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Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 17-23, 2019

 Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the events that matter in the 2020 presidential election. 

Now, we’re bringing you the highlights from our daily briefings in a new weekly format so you can stay up-to-date on the 2020 election with one weekly email.   

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Candidates by the Number 

There are seven new candidates running since last week, including one Democrat, two Republicans, and one Libertarian. In total, 823 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quotes of the Week
“There’s a fundamental values gap between the mainstream Democratic Party, which tends to be more socially liberal and cosmopolitan in its outlook, and rural and small-town voters. Unless a candidate can build bridges across that gap on the basis of values, it’s very difficult to make any policy proposal matter.

Right now, no one is building those bridges … [but] if you can move rural voters, even a few points, it becomes possible to win in states you can’t otherwise win.”

– Mark Mellman, Democratic pollster

“If our economic growth falters, the president will blame the Federal Reserve Board for its bungling of interest rates, and he’ll claim that he bravely jeopardized his reelection bid by taking on the Chinese – something that had to be done. He will be right on both counts and he will be forgiven by his supporters.”

– Liz Peek, Fox News

“A recession between now and the 2020 election would likely put a dagger in the heart of President Trump’s reelection chances. The president has argued that the currently low unemployment and high stock prices are the product of his economic policies. If unemployment rises and stock prices fall, as they would in a recession, it is hard to see how he won’t own these failures in the minds of voters.

Not that he won’t try to pin the economy’s problems on others, most notably the Federal Reserve and the conduct of monetary policy, but I doubt most voters will be duped.”

– Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics

Week in Review

Inslee and Moulton end 2020 bids, 21 Democrats remain

Jay Inslee and Seth Moulton suspended their presidential campaigns this week.

Inslee entered the race with climate change as his top priority. “Many of the campaigns started with little attention to climate, but since our campaign began, we’ve seen almost every serious candidate put out a climate plan; we’ve seen climate come up in both debates; and we now have two networks hosting nationally-televised climate forums in September,” he said.

Inslee will run for a third term as governor of Washington.

In an interview with The New York Times Friday, Moulton said, “I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren, and Sanders, and really it’s a debate about how far left the party should go.”

Inslee and Moulton are the fifth and six elected officials or notable public figures—after Richard Ojeda, Eric Swalwell, Mike Gravel, and John Hickenlooper—to exit the Democratic presidential primary. 

Other low-polling candidates have been asked about the future of their campaigns this week. Kirsten Gillibrand said she was open to running for vice president if her campaign did not succeed. “I will do public service in all its forms,” she said.

John Delaney did not rule out a possible gubernatorial run in Maryland. “I’ve always believed in the Lincoln expression, which is, ‘You can only paddle to the next bend in the river.’ And so, I’m just paddling towards this bend,” Delaney said Thursday.

Castro becomes 10th candidate to qualify for the September and October primary debates

Julián Castro became the 10th candidate to qualify for the September and October presidential primary debates.

Unlike the first two debates this summer, candidates must reach both a grassroots fundraising threshold and a polling threshold. They need 130,000 unique contributors with 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. Candidates also need to receive 2 percent support or more in four national or early-state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada—publicly released between June 28 and Aug. 28.

The following nine candidates also reached both thresholds: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

Three candidates have crossed the fundraising bar only: Tulsi GabbardTom Steyer, and Marianne Williamson. To make the stage, Steyer needs one more qualifying poll and Gabbard two. Williamson does not have a single qualifying polling.

The debate will take place in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 12-13, 2019, with the second night scheduled if the field exceeds 10 participants.  If more than 10 candidates qualify, a selection event will take place on Aug. 29, and the candidates will be randomly distributed across both nights.

ABC News announced this week that George Stephonapolus, David Muir, Jorge Ramos, and Linsey Davis will moderate the debate. Texas Southern University will host the event.

Candidates congregate in Iowa and California this week

Several multi-candidate forums were held this week, beginning with the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City, Iowa.

More than a dozen candidates also spoke at the Iowa Federation of Labor’s annual convention in Altoona Wednesday.

This weekend, Michael BennetCory BookerJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharTim RyanBernie SandersJoe SestakTom SteyerElizabeth WarrenMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang are attending the summer meetingof the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

Trump on the trail

Donald Trump confirmed Sunday that he would keep Mike Pence as his running mate in 2020.

While he did not hold any campaign rallies this week, Trump headlined a fundraiser for Matt Bevin’s gubernatorial reelection campaign in Kentucky Wednesday.

The Trump campaign also announced its Iowa leadership team Thursday with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Chuck Grassley as honorary state chairs, Carly Miller as state director, and Stephanie Alexander as regional political director. 

Republican primary could soon get another contender

Conservative radio show host and former Rep. Joe Walsh is considering entering the Republican primary.

