Emily Aubert

Emily Aubert is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at

Castro releases ad directed at Trump

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 14, 2019: Julián Castro released an ad criticizing Donald Trump. John Hickenlooper is considering a Senate run, according to a New York Times report.


Notable Quote of the Day

“The repeated and direct attention to swing-state cities [Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee] at this early stage in the primary reflects a growing urgency to address the failures of the 2016 Democratic campaign, as well as the belief that Mr. Trump could win again if the party focuses on appealing to white, blue-collar swing voters in the Rust Belt, and makes less frequent overtures to core constituencies like people of color and young people.”

– Nick Corasaniti, The New York Times


  • Michael Bennet released a new book called Dividing America that details Russia’s disinformation campaign during the 2016 election.

  • Bill de Blasio appeared on Fox Business’ Bulls & Bears to promote his plan to make the top tax rate on the richest one percent approximately 70 percent.

  • Steve Bullock criticized the fundraising threshold for the third and fourth debate after Tom Steyer met the threshold following large online ad campaigns. “We’re kidding ourselves if we’re calling a $10 million purchase of 130,000 donors a demonstration of grassroots support,” he said.

  • Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders addressed union members at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades annual convention in Las Vegas.

  • Julián Castro purchased airtime during Fox & Friends to air a new ad directed at Trump, criticizing his rhetoric about immigrants.

  • In an interview on Fox News, John Delaney said Democrats needed “someone who can actually capture the center” to be able to defeat Trump.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand signed on to an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case involving restrictions on gun transportation.

  • The New York Times reported that John Hickenlooper was considering dropping his presidential bid to run for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

  • Jay Inslee launched his first Donor Dash, seeking as many donors as possible in 48 hours.

  • Tim Ryan discussed gun safety legislation in an interview on CNN’s New Day.

  • Joe Sestak wrote an op-ed in the Daily Caller about this presidential campaign.

  • Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs endorsed Elizabeth Warren.

  • Marianne Williamson discussed morality in politics and her previous statements about antidepressants on Late Night with Seth Meyers


  • Donald Trump said he was delaying a portion of the tariffs on Chinese imports until Dec. 15 to prevent any negative effect on holiday sales.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Stacey Abrams announced that she would not run for president, focusing instead on combating voter suppression. 

Special Guest Analysis

Jim Ellis is a 35-year political veteran who now analyzes election data for major corporations, associations, and legislative advocacy firms. He is president of EllisInsight, LLC. We invited him to share analysis on the state of Texas in the 2020 election.

Since late July, Republican House members have been announcing their retirements in rapid-fire succession. Though the number of open seats has recently increased by 60%, we still see an aggregate of only 14 retirements and 2 vacancies. This pales in comparison to the open seat number from the four past election cycles during this present decade, all falling between 47 and 64, inclusive.

Though the total open seat count is low, the partisan division within this sector is extremely lopsided. Eleven districts are Republican-held.

Of the 11 Republican open seats, six appear competitive or highly competitive. Included in this group are three of the four Texas open seats, the ones concentrated in the Houston (TX-22), San Antonio/El Paso (TX-23), and Dallas (TX-24) metro areas. Of the three Democratic openings, only one, the southeastern district of Iowa (IA-2), could conceivably be contested. All of the regular election open seats, however, will host highly competitive partisan primary elections.

The media argument comes to the forefront that the Texas seats are particularly vulnerable because the state is changing, and the new demographics clearly favor the Democrats. While true to a degree, it must be remembered that all four of the Lone Star State open seats still elected a Republican even within the “blue wave” election, and it’s clear that the GOP will still field energetic candidates capable of winning in all districts.  

Furthermore, the eventual Democratic presidential nominee calling for the elimination of the fossil fuels industry in ten years cuts to the heart of the Texas economy, a message that should prove devastating for the party’s congressional candidates in such an energy-dependent state.

While the latest retirement trend doesn’t make re-claiming the House majority any easier for the Republican challengers, the development doesn’t in and of itself necessarily preclude such an outcome, either.

