Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: January 4-10, 2020

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.

State Spotlight

Notable Quotes of the Week

“But past presidential cycles may well look more predictable in hindsight than they were in real time. …

For example, few look back on 2012 as a highly suspenseful cycle. But eight years ago, it was far from clear that Obama would win a second term. In mid-December 2011, his approval in the Gallup Poll was just 42%, 3 points lower than the latest Trump reading in the Gallup this month.

Back then, on the Republican side, half a dozen contenders topped the polls for at least a week or two late in 2011 and it took months to winnow the field. The nomination fell to Mitt Romney, who ran a creditable race and had a plausible scenario for winning through October. On election night, his staff was so confident that they did not even prepare a concession speech in case he lost.”

– Ron Elving, NPR News

“In the new year, with the caucuses rapidly approaching, no candidate (save for Delaney) is embarking on an Iowa-or-bust strategy. Back in 2008, between Dec. 1 and the caucuses on Jan. 3, the top candidates spent at least 23 of the campaign’s final 34 days in Iowa. But this month, Buttigieg isn’t scheduled to return until Jan. 12, and in the meantime has spent three days in the Super Tuesday state of Texas. After a couple of days in Iowa at the start of the year, Klobuchar went to Nevada and New Hampshire. Sanders left last Sunday and won’t be back until this Saturday. For the first half of the month, Warren is campaigning in the state only on the weekends, while last Tuesday she held a rally with Julián Castro in New York. Biden hasn’t been to Iowa since Sunday, relying for now on a bus tour of surrogates.”

– Bill ScherPolitico

Week in Review

Steyer sixth candidate to qualify for Jan. 14 debate

Six candidates have qualified for the Democratic presidential primary debate on Jan. 14: Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren.

Steyer qualified late Thursday after two Fox News polls in South Carolina and Nevada showed him at 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Wolf Blitzer, Abby Phillip, and Brianne Pfannenstiel will moderate the event at Drake University in Iowa. The deadline to qualify is Friday.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said that the debate would be rescheduled if it conflicted with the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Trump, Sanders top Q4 fundraising

Year-end financial reports are due Jan. 31 to the Federal Election Commission. Several candidates have released their fourth-quarter numbers early:

Donald Trump topped all Democrats, bringing in $46 million in the fourth quarter. This total surpasses Barack Obama’s fourth-quarter haul in 2011 by $4 million.

Trump, Bloomberg spend $10M each on Superbowl ads

Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg are both spending $10 million each on 60 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

The first voting contest of the year takes place the following day in Iowa on Feb. 3.

Bloomberg has also expanded his campaign staff to 800 employees, hiring 500 organizers and staff members in more than 30 states across the country. Another 300 staffers work at his national headquarters in New York City.

Congressional endorsements take center stage

Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Conor Lamb—both from battleground districts in Pennsylvania—and Elaine Luria (Va.) endorsed Joe Biden on Sunday.

Rep. Anthony Brown (Md.) endorsed Pete Buttigieg on Thursday. Brown, the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to back Buttigieg, will serve as his campaign’s first national co-chair.

Bernie Sanders is holding several campaign events in Iowa on Saturday and Sunday with Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ro Khanna.

Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren is also holding campaign events in Iowa with former 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Katie Porter.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Gabrielle Farrell is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communication. She previously worked as press secretary on Warren’s 2018 U.S. Senate campaign. Farrell received a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College in 2012 and a master’s from Northeastern University in 2017.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary
  • 2017 Martin Walsh (Mass.) Boston mayoral campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2018: New Hampshire Democratic Party, director of communications
  • 2016-2017: Boston Public Schools, deputy chief of staff, communications
  • 2014-2016: Office of Mayor Martin J. Walsh
    • 2015-2016: Associate press secretary
    • 2014-2015: Press assistant
  • 2012-2014: Project Bread
    • 2013-2014: External affairs associate
    • 2012-2013: Communications associate

What We’re Reading

Flashback: January 6-10, 2016

  • January 6, 2016Gary Johnson, who previously served as the Republican governor of New Mexico, announced he was running for the Libertarian nomination for president.
  • January 7, 2016: Planned Parenthood endorsed Hillary Clinton, marking the first-ever presidential primary endorsement from the organization.
  • January 8, 2016Politico reported polling showed that Donald Trump’s based extended beyond “conservative, blue-collar men … to pro-choice Republicans, independents and even registered Democrats unnerved, primarily, by illegal immigration.”
  • January 9, 2016: Ed Brookover, a former national field director for the Republican National Committee, replaced Barry Bennett as Ben Carson’s campaign manager.
  • January 10, 2016: White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said that President Barack Obama would wait until the general election to support a candidate. “We’ll do exactly what has been done in the past, which is when the nominee will be set, then the President will be out there,” McDonough said.

Trivia Corner

Four states are tied for the most Democratic wins in presidential elections since 1900. Which of the following is not one of them?

Click here to learn more.