative advocacy firms. He is president of EllisInsight, LLC. We invited him to share analysis on the presidential election.

It’s common practice on an election-eve for political prognosticators to predict what may unfold next election cycle based on today’s voting patterns. The disparate elections to be decided this Nov. 5, however, leave us little salient prediction material.

Turnout is expected to exceed normal voting trends in states with major elections at the top of the ballot, a pattern that is already being projected for the 2020 cycle. All indicators suggest that we will see record participation in next year’s presidential contest, with some estimates exceeding 150 million votes. In 2016, a record 136,792,535 people cast their ballots.

Three governors will be elected in November: one each in Kentucky and Mississippi on Nov. 5, and another following the Louisiana runoff on Nov. 16.  State legislative elections are on tap in Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. Louisiana runoffs for state House and Senate races will also be held on Nov. 16.

The statewide races, in particular, have unique characteristics that don’t lend themselves to making predictions about the upcoming presidential race. In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) was a surprise winner in 2015 and has been unpopular almost since his inauguration. Although Kentucky is one of the strongest Republican states at the federal level, Democrats can still win election to state office.

Attorney General Andy Beshear is the Democratic nominee. He is the son of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who defeated an unpopular Republican state chief executive back in 2007.

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) faces four-term Attorney General Jim Hood (D) in the election to succeed term-limited incumbent Gov. Phil Bryant (R). While polls show a tight race, Hood is staying away from running as a national Democrat. Even if Hood were to upset Reeves, little could be extrapolated for future races.  

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) was forced into a runoff with Baton Rouge developer Eddie Rispone (R). Though the GOP ad producers are trying, it has been difficult to pin the liberal label on Edwards since he signed the state’s new heartbeat abortion law. Additionally, should Rispone unseat the Democratic governor, the result would align with normal electoral trends, given the state’s Republican voting history.

The Democrats are poised to win control of the Virginia legislature, but even that won’t be transformational. The state has been moving left for several years and the Democrats won a court redistricting decision that makes the legislative maps more favorable. Any change in party control would actually be closer to the new normal vote in the state rather than establishing a trendsetting benchmark.

Though we will see some interesting results on Nov. 5, the vote totals won’t be a harbinger for next year. We should analyze each of the winning campaigns individually instead of proclaiming a trend prediction.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: November 4, 2015

Ben Carson topped the RealClearPolitics polling average for the first time. Donald Trump previously held the first position for 107 days.