Flashback: August 14, 2015

Eighteen presidential candidates were set to visit the 11-day 2015 Iowa State Fair.

Trump raises $12 million at fundraisers in Hamptons

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 12, 2019: Donald Trump raised $12 million from two fundraisers Friday. The 2020 Democrats gathered in Iowa to speak at the Soapbox and a gun violence forum.

There are nine new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats, three Republicans, and one Green. In total, 816 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Seniors are the likeliest to actually cast ballots, with two-thirds of them voting in the 2018 midterms compared with 53% of the overall voting-age population. While the electorate in presidential years skews younger than in midterm ones, no Democratic presidential candidate has won seniors since Al Gore in 2000, and for the past five presidential-election cycles, every Republican nominee has won a larger share of seniors than his predecessor.”

– Michelle Hackman, The Wall Street Journal


Nearly the entire Democratic field was in Iowa over the weekend. Seventeen candidates participated in a forum on gun violence hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action. Here are some more highlights of what the candidates discussed during their Iowa trips.

  • Michael Bennet discussed income inequality and education while campaigning in Ames.
  • Joe Biden discussed biometric weapons and individualizing weapons to authorized owners. He wrote an op-ed in The New York Times titled “Banning Assault Weapons Works.”
  • Bill de Blasio called for a boycott of Walmart, saying there should be consequences for gun retailers.
  • Cory Booker focused his speech at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on gun violence and regulation. He also campaigned in Milwaukee Sunday.
  • While campaigning in Nevada, Iowa, Steve Bullock spoke about healthcare, campaign finance, and the federal debt ceiling.
  • Pete Buttigieg attended the forum on gun violence in Iowa before campaigning in Austin, Texas.
  • Julián Castro discussed tariffs and how trade policy was affecting farmers.
  • Appearing at the Soapbox, John Delaney spoke about racism, his healthcare plan, climate change, and infrastructure.
  • Tulsi Gabbard discussed national security, foreign policy, and criminal justice at the Soapbox Friday.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand criticized Iowa political leadership for supporting a pro-gun amendment to the state constitution.
  • Kamala Harris discussed the existence of racism in the United States, before and after the Trump administration.
  • John Hickenlooper described what he called his pragmatic progressive policies on the economy and the environment.
  • During a campaign stop in Nevada, Iowa, Jay Inslee discussed climate change and electability.
  • Amy Klobuchar spoke about immigration, climate change, workforce training, and the rural-urban divide at the Soapbox.
  • Tim Ryan discussed education, mental health, and manufacturing at the Soapbox.
  • Bernie Sanders said candidates needed to focus on policy that addresses the concerns of working families during a speech at the Wing Ding.
  • While speaking at the Soapbox, Joe Sestak discussed healthcare, globalism, and cancer research funding.
  • Appearing at the Wing Ding, Tom Steyer said his business experience would allow him to directly challenge Trump.
  • Elizabeth Warren introduced her gun violence platform, seeking to reduce the number of gun deaths in the country by 80 percent. Her plan would create a federal licensing program, cap firearm purchases, change the laws to protect survivors of domestic abuse, and raise taxes on gun manufacturers.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke about morality in politics and addressed criticism of her campaign.
  • Andrew Yang discussed accidental gun deaths involving children and personalized weapons at the forum on gun violence.


  • Donald Trump raised $12 million at two fundraisers in the Hamptons Friday.
  • Bill Weld campaigned in New Hampshire Saturday, where he said his strategy was to enlarge the electorate. He was in Iowa Sunday for a speech at the Soapbox at the state fair.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 12, 2015

Hillary Clinton hired Heather Stone as the campaign’s chief of staff and Craig Smith as a paid consultant.

Yang qualifies for next two primary debates with new poll

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 9, 2019: Andrew Yang became the ninth candidate to qualify for the third and fourth Democratic primary debates. Most of the 2020 Democratic field will be in Iowa this weekend at the state fair.

Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Mike Frosolone is a Democratic staffer with experience organizing in Midwestern states.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2014 Staci Appel U.S. House campaign (IA-03), field director
  • 2012 Michigan state legislative elections, House Democratic organizer
  • 2010 Dan Muhlbauer Iowa House of Representatives campaign, campaign manager

Other experience:

  • 2015-2019: Iowa House Democrats, caucus director
  • 2008-2010: Service Employees International Union, organizer

What he says about Booker:

“Cory’s performance serves as a validation for the folks who have committed their early support to his campaign.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“The [Iowa] State Fair is like half time. We’ve had the first two quarters of the game. We have the 3rd and 4th quarters to play still. If you’re a fan of the NBA, nothing happens until the 4th quarter. I wouldn’t be satisfied being ahead at half time.”

– Jeff Link, Iowa Democratic political strategist


  • The Iowa State Fair continues and more Democrats are scheduled to speak at the Soapbox over the next few days. Cory BookerKirsten GillibrandKamala HarrisJohn HickenlooperJay InsleeAmy KlobucharTim RyanJoe Sestak, and Elizabeth Warren will speak Saturday. Michael BennetBill de BlasioBernie Sanders, and Tom Steyer are scheduled Sunday.
  • Bennet campaigned in Ohio Thursday, speaking at the City Club of Cleveland and attending a fundraiser.
  • Booker issued draft legislation of the Climate Stewardship Act Thursday. The bill would call for planting 4 billion trees by 2030 and 15 billion by 2050 to off-set domestic greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Agriculture and other agencies would receive up to $25 billion annually to develop more voluntary programs for climate-friendly agricultural practices.
  • Joe Biden will speak at the Wing Ding in Iowa Friday night.
  • Steve Bullock will continue to campaign in Iowa on Friday and Saturday.
  • Pete Buttigieg unveiled his plan for improving rural healthcare through a “Medicare for All Who Want It” system. He would also expand loan forgiveness programs for healthcare professionals and the Conrad 30 waiver program, which waives a reentry requirement for some foreign doctors committing to work in underserved or rural areas.
  • In a Medium post, Klobuchar outlined her anti-domestic terrorism proposal. She called for prioritizing law enforcement tracking, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes and white nationalist activity. Under her plan, people with violent misdemeanor hate crime convictions would be barred from purchasing or possessing firearms.
  • Seth Moulton advocated abolishing the filibuster in a series of tweets on Thursday.
  • Marianne Williamson will continue to campaign in Iowa Friday and Saturday.
  • Andrew Yang qualified for the third and fourth Democratic presidential primary debates, reaching the polling threshold of 2 percent or more in a fourth eligible poll. Yang previously announced he had reached the grassroots fundraising bar and the polling threshold last week before the Democratic National Committee clarified its polling rules, leaving Yang one short.


  • Donald Trump departs for his New Jersey golf club Friday as part of his annual August holiday.
  • Bill Weld, along with BookerButtigieg, and Sandersparticipated in a presidential candidate’s forum at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Miami Thursday. Weld will also speak at the Iowa State Fair Sunday. 

Flashback: August 8, 2015

John Kasich said he supported a pathway to legal status for the 11 million immigrants living in the United States without legal permission

Delaney and Williamson most frequent campaigners in early states

Ballotpedia has compiled the number of days each Democratic presidential candidate has spent in the four early primary states—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada—between January 1, 2019, and July 29, 2019.
Former Rep. John Delaney was the most frequent campaigner in Iowa, while author Marianne Williamson spent the most days in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Where a candidate focuses his or her campaign can hint at primary strategy and where candidates are trying to fortify coalitions. Here are the top-visited states for the candidates who have qualified for the September primary debate:
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: Iowa
  • Sen. Cory Booker: Iowa and South Carolina
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Iowa
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: South Carolina
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Iowa
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke: Iowa
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: Iowa
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Iowa
With at least 20 candidates expected to speak this week at the Iowa State Fair, the state’s largest annual event, Iowa will likely remain the most popular state for campaign visits.
Information about the candidates’ schedules was collected from The Des Moines Register, NBC Boston/NECN, The Post & Courier, and The Nevada Independent.

