RNC outraises DNC for eighth consecutive month, Democrats lead in national Senate and House committee fundraising

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised its Democratic counterpart by more than two-to-one for the eighth consecutive month, while the Democratic House and Senate committees outraised their Republican counterparts, according to year-end 2019 campaign finance reports filed with the FEC Jan. 31.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $7.3 million and spent $6.0 million last month, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $7.0 million and spent $5.0 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 7.3% more than the DSCC ($67.7 million to $62.9 million). The NRSC’s 7.3% fundraising advantage is down from 8.7% in December and 8.8% in November.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $14.6 million and spent $5.1 million last month, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $8.1 million and spent $5.7 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the DCCC has raised 37.8% more than the NRCC. The DCCC’s 37.8% fundraising advantage is up from 35.5% in December and 36.0% in November.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although their advantage in the House was smaller than in this cycle. The DSCC had raised 25.9% more than the NRSC ($54.4 million to $41.9 million), while the DCCC had raised 21.5% more than the NRCC ($105.5 million to $85.0 million).

Republicans continue to lead in national committee fundraising. The Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $26.5 million and spent $17.7 million while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $8.7 million and spent $6.9 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 90.2% more than the DNC ($241.1 million to $91.2 million). The RNC’s 90.2% fundraising advantage is up from 88.9% in December and 89.1% in November.

At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle) the RNC had a smaller 48.7% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($105.6 million to $64.3 million).

So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 34.1% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($394.0 million to $279.0 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is down from 34.6% in December and 34.2% in November.

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Presidential candidates have collectively raised over $1 billion

Michael Bloomberg (D) led presidential candidates in fundraising for the fourth quarter of 2019, according to financial reports filed Jan. 31. Bloomberg raised $200 million during the quarter, all self-funded. He was followed by Tom Steyer (D), who raised $156 million, including $155 million self-funded.

As of the December 31, 2019, reporting cutoff, President Trump (R) had the most cash on hand of any presidential candidate with $103 million. Bernie Sanders (I) followed with $18.2 million. Three other candidates had more than $10 million on hand: Pete Buttigieg (D) with $14.5 million, Elizabeth Warren (D) with $13.7 million, and Bloomberg with $12.0 million.

Since the beginning of 2017, President Trump has raised $204 million; 29% more than the inflation-adjusted $152 million President Obama (D) had raised at this point in his 2012 re-election campaign. According to Republican National Committee (RNC) finance reports filed Friday, Trump and the RNC have raised a combined $770 million. At this point in the 2012 campaign cycle, Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had raised a combined inflation-adjusted $535 million.

The 11 noteworthy Democratic candidates have collectively raised $795 million this cycle, while the four noteworthy Republicans have collectively raised $220 million. The 11 Democrats had a combined $86.2 million in cash on hand to the four Republicans’ collective $107 million.

Looking back to the start of the election cycle, the top five Democratic fundraisers are Steyer ($206 million), Bloomberg ($200 million), Sanders ($86.2 million), Warren ($82.0 million), and Buttigieg ($76.7 million). The 15 noteworthy Democratic and Republican candidates have raised a combined $1.015 billion since the start of the election cycle.

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DNC eliminates donor threshold for Feb. 19 debate in Las Vegas

The Democratic National Committee released its criteria for the Feb. 19 presidential primary debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Friday.

Candidates have three paths to qualify: (1) receive at least one pledged delegate in the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary; (2) receive 10 percent support in four national, Nevada, and/or South Carolina polls; or (3) receive 12 percent support in two Nevada and/or South Carolina polls.

Each poll must be publicly released between Jan. 15 and Feb. 18.

The donor threshold used in previous debates was eliminated, creating a path to the stage for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has not accepted contributions to his campaign.

Three candidates have already qualified: former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Only two other candidates have at least one qualifying poll: Bloomberg and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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U.S. Rep. Doug Collins seeks election to Senate, 2,456 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congress elections

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R) announced January 29 that he is running in the special election for U.S. Senate in Georgia. Former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigned in December.

Collins has represented Georgia’s 9th Congressional District in the House since 2013. He is the third member of Georgia’s congressional delegation to announce he would not seek re-election to the House—Rob Woodall (R) of Georgia’s 7th and Tom Graves (R) of Georgia’s 14th are retiring from public office.

Collins is the 36th representative not seeking re-election and the 27th Republican. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.

As of February 3, 2020, 2,456 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.

A total of 348 candidates were filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. Of those, 296—154 Democrats and 142 Republicans—were from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.

For U.S. House, 2,355 candidates are filed with the FEC to run in 2020. Of those, 2,160—1,038 Democrats and 1,122 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.

On November 3, 2020, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a majority with 232 seats.

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United States House of Representatives elections, 2020
List of U.S. Congress incumbents who are not running for re-election in 2020

OIRA reviewed 31 significant rules in January

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 31 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies in January 2020. The agency approved one rule without changes and approved the intent of 28 rules while recommending changes to their content. Agencies withdrew two rules from the review process.

OIRA reviewed 17 significant regulatory actions in January 2019, 20 significant regulatory actions in January 2018, and 87 significant regulatory actions in January 2017. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 46 significant regulatory actions each January.

The agency reviewed a total of 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.

As of February 3, 2020, OIRA’s website listed 129 regulatory actions under review.

OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

Every month, Ballotpedia compiles information about regulatory reviews conducted by OIRA.
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Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Federal tobacco age restriction increase followed five years of state increases

On December 20, 2019, President Donald Trump (R) signed H.R. 1865 into law setting the federal tobacco age restriction at 21. At the time H.R. 1865 was signed into law, 54% of the country’s population already lived in states that had signed legislation setting their tobacco age restrictions at 21.

