Weekly Presidential News Briefing: September 25th, 2020

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

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Candidates by the Numbers

Notable Quotes of the Day“But it looks increasingly unlikely that we’ll be able to declare an election-night winner in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In addition to possibly having thousands of ballots still in transit on election night, these states will probably be slow to count even the mail ballots that have already arrived, since all three prohibit processing mail ballots before Election Day. (By contrast, North Carolina is allowed to process mail ballots well in advance, so we should learn the results of mail ballots that arrive by Nov. 2 shortly after polls close — but then have to wait days for the remainder.)

If Biden is leading in those states in the wee hours of Nov. 4, that may be the ballgame: Because mail ballots are expected to lean heavily Democratic, his margin will probably only increase as more mail ballots are counted. But if Trump is leading in these states, we could be in for days of waiting on the edge of our seat for every ballot dump. Since this is a distinct possibility, we must continue to prepare ourselves for a world in which we won’t know the identity of the next president until mid-November.”

Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight

“Joe Biden knows that if he gets a majority of the Catholic vote he’s going to be elected president, so there’s been a very aggressive effort by his campaign to underscore his faith. But if the president’s choice for the Supreme Court is a Catholic mother who, because she believes deeply in her faith, is considered disqualified for the job by Democrats, that puts Biden in a pickle.”

Matt Schlapp, Republican lobbyist

Week in Review

Biden on the campaign trail

  • On Monday, Biden visited Wisconsin for the second time in two weeks.
  • On Wednesday, Biden visited North Carolina for the first time since the Democratic primary season.
  • Biden halted public appearances on Thursday in the morning in order to prepare for the presidential debate.
  • On Friday, Biden traveled to Washington, D.C., to pay his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg who lies in state at the Capitol Building.
Trump on the campaign trail

  • On Monday, Trump made two campaign stops in Ohio, including a rally in Toledo.
  • On Tuesday, Trump held a campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport, marking his fourth appearance in Pennsylvania this month.
  • On Wednesday, Trump spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. The event took place virtually.
  • On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • On Friday, Trump traveled to South Florida, Georgia, and Virginia.

Biden, Trump will debate SCOTUS, coronavirus, race

Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic are hosting the first presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on Tuesday, September 29. The debate will be 90 minutes long without commercial breaks.

It will be divided into 15-minute segments on the following six topics selected by moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace:

  • The Trump and Biden records
  • The Supreme Court
  • COVID-19
  • The economy
  • Race and violence in our cities
  • The integrity of the election

Two more presidential debates are scheduled for October 15 in Miami and October 22 in Nashville. The first and only vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris (D) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) will be held in Salt Lake City on October 7.

Trump set to announce SCOTUS pick on Saturday

Donald Trump said he would announce his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. Earlier in the week, Trump said the nominee would be a woman and that he had narrowed the list down to five candidates.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!” Trump tweeted.

Joe Biden said Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement should not be nominated and confirmed until after the 2020 presidential election

“This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future, and the people of this nation. And the people of this nation are choosing their future right now, as they vote. To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power,” Biden said.

Jo Jorgensen issued a list of 18 attorneys and judges she would consider for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We need justices who, unlike the majority of those appointed to our highest court over the past 100 years, will strictly uphold our Constitution,” Jorgensen said. “We must restore the limits that our Founders imposed on federal authority and rigorously defend both individual liberty and property rights.”

Biden, Democrats post $141 million cash advantage over Trump and Republicans

Joe Biden and related Democratic Party committees began September with $466 million in cash on handDonald Trump and joint Republican Party committees started the month with $325 million in cash on hand.

Maine will use RCV in presidential election

The Maine Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a veto referendum on ranked-choice voting (RCV) did not reach the signature threshold required to appear on the ballot. RCV will now be used for the first time in a presidential election.

Trump comments on peaceful transition of power

When asked on Wednesday if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election,  Donald Trump responded, “We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful—there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control.”

Jorgensen completes Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

Jo Jorgensen completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Click here to read her responses.

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What we read this week

Flashback: September 21-25, 2016

  • September 21, 2016: Hillary Clinton discussed the treatment of people with disabilities during a speech in Orlando.
  • September 22, 2016: Donald Trump said Chicago should institute a stop-and-frisk policy to address violence in the city.
  • September 23, 2016: NBC News reported on Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s debate prep.
  • September 24, 2016: The editorial board of The New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton.
  • September 25, 2016: Fortune reported on Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s debate prep on the eve of the first 2016 presidential debate.