2020 Democrats travel to Iowa for state fair

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 8, 2019: The 2020 Democrats converge upon Iowa as the state fair begins Thursday. Kamala Harris made a six-figure ad buy in Iowa.


Notable Quote of the Day

“When we talk about how gender and sexism affect elections, usually what we’re really talking about is how women fare. But gender has always been an important factor on the campaign trail, even when both major-party candidates are the same sex. ‘When two men are running against each other, we end up with a contest between two different versions of masculinity,’ said Jackson Katz, an educator and the author of Man Enough?: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity. …

Take the 2004 campaign, for instance. George W. Bush and John Kerry both leaned hard into photo ops that would emphasize their machismo — taking excursions to shooting ranges, posing with veterans and troops, even riding motorcycles. But Republicans, in particular, sought to portray Kerry as effeminate and unpatriotic, like when he was mocked for ‘looking French.’ Meanwhile, Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards (who was later criticized for his expensive haircuts) was infamously dubbed ‘the Breck Girl of politics’ by Republican strategists because of his attention to his coiffure.

So any candidate who runs against Trump will have to grapple with this dynamic — even if the Democrats ultimately nominate a man.”

– Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, FiveThirtyEight senior writer


  • The Iowa State Fair begins today and most of the Democratic field is scheduled to speak at the Soapbox over the next few days. Julián CastroJohn DelaneyTulsi GabbardMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang will speak Friday.

  • Michael Bennet appeared on The Daily Show Wednesday night, discussing his legislative record and policy proposals. 

  • Joe Biden opened several campaign offices in Iowa Wednesday and appeared at the launch of the Iowa City office.

  • Cory Booker held his first campaign event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wednesday night.

  • Steve Bullock spoke at the National Press Club about gun violence, racism, and electability.

  • Pete Buttigieg campaigned in Orlando, Florida, attending a private event with members of the Puerto Rican community and a grassroots rally.

  • Buttigieg hired Mike Baccio as his in-house chief information security officer, which Politico called a first for a major 2020 presidential candidate. He also expanded his campaign in New Hampshire, bringing the total number of staffers to 40.

  • Mike Gravel, who suspended his presidential campaign Tuesday, clarified that he was endorsing both Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard.

  • Kamala Harris made her first 2020 ad buy, spending $145,000 on an ad introducing herself to voters that will air in Iowa for a week beginning Thursday.

  • John Hickenlooper wrote an op-ed in The Des Moines Register criticizing the Trump administration’s tariffs.

  • Amy Klobuchar kicked off her Heartland Tour Wednesday. She will campaign across Iowa for four days.

  • The Jamaican Information Service interviewed Wayne Messam about his heritage and U.S. relations with Jamaica.

  • Seth Moulton denied a Washington Post report that said he planned to lay off at least half of his staff, saying his campaign had recently undergone a restructuring that included new hires.

  • Beto O’Rourke will not make a scheduled stop at the Iowa State Fair this weekend, remaining in El Paso to support the community following a mass shooting.

  • Tim Ryan said he would lead a caravan, in coordination with Moms Demand Action, from his congressional district to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell’s home state, to call on Congress to pass gun legislation. 

  • In an interview on PBS NewsHourTom Steyer spoke about climate change, gun violence, and corporate influence in politics.

  • Elizabeth Warren proposed creating an Office of Broadband Access that would administer an $85 billion grant program to guarantee high-speed internet access across the country.


  • Real estate developer Stephen Ross is hosting Donald Trump at a fundraiser Friday. Tickets for a private roundtable discussion with Trump are $250,000.

Flashback: August 8, 2015

Bernie Sanders ended a Seattle campaign event early after two Black Lives Matter activists took control of the podium.

Buttigieg and Inslee unveil plans to address domestic terrorism

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 7, 2019: Pete Buttigieg and Jay Inslee released plans to address domestic terrorism. Mike Gravel suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Bernie Sanders.