The first law in the United States regulating the sale of tobacco by age was passed in New Jersey in 1883, with a minimum age of 16. By 1920, 46 states had implemented a tobacco age restriction, of which 14 set the limit at 21. All states with a tobacco age restriction set at 21 decreased those limits over the following years. By the end of the 20th century, no states had a tobacco age restriction set at 21.

On June 20, 2015, Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) signed a bill raising the state’s tobacco age restriction to 21 making it the first state to do so in the 21st century. Over the following five years, 18 more states would increase their tobacco age restrictions to 21. Eight states increased their restrictions under a Democratic trifecta, four increased their restrictions under a Republican trifecta, and seven increased their restrictions under divided government. Ten Democratic governors and eight Republican governors signed increases in tobacco age restrictions. One state, Maine, increased their tobacco age restriction over a gubernatorial veto.

Listed below are the 19 states that signed legislation raising their tobacco age restriction to 21 prior to the signing of H.R. 1865:

• 2015: Hawaii
• 2016: California
• 2017: Maine, New Jersey, Oregon
• 2018: Massachusetts
• 2019: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

Of these 19 states, three – Pennsylvania, Washington, and Utah – had signed legislation increasing their tobacco age restrictions to 21, but those laws had not yet gone into effect by the time H.R. 1865 set the nationwide tobacco age restriction to 21.

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U.S. Supreme Court releases March argument calendar

The U.S. Supreme Court has released its March argument calendar for the 2019-2020 term. The court will hear 11 hours of oral argument in 14 cases between March 23 and April 1.

As of January 2020, the court had agreed to hear 73 cases and had issued decisions in four cases during its 2019-2020 term. Between 2007 and 2018, SCOTUS released opinions in 850 cases, averaging between 70 and 90 cases per year.

March 23, 2020
• United States v. Briggs (consolidated with United States v. Collins)
• United States Patent and Trademark Office v. B.V.

March 24, 2020
• Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc.
• FNU Tanzin v. Tanvir

March 25, 2020
• Carney v. Adams
• USAID v. Alliance for Open Society International

March 30, 2020
• Torres v. Madrid
• Pereida v. Barr

March 31, 2020
• Trump v. Mazars USA (consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG)
• Trump v. Vance

April 1, 2020
• Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru (consolidated with St. James School v. Biel)

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Democratic pageviews increase ahead of Iowa caucus; Delaney accumulated 62k pageviews by end of his campaign

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential campaigns on Ballotpedia. These numbers reflect the time investments of our community of thousands of readers who visit Ballotpedia because they think the candidate is worth knowing more about, whether they believe the candidate has a strong chance of winning or is an unknown who warrants a closer look.

Last week, Bernie Sanders led all Democratic campaigns in pageviews. His campaign page was viewed 3,411 times, equaling 15.8% of pageviews for all Democratic campaigns this week. He was followed by Michael Bloomberg with 13.5% of pageviews and Joe Biden with 13.1%.

All Democratic candidates received more pageviews this week relative to last week. The candidate with the greatest increase from last week was Deval Patrick. His campaign page increased in pageviews by 36.5%. Tom Steyer saw the smallest increase in pageviews relative to last week among Democratic candidates with 7.2%.

The top three Democratic presidential candidates in lifetime pageviews are Andrew Yang with 167,030, Pete Buttigieg with 156,598, and Biden with 151,530. John Delaney, who ended his presidential campaign last week, received 62,196 pageviews since February 2019.

Two of the other three Republican candidates led Donald Trump in pageviews. Trump received 3,069 pageviews, while Joe Walsh received 3,390, Roque de la Fuente received 3,281, and Bill Weld received 2,759.

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Senate rejects motion to allow witnesses in impeachment trial

On January 31, 2020, the U.S. Senate rejected a motion to allow witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by a vote of 51 to 49.

• All 47 Democrats and two independents (Sens. Angus King and Bernie Sanders) voted yes.
• 2 Republicans (Sens. Susan Collins and Mitt Romney) also voted yes.
• The other 51 Republicans voted no.

A final vote is expected on Wednesday to convict or acquit Trump of the impeachment charges.

The United States Congress has the constitutional authority to impeach and remove a federal official from office—including the president—if he or she has committed an impeachable offense. Impeaching and removing an official has two stages. First, articles of impeachment against the official must be passed by a majority vote of the U.S. House of Representatives. Then, a trial is conducted in the United States Senate potentially leading to the conviction and removal of the official.

In most impeachment trials, the vice president presides over the trial. However, in impeachment trials of the president, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presides. In order to remove the person from office, two-thirds of senators that are present to vote must vote to convict on the articles of impeachment.

Immigration judge union calls for independent immigration courts

The president of the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) on January 29 urged members of the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship to create independent immigration courts outside of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

“America needs an immigration court that is free from improper influence on the decisions of immigration judges,” said NAIJ President Ashley Tabbador. She argued that immigration courts lack independence from DOJ oversight, which results in outside pressure on IJ decision-making. Tabbador further claimed that the judicial role of immigration courts is “simply irreconcilable with the law enforcement mission and role” of the department.

Immigration judges (IJs) are a type of administrative judge (AJ) employed by DOJ to preside over special classes of administrative adjudication proceedings pertaining to immigration, including removal proceedings. Under the current structure, IJ decisions can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for review. BIA decisions can then be reviewed, modified, or overruled by the attorney general. Respondents can further appeal BIA decisions to the federal circuit courts.

The independence of IJs and other AJs from agency control is a topic of debate among administrative law scholars. AJs are hired directly by agencies and, unlike administrative law judges (ALJs), do not enjoy statutory protections from removal, discipline, and performance reviews. While some scholars argue that AJs maintain decisional independence from their employing agencies, others claim that the employee-employer relationship prevents impartial adjudication in violation of the Due Process Clause.

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