Author

Emily Aubert

Emily Aubert is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Biden considers Zients, Murthy to lead pandemic response

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.

News

  • The Washington Post identified former National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients and former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy as the top two contenders for a White House senior position focused on the administration’s pandemic response.
  • Politico reported that Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is now favored to be secretary of health and human services over New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Murthy was also in consideration but “his candidacy for the HHS job has been dented by concerns over his lack of management experience,” according to Politico.
  • Biden does not plan to remove FBI Director Christopher Wray—appointed by Trump in 2017—if he is still in the post when Biden’s administration begins. Biden is also considering former Deputy Director of the CIA David S. Cohen for the top spot at the CIA, The New York Times reported. 
  • Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said that he planned to challenge the Electoral College vote when Congress certifies it on January 6, 2021. To initiate deliberation on the matter, a senator would also need to join the challenge.
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recommended two Democratic Iowans for secretary of agriculture on Wednesday: former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Collin Peterson.
  • Harris has named Hartina Flournoy as chief of staff to the vice president. Flournoy is currently the chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton.

Transition in Context: Where does the Cabinet come from?

The formation of the Cabinet is rooted in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which states that the president “may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.”

The Cabinet includes the vice president and the leaders of 15 executive departments: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.

Several other positions have become Cabinet-rank over the years, although not all administrations include the same set of offices.

The Trump administration, for example, currently identifies the following Cabinet-rank positions:

  • White House chief of staff
  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • U.S. trade representative
  • Director of the CIA
  • Director of national intelligence
  • Administrator of the Small Business Administration

The Obama administration included all of the above positions in its Cabinet, except for director of the CIA and director of national intelligence. It also identified the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as Cabinet-rank.

What We’re Reading



Biden picks Blinken, Mayorkas, Thomas-Greenfield for top foreign policy and national security posts

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 24, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.


Appointments and Nominations

Biden announced six leading members of his foreign policy and national security team on Monday. He said of his selections, “Their accomplishments in diplomacy are unmatched, but they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment with old thinking and unchanged habits — or without diversity of background and perspective. It’s why I’ve selected them.”

Antony Blinken, secretary of state

Antony Blinken started in government service at the State Department. He held several foreign policy positions throughout the Clinton and Obama administrations, including assistant to the president, principal deputy national security adviser, and deputy secretary of state. From 2002 to 2008, Blinken was the Democratic staff director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, overlapping with Biden’s time as committee chairman from 2007 to 2009.

Foreign Policy reported, “Blinken’s nomination could also signal a return to prominence for what traditionally was a main driver of U.S. foreign policy. During the Obama administration—and Trump’s single term—some diplomats said that the White House and National Security Council had overshadowed the State Department, leaving it with less clout and influence in making foreign policy. Especially given Blinken’s close relationship with Biden, the pick is seen as a shot in the arm for the State Department.”

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of homeland security

Alejandro Mayorkas was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District of California for nearly a decade, where he focused on white collar crime. He then became a U.S. attorney; his cases involved financial fraud, public corruption, and violent crime. He served in the Obama administration as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the deputy secretary of homeland security, where he helped implement the DACA program. Born in Cuba, Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant nominated for this position. 

CBS News reported, “Mayorkas’ selection signals that the incoming Biden administration will prioritize immigration policy, which DHS typically enacts and implements, along with the Justice Department.”

Avril Haines, director of national intelligence

Avril Haines was the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2013 to 2015. During the Obama administration, she also served as an assistant to the president and principal deputy national security adviser. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as deputy chief counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If confirmed, Haines will be the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence.

Former CIA Director John Brennan said, “The real purpose [of the DNI position] is to have someone who can serve as an effective orchestra conductor of the 17 intelligence agencies, so what comes out is a symphony and not a cacophony. Her easiest job will be to work with the new administration. She knows these people.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

Linda Thomas-Greenfield worked at the U.S. Foreign Service for 35 years, where she held an ambassadorship in Liberia from 2008 to 2012 and positions in Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. From 2012 to 2013, she was the director general of the Foreign Service.

The Associated Press reported, “Other than secretary of state, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is often the most high-profile foreign policy portfolio in a presidential administration. The influence of these ambassadors has waxed and waned depending on the nature of the president and secretary of state, but Democratic administrations have traditionally leaned more heavily on them than Republicans have.”