“If I’m to do it, it’s going to happen soon,” Walsh said Wednesday. “I think if there is an alternative out there, the money will follow.”

“While Walsh would not confirm he would enter the primary, two sources who spoke to him said he was privately confirming he would announce his presidential bid this weekend,” Politico reported.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

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

Heather Hargreaves is a staffer with experience managing the NextGen America issue group, which Steyer founded. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics and political science in 2003.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, field organizer and Campaign for Change Nevada director
  • 2006 Steve Westly California gubernatorial campaign, field director

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: NextGen America, executive vice president and executive director
  • 2015-2017: NextGen Climate, national advocacy director and national program vice president
  • 2010-2015: Mercury Public Affairs, vice president
  • 2009-2010: Alliance for Climate Protection, deputy field director

What she says about Steyer:

“Tom is the only candidate with the experience to call out Trump as a fraud, beat him on the economy, and start putting the American people before corporations.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 19-23, 2015

August 19, 2015: Martin O’Malley held a press conference in front of Trump International Hotel Las Vegas on labor issues and the 2016 election.

August 20, 2015: TIME published its cover story interview with Donald Trump about presidential temperament, immigration, tax policy, and other issues.

August 21, 2015: Donald Trump held a rally in Mobile, Alabama, attended by an estimated 20,000 people.

August 22, 2015: The Kentucky Republican Party approved holding a presidential caucus rather than primary, which would allow Rand Paul to simultaneously run for president and U.S. Senate.

August 23, 2015: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective party’s Cast Your Kernel poll at the Iowa State Fair.

Trivia

Since 1824, how many winning presidential candidates have lost their home state?



Moulton ends 2020 presidential campaign

 

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 23, 2019: Seth Moulton becomes sixth notable Democrat to suspend his presidential campaign. More than a dozen 2020 Democrats are in California for the party’s summer meeting. Bernie Sanders released a $16.3 trillion climate change plan.
  

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

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Heather Hargreaves

Heather Hargreaves is a staffer with experience managing the NextGen America issue group, which Steyer founded. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics and political science in 2003.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, field organizer and Campaign for Change Nevada director
  • 2006 Steve Westly California gubernatorial campaign, field director

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: NextGen America, executive vice president and executive director
  • 2015-2017: NextGen Climate, national advocacy director and national program vice president
  • 2010-2015: Mercury Public Affairs, vice president
  • 2009-2010: Alliance for Climate Protection, deputy field director

What she says about Steyer:

“Tom is the only candidate with the experience to call out Trump as a fraud, beat him on the economy, and start putting the American people before corporations.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“Governors’ mansions are no longer an obvious stepping stone to the White House. Modern presidential campaigns require name ID, a broad donor base and national platform — none of which you get by being a successful small state governor. Governors have executive experience and outsider credentials that look great on paper, but it’s really hard to translate that into nationwide support in modern politics.”

– Alex Conant, Republican strategist

Democrats

Republicans

  • The Donald Trump campaign announced its Iowa leadership team Thursday with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Chuck Grassley as honorary state chairs, Carly Miller as state director, and Stephanie Alexander as regional political director. 

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective party’s Cast Your Kernel poll at the Iowa State Fair.

 



Inslee suspends presidential campaign

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 22, 2019: Jay Inslee suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday night. Joe Walsh is considering entering the Republican primary this weekend.


Poll Highlights 

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll One (August 16-19, 2019)

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll Two (August 14-16, 2019)

Notable Quotes of the Day

“If our economic growth falters, the president will blame the Federal Reserve Board for its bungling of interest rates, and he’ll claim that he bravely jeopardized his reelection bid by taking on the Chinese – something that had to be done. He will be right on both counts and he will be forgiven by his supporters.”

– Liz Peek, Fox News

“A recession between now and the 2020 election would likely put a dagger in the heart of President Trump’s reelection chances. The president has argued that the currently low unemployment and high stock prices are the product of his economic policies. If unemployment rises and stock prices fall, as they would in a recession, it is hard to see how he won’t own these failures in the minds of voters.

Not that he won’t try to pin the economy’s problems on others, most notably the Federal Reserve and the conduct of monetary policy, but I doubt most voters will be duped.”

– Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics

Democrats

  • ABC News announced the details of its upcoming presidential primary debate on September 12-13, 2019. George Stephonapolus, David Muir, Jorge Ramos, and Linsey Davis will moderate the debate. If more than 10 candidates qualify, a selection event will be held on Aug. 29 and the candidates will be randomly distributed across both nights. Texas Southern University will host the event.

  • Michael Bennet proposed spending $500 billion over a decade on apprenticeship and skills training programs for workers without college degrees.

  • Joe Biden posted a new digital ad about the Trump administration’s gun regulation policy, which ends with the written text, “Joe Biden has beat the NRA twice. And will do it again.” 