Notable Quotes of the Day

“Elizabeth Warren just has a gigantic campaign [in Nevada]. There are counties all over rural areas where some campaigns are just doing tours, but she has staff there. And that was a strategy President Obama had in 2008 when he won Nevada.”

– Laura Martin, executive director of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

“One of [Kamala] Harris’ biggest assets is geography. Not only is California next door, Democrats and union members from the state are frequently imported into Nevada to help political campaigns there. Harris’ campaign, an adviser acknowledged, wants to run a ‘two-state strategy’ that takes advantage of the kinship between the two states and the fact that absentee voting in California’s March 3 primary will be going on during Nevada’s caucus, which ends Feb. 22.”

– Marc Caputo, Politico reporter


  • The Iowa State Fair begins Thursday and most of the Democratic field is scheduled to speak at the Soapbox in the next week. Joe Biden and Steve Bullock will kick off the campaign speeches on Thursday.

  • Bill de Blasio will be the first 2020 Democratic candidate to appear on Fox News’ Hannity Wednesday.

  • Roughly 60 Cory Booker campaign staffers have unionized with representation from Teamsters Local 238.

  • Pete Buttigieg unveiled a $1 billion plan to combat domestic terrorism and radicalization, which would expand the FBI’s domestic counterterrorism field staff, target online hate speech with software tools, and include new gun legislation on background checks and magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition, among other policy proposals.

  • John Delaney continues his six-day swing through Iowa.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand begins her “Kitchen Table Tour” of Iowa, traveling across the state with her family in an RV.

  • Mike Gravel suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Bernie Sanders.

  • Politico compared the size, location, and preparation of Kamala Harris’ and Elizabeth Warren’s field operations in Nevada and other campaigns.

  • John Hickenlooper has not ruled out a potential bid for U.S. Senate in Colorado. He spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about a possible run last week. “He is still in the race for president, but he hasn’t closed the door to anything,” said Hickenlooper’s communications director.

  • Jay Inslee released a 10-point plan to address gun violence connected to white nationalism. His proposals included increasing federal funding for de-radicalization programs, spending more resources on joint federal-state investigations of white nationalists, and using extreme risk protection orders.

  • Amy Klobuchar issued her farming communities platform, which includes expanding federal commodity price supports and federal crop insurance programs, tariff review, loan forgiveness for agricultural students, increasing the use of ethanol, and infrastructure improvements.

  • Seth Moulton said he would remain in the race despite not qualifying for the first two primary debates. He toured two defense contractor manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts Tuesday.

  • Sanders appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, discussing primary politics, healthcare, pharmaceutical costs, and marijuana.

  • In an interview with CBS News, Joe Sestak discussed U.S.-North Korea relations.

  • In an interview on The Daily ShowMarianne Williamson spoke about the debates, campaign finance, healthcare, vaccines, and antidepressants.


  • Donald Trump sued California, challenging the constitutionality of a state law requiring presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns in order to appear on the ballot.

  • Trump will visit El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, to meet Wednesday with the communities affected by the weekend’s mass shootings.

Flashback: August 7, 2015

Marco Rubio said he did not support abortion or exceptions in the case of rape or incest, clarifying a position he took in the previous night’s debat

DNC clarifies qualifying period for October debate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 6, 2019: The Democratic National Committee clarified the qualifying period for the October debate. Tulsi Gabbard will be off the campaign trail for two weeks to complete National Guard training.


How many candidates have won the presidency without winning more than 60% of the vote in any state?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Post-debate coverage matters as much, if not more, than the debate itself. Our hypothesis is that by quantifying the audience value of earned media, you can effectively use it as an early predictor of changes in the polls because so much of the polling in a crowded primary is reflective of name recognition.”

– David Seawright, Deep Root Analytics


  • The Democratic National Committee clarified that the qualification period for the October debate began June 28—the same as for the September debate—and ends two weeks before the debate. As a result, any candidate who qualifies for the September debate will automatically be eligible for the October event. Other candidates will have at least three additional weeks to reach the fundraising and polling threshold. The date for the October debate has not yet been set.