John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate

John Kerry is a former secretary of state, U.S. senator from Massachusetts, and Democratic presidential nominee. He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to 2013. While secretary of state, Kerry was involved in the negotiations for the Paris Climate Accord. 

“This marks the first time that the [National Security Council] will include an official dedicated to climate change, reflecting the president-elect’s commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue,” the Biden Transition said in a press release.

Jake Sullivan, national security advisor

Jake Sullivan was a director of policy planning and deputy chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also served as national security advisor to Biden during his vice presidency. Sullivan, a Yale Law graduate and Rhodes scholar, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.


News

  • The General Services Administration ascertained the results of the presidential election on Monday, identifying Biden as the apparent winner and allowing him access to resources and funding to help with the transition. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter, “Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision.”
  • Biden is expected to nominate Janet Yellen for secretary of the Treasury. She was the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve, where she was appointed during the Obama administration. She was also the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration. 

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
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Ballotpedia’s Weekly Transition Tracker: November 14-20, 2020

Transition Tracker Weekly by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Weekly Transition Tracker

November 20, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every week, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.

Our next weekly edition will arrive on December 4. Click here to subscribe to the Daily Transition Tracker.


Appointments and Nominations

Biden announced the following nine appointees who will serve as White House senior staff on Wednesday. 

Jen O’Malley Dillon, White House deputy chief of staff

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign manager, will be deputy chief of staff. O’Malley Dillon is a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and a founding partner of the Democratic consulting firm Precious Strategies. She led Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign before joining Biden’s.

Cedric Richmond, senior adviser

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) will leave Congress to work as a senior adviser focused on public engagement. He will conduct outreach to grassroots organizations, public interest and advocacy groups, the business community, and climate change activists. Richmond was a national co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign. 

Richmond’s congressional district, Louisiana’s 2nd, is rated Solid Democratic. Vacancies are filled by special elections.

Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president

Steve Ricchetti, a longtime Biden aide, will serve as counselor to the president—a role currently held by Hope Hicks and Derek Lyons in the Trump administration. Ricchetti worked for Biden during the Obama administration, serving as his chief of staff in 2013.

Anthony Bernal, senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden

Anthony Bernal was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign and Jill Biden’s chief of staff. He has worked with the Bidens for more than a decade, including as director of scheduling and trip director for Jill Biden during the Obama administration.

Mike Donilon, senior advisor to the president

Mike Donilon was chief strategist for the Biden presidential campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, Donilon was the managing director of the Biden Institute. He has worked on six presidential campaigns.

Dana Remus, White House counsel

Dana Remus was general counsel for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked as general counsel for the Obama Foundation. She was also the deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel of ethics during the Obama administration. She clerked for Republican-nominated Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon served as the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and deputy assistant secretary of state during the Obama administration. She is a partner at Winston & Strawn and previously worked on the faculty of Columbia Law School and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Julie Chavez Rodriguez was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked on the Harris presidential campaign as the national political director and traveling chief of staff. In the Obama administration, Chavez Rodriguez was a special assistant to the president and senior deputy director of public engagement.

Annie Tomasini, director of Oval Office Operations

Annie Tomasini is Biden’s traveling chief of staff. She has worked for Biden for over a decade, including as his deputy press secretary during the Obama administration and as press secretary when Biden was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Potential Nominees

  • Biden said on Thursday that he had selected his nominee for secretary of the Treasury and will make an announcement early next week. Federal Reserve Board member Lael Brainard, former Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen, and former Federal Reserve Board member Roger Ferguson Jr. are on the shortlist, according to The New York Times.
  • Bloomberg reported that Gary Gensler, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara were in consideration to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Other potential candidates named in the article were former SEC commissioner Kara Stein, SEC commissioner Allison Lee, former Treasury official Michael Barr, Georgetown Law professor Chris Brummer, and former SEC commissioner Robert Jackson Jr.
  • Politico described Michèle Flournoy as the “consensus choice among establishment Washington” for secretary of defense. Flournoy was the undersecretary of defense during President Barack Obama’s first term in office.
  • Politico also reported that Biden was considering Sen. Angus King (Maine), an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, for director of national intelligence. Maine is one of 37 states where Senate vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment until the next statewide general election. Maine Gov. Janet Mills is a Democrat. 
  • NPR reported that John Jones, a former chief of staff to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), is being considered for the position of director of the Office of Management and Budget. Jones also worked as an aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). He is vice president of government relations for the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  • The Biden Transition is vetting Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) for secretary of the interior, according to The Hill. If selected, she would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary. Haaland’s district, New Mexico’s 1st, is rated Safe Democratic. House vacancies are filled by special elections.
  • The Hill reported the following officials were candidates to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM): longtime BLM official Steve Ellis, Audubon Society lawyer Nada Culver, and former BLM director Neil Kornze.
  • CBS News called Tony Blinken, Biden’s campaign adviser on global issues, the frontrunner for secretary of state.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are in consideration for secretary of transportation.

