Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: July 25-31, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Before we dive into today’s news, we want to present you with an opportunity to help the Ballotpedia community next Friday, August 7 for our next Day of Service!

We’re getting together (virtually) to research contact information for local candidates that will be on November’s ballot. Why? Because with over 15,000 cities and towns in the United States, going down the ballot is an ambitious goal that we know this community can help with!

One hour shifts are available from 2:00pm-5:00pm EST. We’ll have an official playlist, exchange summertime stories, and try to get as many candidates’ contact information as we can. After our work, we’ll hang out together on a virtual happy hour to kick off the weekend with a cold drink in hand!

Are you in? You can sign up for shifts at this linkHope to see you there! 


Notable Quotes of the Week

“It’s been compared to a colonoscopy.

The vetting of potential vice presidents is famously invasive, and it’s going on now.

Possible running mates for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden include Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She and anyone else being considered can expect some very probing questions, as retired Admiral James Stavridis can attest.

He recalls some of what he was asked four years ago, when Hillary Clinton’s campaign vetted him: ‘“What were you like in junior high school? Who were your friends? When did you start dating? What kind of physical relationships did you have?’ You get very personal, very quickly.”’”

– Callum Borchers, WBUR News

“The choice Biden will make will do one of two things — push his party into the future, or provide it with a pause that will delay the battle for succession and Democrats’ direction a few more years. …

Rep. Karen Bass embodies the pause. The California congresswoman has made it clear she has no interest in running for president, and is known as someone who avoids the spotlight so aggressively she is uncomfortable having her picture taken. Though she has never run for statewide office, Bass, once a physician’s assistant, is now head of the Congressional Black Caucus and has earned a reputation in the House of being liked and respected on both sides of the aisle.

There has never been a perfect choice among the suitable contenders, but by everyone’s estimation Sen. Kamala Harris is the only obvious choice as someone who could both excite the base as a black woman and assure centrists and independent voters with her governing experience. Harris would represent a turn towards tomorrow, and wants to be president, and the battle to define her for the next nomination would begin immediately.”

– A.B. StoddardRealClearPolitics

Week in Review

Trump suggests delaying presidential election

Donald Trump questioned if the presidential election should be delayed in a tweet on Thursday morning. He wrote, “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

During a White House briefing Thursday afternoon, Trump reiterated his concerns: “You’re sending out hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots. Hundreds of millions. Where are they going? Who are they being sent to?”

He added, “Do I want to see a day change? No. But I don’t want to see a crooked election,”

University of Notre Dame withdraws from hosting first presidential debate

The University of Notre Dame withdrew from hosting the first presidential debate scheduled for September 29.

Rev. John Jenkins, the university’s president, said “the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic would instead co-host the first debate on the same date.

Biden launches ads in battleground states, Trump campaign pauses ad spending

Joe Biden launched a $14.5 million ad campaign in seven battleground states—Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—targeting voters older than 65. The TV component features a woman whose grandmother died from COVID-19. The digital ad focuses on dignity for seniors.

He also began airing his first general election ads in Ohio in a seven-figure ad buy. The ad, which focuses on Biden’s upbringing in a working-class neighborhood, will run in the Youngstown and Toledo markets until late August.

The Donald Trump campaign is pausing its ad spending to review its campaign messaging under the leadership of new campaign manager Bill Stepien. The campaign spent no money on Wednesday or Thursday and had minimal bookings in August.

Democrats releases preliminary convention schedule

Democrats released a preliminary schedule for the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday. Joe Biden is set to deliver his acceptance speech from Milwaukee on August 20. His running mate will be nominated and give an address on August 19 from an unknown location.

The Democratic National Committee also released safety measures, which include self-isolation before the event, daily coronavirus testing, and masks.

Since delegates have been discouraged from attending the event due to the coronavirus pandemic, voting on the platform and other issues will take place remotely from August 3-15. More than 700 Democratic delegates—roughly 15% all delegates—have signed a pledge to vote against the party platform if it does not include a plank supporting Medicare for All. The coalition is led by Bernie Sanders delegates from Nevada.

Biden set to announce veep pick next week

Joe Biden is expected to announce his vice presidential pick next week, possibly as early as August 1.

Politico mistakenly published an article this week that said Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Politico said in a statement, “Our standard practice is to use ‘lorem ipsum’ as placeholder text. In this instance, that did not happen. We regret the error and any confusion that it caused.”

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

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What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 27-31, 2016

  • July 27, 2016: Tim Kaine received the Democratic vice presidential nomination by acclamation.
  • July 28, 2016: Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, becoming the first woman to lead a major party’s presidential ticket.
  • July 29, 2016: During a rally in Colorado, Donald Trump said he was starting to agree with supporters who said Hillary Clinton should be in jail.
  • July 30, 2016: A Clinton campaign spokesman announced that proprietary campaign information maintained by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was accessed when the DNC was hacked.
  • July 31, 2016: In an interview on ABC’s This Week, Donald Trump discussed the Russian annexation of Crimea.

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