Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: Feb. 1-7, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.        
Notable Quotes of the Week

“This fiasco means the end of the caucuses as a significant American political event. The rest of the country was already losing patience with Iowa anyway and this cooks Iowa’s goose. Frankly, it should. The real winner tonight was Donald Trump, who got to watch his opponents wallow in a mess. A lot of good Democratic candidates and people who fought their hearts out here for…nothing.”

– David YepsenThe Des Moines Register political reporter

“Here’s the real wakeup call for Democrats, coming out of Iowa: We can’t put our heads in the sand and ignore the middling turnout, in a time of bonafide historic upheaval.

If Democrats don’t put together an unprecedented get-out-the-vote effort in 2020, far exceeding anything from the past, we are setting ourselves up for failure. “

– Jeff BiggersSalon

Week in Review

No clear Democratic winner in Iowa, Buttigieg and Sanders lead

The Associated Press announced on Thursday it would not call a winner in the Democratic Iowa caucuses because of irregularities in the caucus process.

The uncertainty in Iowa began on caucus night when the Iowa Democratic Party delayed releasing results because of inconsistencies and technical issues.

Communications director Mandy McClure said in a statement, “We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report. This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”

The first batch of results were released on Tuesday. As of Friday morning, results from more than 99 percent of precincts have been released showing Pete Buttigieg leading Bernie Sanders in state delegate equivalents by 0.1%, and Sanders leading Buttigieg in the final vote count by 2,631 votes.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also called for a recanvass of the Iowa results. He tweeted, “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”

The candidates had until 12 p.m. CT on Friday to formally request a recanvass or recount.

Trump wins Republican caucuses in Iowa, Weld receives one delegate

Donald Trump won the Republican Iowa caucuses with 97.1% of the vote and 39 of the state’s delegates. Bill Weld, who received 1.3% of the vote, also won one delegate.

Senate acquits Trump of abuse of power, obstruction of Congress

On Wednesday, the Senate acquitted Donald Trump of abuse of power by a vote of 52-48 and obstruction of Congress by a vote of 53-47.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was the only Republican to vote guilty on the abuse of power charge, becoming the first senator in U.S. history to vote to convict a president from his own party in an impeachment trial. The vote on obstruction of Congress ran along party lines.

Seven Democrats qualify for New Hampshire primary debate

Joe BidenPete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang are participating in the eighth presidential primary debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday.

Linsey Davis, David Muir, George Stephanopoulos, Adam Sexton, and Monica Hernandez will moderate the debate, which takes place at St. Anselm College at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Walsh ends presidential campaign

Joe Walsh ended his presidential campaign on Friday. He tweeted, “I’m suspending my campaign, but our fight against the Cult of Trump is just getting started. I’m committed to doing everything I can to defeat Trump and his enablers this November. I can’t do it alone.”

Campaigns refocus campaign strategy, staff after Iowa caucuses

The Joe Biden campaign canceled about $150,000 in television spending in South Carolina, moving those funds to ad buys in Nevada, instead.

The Bernie Sanders campaign announced it will increase staffing in Super Tuesday states and spend $5.5 million on television and digital ad buys in 10 states.

Andrew Yang fired dozens of staff members from his campaign, Politico reported Thursday, including senior-level positions like national political director and national policy director. This was part of a previously planned restructuring after Iowa, campaign manager Zach Graumann said.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Bob Paduchik is a Republican staffer with experience as a political strategist in Ohio. He previously worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Paduchik graduated from the University of Akron with a bachelor’s degree in political science and government in 1989.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, Ohio state director
  • 2010 Rob Portman (R-Ohio) U.S. Senate campaign, campaign manager
  • 2004 George W. Bush presidential campaign, Ohio campaign manager
  • 2000 George W. Bush presidential campaign, executive director

Other experience:

  • 2016-present: Agincourt Consultants, LLC, president
  • 2017-2019: Republican National Committee, co-chairman
  • 2011-2015: American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
    • 2013-2015: Chief of staff
    • 2011-2013: Senior vice president of state affairs and outreach
  • 2006-2009: DCI Group, vice president of client services
  • 2003-2006: Agincourt Consultants, LLC, founder and president
  • 2001-2003: U.S. Department of Energy, deputy assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs
  • 1999-2000: Office of Gov. Bob Taft (R-Ohio), director of constituent affairs

What We’re Reading

Flashback: February 3-7, 2016

  • February 3, 2016: Rand Paul and Rick Santorum ended their presidential campaigns following the Iowa caucuses.
  • February 4, 2016: The Washington Post reported that Ben Carson was cutting more than 50 staff positions.
  • February 5, 2016: Former NAACP President Ben Jealous endorsed Bernie Sanders.
  • February 6, 2016: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump debated in New Hampshire.
  • February 7, 2016: Hillary Clinton visited Flint, Michigan, to discuss the clean water crisis in the city.


Which of the following Democrats won the narrowest Iowa caucus victory in party history?

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