News

  • Forty progressive groups—including MoveOn, Color of Change, and the Sunrise Movement—published a list of 400 recommended candidates for what they called “the most powerful positions nobody’s ever heard of” in government.
  • Biden hired former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki to lead a team overseeing the Senate confirmation process for his nominees. “The new team is also looking to shake up some of the conventions of the Cabinet nomination process, including the code of silence that has traditionally surrounded nominees. Instead, transition staff intend to introduce Biden’s Cabinet picks to the American people before their Senate hearings, which could include media blitzes to build up public support. There’s a risk, however, that the increased exposure could lead to embarrassing gaffes or missteps by nominees,” Politico reported.
  • Three Republican senators indicated they are willing to confirm Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) said that a “president ought to be able to pick his or her Cabinet barring someone who is out of the mainstream of either party.” Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) said she would give “great latitude” to the president. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) similarly said, “Our job, our role is to make sure that he selects folks that are … within the mainstream. And are good, qualified credible candidates. And if he does that, sure, I am going to work with him.”
  • Georgia completed its statewide audit of its presidential election results on Thursday. Biden leads Trump by 12,284 votes and is the projected winner according to a consensus call from ABC News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, and The New York Times.
  • Politico reported that the Biden transition has raised more than $8 million to cover costs and payroll associated with the transition. It will not have access to public funding set aside for presidential transitions until the General Services Administration ascertains the election.

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
BALLOTPEDIA NEWS


Biden will announce secretary of the Treasury pick next week

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 20, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.​​​​​​


News

  • Politico reported that the Biden transition has raised more than $8 million to cover costs and payroll associated with the transition. It will not have access to public funding set aside for presidential transitions until the General Services Administration ascertains the election.
  • Biden said on Thursday that he had selected his nominee for secretary of the Treasury and will make an announcement early next week. Federal Reserve Board member Lael Brainard, former Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen, and former Federal Reserve Board member Roger Ferguson are on the shortlist, according to The New York Times.
  • Three Republican senators indicated they are willing to confirm Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) said that a “president ought to be able to pick his or her Cabinet barring someone who is out of the mainstream of either party.” Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) said she would give “great latitude” to the president. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) similarly said, “Our job, our role is to make sure that he selects folks that are … within the mainstream. And are good, qualified credible candidates. And if he does that, sure, I am going to work with him.”
  • Biden and Harris are meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) on Friday in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are in consideration for secretary of transportation.
  • Georgia completed its statewide audit of its presidential election results on Thursday. Biden leads Trump by 12,284 votes and is the projected winner according to a consensus call from ABC News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, and The New York Times.

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
BALLOTPEDIA NEWS


Pelosi nominated for speaker of the House

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 19, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.

News

  • Politico reported that infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci is expected to continue his role in the Biden administration.They added that it was unclear whether Trump coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx would be retained. Céline Gounder, a member of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory team, said, “It’s complicated. It’s almost like she herself has been politicized.”
  • Biden and Harris will discuss the coronavirus pandemic response in a virtual meeting with the bipartisan National Governors Association’s executive committee on Thursday.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) was nominated to continue to lead Democrats in the House on Wednesday. A full House vote will take place in early January. Biden spoke with Pelosi, saying that “he looks forward to working with her and Democratic leadership in the House on a shared agenda to get COVID-19 under control and build our economy back better.”
  • The Hill reported the following officials were candidates to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM): longtime BLM official Steve Ellis, Audubon Society lawyer Nada Culver, and former BLM director Neil Kornze.
  • Biden discussed the importance of the Georgia Senate runoffs in a private video call on Wednesday. He said, “We’re going to run into some real brick walls initially in the Senate unless we’re able to turn around Georgia and pick up those two seats, but even then it’s going to be hard.”
  • CBS News called Tony Blinken, Biden’s campaign adviser on global issues, the frontrunner for secretary of state.