  • Cory Booker discussed trans issues and his nonbinary relative in an interview with the National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund. He also traveled to Los Angeles Wednesday for a grassroots fundraising event. 

  • Steve Bullock attended the Jeremy Bullock Safe Schools Summit Tuesday and spoke about gun safety Wednesday on MSNBC.

  • Pete Buttigieg is campaigning Thursday in Portland, Maine.

  • Julián Castro proposed doubling investment in wind power, spending $10 billion annually in renewable technology export promotion, and creating a $200 billion fund to invest in climate infrastructure.

  • Kamala Harris will attend a fundraiser in Los Angeles Thursday. She also expanded her California staff, bringing on seven new hires.

  • Jay Inslee suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday night, making the announcement on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

  • Amy Klobuchar will be in the Twin Cities for the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair Thursday.

  • Beto O’Rourke toured the Veterans Community Project, a village of tiny houses for homeless veterans in Kansas City, Wednesday.

  • Bernie Sanders released a union policy proposal that would end “right to work” laws and ban the replacement of striking workers.

  • Elizabeth Warren held a town hall in Los Angeles Wednesday.

  • Marianne Williamson discussed her faith and previous statements about illness and disease and how spirituality informs the political climate on The Argument, a podcast from The New York Times.

Republicans

  • In an interview on Hacks on Tap, Anthony Scaramucci said he was forming a super PAC to air ads targeting Donald Trump.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Conservative radio show host and former Rep. Joe Walsh is considering entering the Republican primary and could make an announcement as early as this weekend.

Flashback: August 22, 2015

The Kentucky Republican Party approved holding a presidential caucus rather than primary, which would allow Rand Paul to simultaneously run for president and U.S. Senate.blank

 



Trump campaigns for Bevin in Kentucky gubernatorial race

Last night, President Donald Trump (R) headlined a fundraiser in Louisville for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) re-election campaign. He also spoke at the American Veterans convention earlier in the day, where he told an audience, “We’ll get [Bevin and Sen. Mitch McConnell] both back in.”
 
Bevin, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), and John Hicks (L) are running in the the state’s gubernatorial general election on November 5. The race will decide the state’s trifecta status until at least the 2020 state legislative elections. If Bevin wins, Republicans will maintain their trifecta control of the state, while a Beshear or Hicks victory would result in neither party having trifecta control.
 
A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. As of August 2019, there were 22 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 14 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control.


St. Petersburg City Council primary scheduled for August 27

The city of St. Petersburg, Florida, is holding nonpartisan primaries on August 27 for Districts 3, 5, and 7 on the city council. The general election is scheduled for November 5, 2019. The candidate filing deadline passed on June 21, 2019.
 
District 3 incumbent Ed Montanari faces challenges from Orlando A. Acosta and Zachary James Collins. District 7 incumbent Lisa Wheeler-Bowman is running for re-election against Eritha Brandis Cainion, Chico Cromartie, and Sarah Elizabeth Moore.
 
District 1 incumbent Charlie Gerdes and District 5 incumbent Steve Kornell are both unable to run for re-election due to term limits. The District 1 race will not appear on the primary ballot. The two candidates who filed, Robert Blackmon and John Hornbeck, will both advance directly to the general election on November 5. In District 5, six candidates are competing for the open seat in the August 27 primary.
 
The St. Petersburg City Council is made up of eight members, each of whom is elected by one of the city’s eight districts. Council members serve four-year terms. St. Petersburg is the fifth-largest city in Florida and the 77th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


Castro becomes 10th candidate to qualify for September and October presidential primary debates, Steyer and Gabbard on the bubble

Julián Castro became the 10th candidate to qualify for the September and October presidential primary debates Tuesday.
 
Unlike the first two debates this summer, candidates must reach both a grassroots fundraising threshold and a polling threshold. They need 130,000 unique contributors with 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. Candidates also need to receive 2 percent support or more in four national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada—publicly released between June 28, 2019, and August 28, 2019.
 
In addition to Castro, the following nine candidates have reached both thresholds: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.
 
Four candidates have crossed the fundraising bar only: Jay Inslee, Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, and Marianne Williamson. To make the stage, Steyer needs one more qualifying poll and Gabbard two. Neither Inslee nor Williamson has a single qualifying polling.
 
The next debate is scheduled on September 12-13, 2019, in Houston, Texas. Candidates have one more week to qualify.
 


Early voting begins in NC-09 special election

A special election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District will be held on September 10, 2019, and early voting began Wednesday. Voters will be able to cast early ballots until September 6.
 
The state board of elections called a new election following allegations of absentee ballot fraud in the 2018 race. Dan Bishop (R), Dan McCready (D), Jeff Scott (L), and Allen Smith (G) are running for the U.S. House seat. Unofficial returns from the 2018 election showed Mark Harris (R) leading McCready, who was also the Democratic candidate in 2018, by 905 votes.
 