  • Michael Bennet will campaign in South Carolina, making four stops in rural school districts to discuss segregation and education Tuesday.

  • Joe Biden spoke about grief and the mass shootings in an interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

  • Politico interviewed Bill de Blasio about Medicare for All, gun violence, and gun legislation.

  • Cory Booker will campaign in South Carolina for a second day Tuesday, including a stop at the Mother Emanuel AME Church—where a mass shooting took place in 2015—to speak about gun violence.

  • In an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Steve Bullock spoke about the 1994 school shooting death of his nephew, Jeremy, and gun violence.

  • The Pete Buttigieg campaign is courting superdelegates early, holding a conference call with some Monday to ask for their support and discuss policy.

  • Julián Castro appeared on MSNBC and CNN to discuss the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings Monday night.

  • Tulsi Gabbard will leave the campaign trail for two weeks to complete Army National Guard training in Indonesia.

  • The Kamala Harris campaign is opening four New Hampshire offices in Manchester, Nashua, Keene, and Portsmouth to serve as organizing hubs for her run.

  • John Hickenlooper is beginning a five-day tour of Iowa, finishing off with an appearance at the Iowa State Fair.

  • Amy Klobuchar spoke at an event hosted by the Orange County California Democrats Monday night.

  • In an interview on Pod Save AmericaBeto O’Rourke said he favored ending the Senate filibuster in order to pass gun legislation.

  • Tim Ryan paused his campaign to remain in Dayton, Ohio, where a mass shooting took place. He said he planned to remain in the city until Tuesday or Wednesday.

  • KPBS interviewed Bernie Sanders about affordable housing, homelessness, and Medicare for All in San Diego.

  • National Review profiled Joe Sestak and his presidential campaign.

  • Tom Steyer appeared on The Trail: From New Hampshire to the White Housepodcast, speaking about corporate engagement in politics and his late campaign launch.

  • Marianne Williamson tweeted she was 19,500 unique contributors away from the fundraising threshold for the September debate.


  • Washington Examiner profiled Mike Pence’s efforts to engage conservative and evangelical support for Donald Trump

Flashback: August 6, 2015

Ten Republicans debated in the first presidential primary debate of the 2016 election cycle.

2020 candidates respond to El Paso, Ohio mass shootings

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 5, 2019: The 2020 presidential candidates respond to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Tulsi Gabbard crossed the fundraising threshold for the third Democratic debate in September.

There are eight new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats and two Republicans. In total, 807 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Under the traditional model for American presidential politics, winning candidates veer left (or right for the Republicans) in the primaries and then scamper back towards the center for the general election. So the real question is whether the leading Democrats have already staked out positions that would prevent the eventual nominee from modulating his or her tone in the fall of 2020.”

– Walter Shapiro, The Guardian


  • The 2020 Democratic candidates responded to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in formal statements, interviews, and tweets. Candidates focused on Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants, congressional inaction, and gun violence policies.
  • Joe BidenKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, and Bernie Sanders will speak on Latino issues at the UnidosUS Annual Conference in San Diego on Monday.
  • Michael Bennet campaigned across northern Nevada in Carson City, Reno, and Sparks on Sunday.
  • Biden’s affiliated PAC, American Possibilities, will shut down in the coming months.
  • While campaigning in Los Angeles, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks interviewedBill de Blasio about campaign finance and the mass shootings.
  • Pete Buttigieg‘s New Hampshire state director, Michael Ceraso, departed from the campaign.
  • John Delaney began a six-day swing through Iowa Sunday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard crossed the donor threshold of 130,000 unique contributors for the third Democratic presidential primary debate in September. She has not yet passed the polling threshold.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Funding Attorneys for Indigent Removal (FAIR) Proceedings Act Friday, which would guarantee legal counsel for children, victims of abuse or violence, and those at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Beto O’Rourke canceled campaign events Saturday through Monday to return to his hometown in El Paso, Texas, following a mass shooting.
  • Tim Ryan campaigned in Iowa, hosting events in Nevada, Indianola, Atlantic, and Council Bluffs.
  • Joe Sestak held a coffee with the candidate campaign event in Iowa Saturday.
  • More than 41 percent of donors who contributed to more than one presidential candidate through the ActBlue platform donated to Elizabeth Warren—the highest percentage of any candidate—according to a BuzzFeed analysis.
  • Marianne Williamson discussed mental health treatment, electability, and her spiritual beliefs on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday.
  • Andrew Yang called for a new federal domestic terrorism statute that would better allow law enforcement the resources to investigate domestic terrorism cases.