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
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Biden announces senior White House staff

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 18, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.

Appointments and Nominations

Biden announced nine appointees who will serve as White House senior staff on Wednesday. As previously reported, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Cedric Richmond, and Steve Richhetti will serve as deputy chief of staff, senior advisor, and counselor to the president, respectively.

The six other appointments are as follows:

Anthony Bernal, senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden

Anthony Bernal was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign and Jill Biden’s chief of staff. He has worked with the Bidens for more than a decade, including as director of scheduling and trip director for Jill Biden during the Obama administration.

Mike Donilon, senior advisor to the president

Mike Donilon was chief strategist for the Biden presidential campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, Donilon was the managing director of the Biden Institute. He has worked on six presidential campaigns.

Dana Remus, White House counsel

Dana Remus was general counsel for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked as general counsel for the Obama Foundation. She was also the deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel of ethics during the Obama administration. She clerked for Republican-nominated Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon served as the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and deputy assistant secretary of state during the Obama administration. She is a partner at Winston & Strawn and previously worked on the faculty of Columbia Law School and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Julie Chavez Rodriguez was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked on the Harris presidential campaign as the national political director and traveling chief of staff. In the Obama administration, Chavez Rodriguez was a special assistant to the president and senior deputy director of public engagement.

Annie Tomasini, director of Oval Office Operations

Annie Tomasini is Biden’s traveling chief of staff. She has worked for Biden for over a decade, including as his deputy press secretary during the Obama administration and as press secretary when Biden was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


News

  • NPR reported that John Jones, a former chief of staff to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), is being considered for the position of director of the Office of Management and Budget. Jones also worked as an aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). He is vice president of government relations for the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  • The Biden Transition is vetting Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) for secretary of the interior, according to The Hill. If selected, she would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary. Haaland’s district, New Mexico’s 1st, is rated Safe Democratic.
  • Biden hired former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki to lead a team overseeing the Senate confirmation process for his nominees. “The new team is also looking to shake up some of the conventions of the Cabinet nomination process, including the code of silence that has traditionally surrounded nominees. Instead, transition staff intend to introduce Biden’s Cabinet picks to the American people before their Senate hearings, which could include media blitzes to build up public support. There’s a risk, however, that the increased exposure could lead to embarrassing gaffes or missteps by nominees,” Politico reported.

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
BALLOTPEDIA NEWS



Biden names campaign manager O’Malley Dillon deputy chief of staff

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 17, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.​​​​​​

Appointments and Nominations

Jen O’Malley Dillon, White House deputy chief of staff

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign manager, will be deputy chief of staff in Biden’s White House. O’Malley Dillon is a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and a founding partner of the Democratic consulting firm Precious Strategies. She led Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign before joining Biden’s.

Cedric Richmond, senior adviser

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) will leave Congress to join Biden’s White House as a senior adviser focused on public engagement. He will conduct outreach to grassroots organizations, public interest and advocacy groups, the business community, and climate change activists. Richmond was a national co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign. 

Richmond’s congressional district, Louisiana’s 2nd, is rated Solid Democratic. Vacancies are filled by special election.

Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president

Steve Ricchetti, a longtime Biden aide, will serve as counselor to the president—a role currently held by Hope Hicks and Derek Lyons in the Trump administration. Ricchetti worked for Biden during the Obama administration, serving as his chief of staff in 2013.


News

  • Biden and Harris will receive a non-governmental national security briefing on Tuesday from diplomatic, intelligence, and defense experts. “The briefing is clearly part of the incoming administration’s effort to pressure the General Services Administration to ascertain the election so that Biden can start receiving intelligence briefings,” NBC News reported.
  • The Biden transition team has begun reviewing potential judicial nominees, according to The Huffington Post. The U.S. Senate votes to confirm federal judicial nominees. Republicans will hold at least 50 seats in the U.S. Senate and Democrats 48. Two Georgia Senate races, which have runoffs on January 5, 2020, will determine control of the chamber.

What We’re Reading

Everything on Ballotpedia is free to readBut it isn’t free to produce. We depend on people like you to ensure that access to neutral and accurate information about American politics stays available to all. Donations to Ballotpedia are tax deductible and go directly toward producing great content like this newsletter.Please consider donating today! >   DONATE TO BALLOTPEDIA
BALLOTPEDIA NEWS


Joe Biden projected to win 2020 presidential election

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election, according to a consensus call from ABC News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, and The New York Times. Projected to win Pennsylvania, Biden has won at least 273 electoral votes, putting him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. President Donald Trump (R) won at least 213 electoral votes.