Bishop describes himself as a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-wall conservative. He says McCready would fall in line with Democrats in Congress such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who Bishop calls radical socialists. McCready says he’d seek bipartisan legislation on healthcare, education, and taxes in the House. He emphasizes his plan to lower prescription drug prices while criticizing Bishop’s voting record on the issue.
 
The race has seen satellite spending from a number of groups, including the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The NRCC has released three ads opposing McCready; the group had reserved $2.6 million in airtime as of July 31. The DCCC spent $626,000 on an ad opposing Bishop that began airing August 16. The group also announced spending more than $2 million on nonadvertising efforts, such as increasing voter turnout among African Americans and members of the Lumbee tribe in the district.
 
Other groups spending and advertising in the district include Club for Growth, Congressional Leadership Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, and House Majority Forward.


Early voting begins in NC-03 special election

The special election for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District will be held on September 10, 2019. Early voting began on Wednesday, August 21, and will continue through September 6. The district’s former incumbent, Rep. Walter Jones (R), died earlier this year. Greg Murphy (R), Allen Thomas (D), Tim Harris (L), and Greg Holt (Constitution Party) are running for the seat.
 
Murphy, who defeated Joan Perry in the Republican primary runoff on July 9, has campaigned on his support of President Donald Trump (R) and has described himself as a consistent conservative. He has highlighted his work as a doctor and state legislator.
 
Thomas won the April 30 Democratic primary and has emphasized economic development, small-town revitalization, and improving access to healthcare.
 
The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+12, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were 12 percentage points more Republican than the national average. This made North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District the 108th-most Republican nationally.
 


RNC outraises DNC by more than two-to-one for a fourth month, DSCC outraises NRSC for first time this year

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised its Democratic counterpart by more than two-to-one for the fourth consecutive month in July. At the same time, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) outraised its Republican counterpart for the first time this year, according to campaign finance reports filed with the FEC.
 
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $4.8 million and spent $2.6 million, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $4.3 million and spent $5.2 million. This is the first time the DSCC has outraised the NRSC during the 2020 cycle. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 16.6% more than the DSCC ($38.9 million to $33.0 million). The NRSC’s fundraising advantage narrowed since the last campaign finance reports when it had raised 20.5% more.
 
On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $7.3 million and spent $4.0 million last month, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $4.1 million and spent $5.4 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the DCCC has raised 34.6% more than the NRCC ($69.0 million to $48.6 million). The DCCC’s fundraising advantage has widened since the last campaign finance reports, when it had raised 32.3% more.
 
At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although they had a smaller advantage in House fundraising than this cycle. The DSCC had raised 7.2% more than the NRSC ($32.2 million to $30.0 million), while the DCCC had raised 3.6% more than the NRCC ($66.2 million to $63.9 million).
 
The Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $20.8 million last month and spent $17.7 million while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $7.7 million and spent $7.9 million. The RNC’s fundraising figure is its largest this year. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 80.0% more than the DNC ($117.9 million to $50.5 million). The RNC’s fundraising advantage has widened relative to the last fundraising reports, when it had raised 77.5% more.
 
At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential election cycle) the RNC had a smaller 53.5% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($63.1 million to $36.5 million).
 
So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 29.6% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($205.5 million to $152.5 million).
 


Ninth Circuit panel limits nationwide injunction of Trump administration immigration rule

On August 16, a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a federal district court went too far when it granted a nationwide injunction against a new federal immigration rule.
 
What happened?
 
The Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction, which blocks enforcement of a rule, within the bounds of the Ninth Circuit (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) but held that the nationwide scope of the injunction was not supported by the record. The panel said that the district court did not explain why it believed a nationwide injunction was necessary in this case.
 
How did we get here?
 
On July 24, 2019, Judge Jon Tigar, on United States District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a nationwide injunction to block a Trump administration rule while court challenges to the rule move forward.
 
The interim final rule, issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on July 16, aims to deny asylum to people who travel through another country and fail to file for asylum there before applying in the United States.
 
The agencies argued that immigration enforcement challenges on the southern border allowed them to issue the new asylum rule under the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) good cause exception to notice-and-comment procedures. The good cause exception allows agencies to issue rules without waiting for public comment if those procedures would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” The agencies also argued that they could skip notice-and-comment procedures because the rule involved a “foreign affairs function of the United States” and procedural delay could have negative international consequences.
 
Judge Tigar argued that the agencies did not show that a public comment period would have undesirable international consequences and that the rule fails the arbitrary-or-capricious test. Under that test, judges invalidate rules that are an abuse of discretion or not in accordance with law.
 
What happens next?
 
The Ninth Circuit panel asked the district court to reconsider the reasons supporting a nationwide injunction and scheduled future arguments in the case for December 2019.