  • Katrina Pierson will lead the African Americans for Donald Trump coalition set to launch after Labor Day.
  • Trump called the weekend’s mass shootings part of a “mental illness problem” Sunday. Monday morning, Trump tweeted, “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.”
  • The Nevada Republican Party will vote Sept. 7 whether to cancel the state primary. If approved, caucuses will still be held to choose delegates.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Attorney Michael Avenatti said he is again considering running in the Democratic presidential primary. “The Dems need a non-traditional fighter. They have a lot of talent but not a lot of fighters,” he said, adding that there was a 50/50 chance he would enter the race.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 5, 2015

The Hillary Clinton campaign made a $2 million ad buy in New Hampshire and Iowa focused on Clinton’s biography.

2020 Dems head to Las Vegas seeking union support at AFSCME forum

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 2, 2019: At least 19 Democrats are heading to Las Vegas to attend the AFSCME public service forum Saturday. Amy Klobuchar said she had reached the grassroots fundraising threshold to qualify for the September Democratic debate.

     Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.
Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Maurice Daniel

Maurice Daniel is a longtime Democratic staffer with experience in the public and private sectors.

Previous campaign work:

  • 1996 Bill Clinton presidential campaign, Ohio state director
  • 1988 Dick Gephardt presidential campaign, field staffer

Other experience:

  • 2014-2019: Metro Strategies, principal
  • 2015-2017: Human Rights First, senior director of government relations
  • 2009-2013: Integrated Capital Strategies, managing director
  • 2004-2010: Eye2eye Communications, political consultant
  • 1997-2000: Office of Vice President Al Gore (D), national director of political affairs
  • 1993-1997: Office of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), chief of staff
  • 1992: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Midwest Political Desk
  • 1989-1991: Democratic National Committee, Midwest policy director

What he says about Williamson:

“The entitled and those entrenched in the establishment do not want to hear a different message. American voters do.”

Notable Quotes of the Day

“AFSCME [is] essentially laying down a marker here, saying this is an important state. This is an important state for labor. [Nevada] is a place you need to come and state your views, and the fact that they chose Nevada for something like that is very, very significant both for the labor movement and the state.”

– Jon RalstonThe Nevada Independent

“As the Democratic Party shifts toward a more progressive identity, [AFL-CIO President Richard] Trumka reminded 2020 candidates that unions would no longer support candidates simply because of their party affiliation. Unions historically played influential roles in getting Democrats elected through get-out-the-vote efforts, canvassing and other campaigning methods.”

– Danielle Wallace, Fox News



What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 2, 2015

In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Chris Christie called the national teachers union “the single most destructive force in public education in America.”

2020 Dems spar over healthcare and criminal justice records in second debate


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 1, 2019: The 2020 Democratic candidates debated healthcare and criminal justice in the second night of the debate. Democratic donor George Soros founded a super PAC for 2020 elections.

Poll Highlights 

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll One (July 23-25, 2019)

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll Two (July 23-25, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“The Dark Psychic Forces of Collective Hatred won tonight’s debate. It is absolutely mind-boggling to me that the Democratic candidates think their best path forward is to aggressively and personally attack one another over the finer points of their white papers and decades-old positions, given the intensity of their base’s desire to remove Trump from the White House. It’s mind-boggling that there would be several candidates taking shots at Barack Obama when he’s broadly popular, Trump isn’t, and the whole point of this enterprise is beating Trump.”