Biden will be the oldest president to take office on January 20, 2021, at 78 years old. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), will be the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president.

George H.W. Bush (R) was the last president to lose his re-election campaign in 1992.

Races remain too close to call in four battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina. Biden currently leads in the first three states, totaling 33 electoral votes. Trump leads in North Carolina, which has 15 electoral votes.



Trump, Biden hold dueling events in Tampa

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
October 29, 2020: Joe Biden and Donald Trump are campaigning in Tampa on Thursday. The Supreme Court declined to intervene in two ballot deadline cases in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
        
​​Campaign Ad Comparison
Daily Presidential News Briefing campaign ad comparison feature, 2020 ("In The Dark" – Joe Biden)Daily Presidential News Briefing campaign ad comparison feature, 2020 ("Uphold the Law" – Donald Trump)

Notable Quote of the Day

“But I would argue that Trump and his campaign will make the same mistake they made in 2018 if they focus on an issue that is of limited interest to voters outside the two parties’ bases.  On the Friday before the midterm election two years ago, Republicans got a gift when the monthly jobs report announced that 250,000 jobs had been created, in what was then a 49-year low. Even a former economic adviser to Biden called it ‘pretty much everything you could want in a monthly jobs report.’

But rather than playing their strongest card — Trump’s historic record of job creation versus the Obama-Biden weak economic recovery — Republicans spent the weekend before the election talking about immigration and the caravans heading toward the border.  Immigration is important, but in the big scheme of things, the economy and Trump’s record-setting progress were more important to more voters. But that’s not what they heard.”

– David Winston, adviser to congressional Republicans

Election Updates


As of Thursday morning, 77.9 million early votes had been cast in the general election, according to the United States Election Project.

The Center for Responsive Politics projected that spending in the presidential election will exceed $6.6 billion, more than doubling the $2.4 billion spent in the 2016 election.

The Supreme Court declined to expedite consideration of a Republican challenge to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that extended the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots until November 6 for ballots postmarked by November 3.

The Supreme Court also declined to intervene in a North Carolina case, leaving the deadline for ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received by November 13.

Donald Trump is holding rallies in Tampa, Florida, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Thursday.

Joe Biden is hosting two drive-in events across Florida in Broward and Tampa.

Biden voted early in Delaware on Wednesday.

What We’re Reading

CNN: How Arizona complicates Trump’s re-election bid
National Review: Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win
The Week: The craziest ways the 2020 election might end

Flashback: October 29, 2016

Donald Trump questioned mail-in voting in Colorado during a rally in the state.blank


Early voting surpasses 71 million ballots

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
October 28, 2020: More than 71 million ballots have been cast early. Michael Bloomberg’s PAC is planning to spend $15 million on ads in Ohio and Texas for Joe Biden.


Presidential Facebook ads, 2019-2020 (October 19-25, 2020)

Notable Quote of the Day

“The reason losing Pennsylvania wouldn’t necessarily doom Biden is because he could still hold those other Midwestern/Rust Belt states. Pennsylvania is fairly similar to Michigan and Wisconsin, but not that similar. As I mentioned, it’s denser and more racially diverse. It may or may not be in the Midwest. It’s traditionally a bit more purple. So if Biden is doing better than Clinton with rural whites but worse with Black voters — as a lot of polling shows — he might gain ground in Wisconsin but lose in Pennsylvania.”

– Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight​​​​​​

Election Updates

  • As of Wednesday morning, 71.1 million early votes had been cast in the general election, according to the United States Election Project.
  • Donald Trump is holding two rallies in Arizona on Wednesday.
  • Trump released an ad highlighting support from law enforcement officials. A second ad features a fracking technician from Pennsylvania.
  • Joe Biden is delivering remarks on the coronavirus pandemic from Delaware on Wednesday.
  • Biden began airing two news ads on Tuesday featuring his personal story and emphasizing the themes of character and unity. The ads are airing in 16 states and on cable and broadcast networks nationwide.
  • Michael Bloomberg’s PAC, Independence USA, is planning to spend $15 million on advertising campaigns in Ohio and Texas for Biden.

Flashback: October 28, 2016

James Comey notified Congress that the FBI was reviewing additional emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private email use.blank

Click here to learn more.



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