– Tim Miller, former Jeb Bush communications director

Debate Highlights

Ten candidates met on stage to debate in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday night. CNN hosted and Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper moderated the event. Read a transcript of the debate here.

  • Michael Bennet said the Affordable Care Act should have a public option and criticized Medicare for All plans that “would make illegal employer-based health insurance in this country and massively raise taxes on the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion.” Bennet said Congress needed to be smart in how it approached impeachment since the U.S. Senate could acquit Trump if it reached that chamber.

  • Joe Biden advocated expanding the Affordable Care Act and questioned Medicare for All proposals that had lengthy phase-ins or would significantly increase taxes. He defended his record on immigration and deportations during the Obama administration, pointing to a $750 million aid package for Central America and efforts to help Dreamers. He said he would not rejoin the TPP unless it was renegotiated to include greater accountability for China.

  • Bill de Blasio said he would “tax the hell out of the wealthy to make this a fairer country and to make sure it’s a country that puts working people first.” He also cautioned that impeachment proceedings could be distracting and take focus away from economic issues. De Blasio questioned whether Biden pushed back on deportations during the Obama administration. 

  • Cory Booker said he worked to reduce racial disparities in criminal justice and criticized Biden’s record and 1994 crime bill. He also said Democrats lost Michigan in 2016 “because everybody from Republicans to Russians were targeting the suppression of African American voters.” Booker said impeachment proceedings needed to begin regardless of the politics.

  • Julián Castro presented his proposal on new policing standards. He also advocated decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings and criticized Biden on immigration policy during their shared time in the Obama administration, saying “one of us has learned the lessons of the past and one of us hasn’t.” He also said Trump should be impeached immediately regardless of the political outcome.

  • Tulsi Gabbard criticized Harris’ record as a prosecutor and on the death penalty and healthcare. She said insurance and pharmaceutical companies should not be involved in the drafting process for new healthcare legislation. Gabbard also opposed TPP, saying the agreement gives away American sovereignty, and called for the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan. 

  • Kirsten Gillibrand emphasized that insurance companies are for-profit companies and said healthcare should be a right. She opposed the USMCA, particularly its provisions protecting intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical companies. She criticized Biden for a 1981 op-ed where he said expanding the childcare tax credit for wealthy families would subsidize the deterioration of family.

  • Kamala Harris discussed her healthcare proposal, which would replace employer-based coverage but allow some people to keep Medicare Advantage. She criticized Biden’s plan, saying it would not hold insurance and pharmaceutical companies responsible for cost issues. She also called Trump’s trade policy a Trump trade tax on goods.

  • Jay Inslee called Trump a white nationalist while discussing immigration and said the U.S. needed to expand its refugee programs. Inslee said his climate change plan was called the gold standard and that the U.S. could not delay getting off of coal and fossil fuels past a timeline of 10 years.

  • Andrew Yang said “the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math” and the country needed to do something different. He highlighted his universal basic income proposal in several contexts, including pay equity for homemakers. Yang also said money spent on conflicts abroad should have been invested in U.S. communities.


  • Booker introduced a bill to abolish the death penalty with fellow Sens. Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy.

  • The John Delaney campaign said it had its best online fundraising day following the debate, increasing his donor rate twenty-fold.

  • The Mike Gravel campaign tweeted it was coming to an end. The campaign would donate its funds to charity and form the Gravel Institute, a self-described leftist think tank.

  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in Macomb County, a pivot county in Michigan.

  • The Bernie Sanders campaign announced it had raised $1.1 million since the Tuesday debate from more than 70,000 contributions.

  • During Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, Marianne Williamson was the top-searched candidate on Google in 49 states.


  • The pro-Donald Trump super PACs America First Action and America First Policies raised $17.8 million in the first half of 2019.

General Election Updates

  • Investor George Soros, who said last year that he did not plan to become involved in the Democratic primaries, founded Democracy PAC in preparation for the 2020 elections. He contributed $5.1 million to the new group.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 1, 2015

Receiving an endorsement from Friends of the Earth, Bernie Sanders called climate change “the single greatest threat facing the planet.”