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Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 31-September 6, 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 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 numbers

Eight new candidates filed with the FEC since last week, including two Democrats, one Libertarian, and one Green. In total, 840 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Week

“While the ability to generate big crowds is certainly nice — it may signal enthusiasm among highly engaged voters or produce favorable media coverage — you should ignore any candidate, surrogate or media outlet that tells you that large crowd sizes mean that the polls are underestimating a candidate’s support. It’s just spin; polls are much more accurate at forecasting elections than crowd-size estimates, which don’t tell us all that much.

For every example like 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama’s huge crowds seemed to reflect real enthusiasm for his campaign, there is one like 2012, when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won his primary despite drawing noticeably small crowds on the campaign trail. Or take what happened in 2016. Despite a lot of hay being made about crowd sizes during the 2016 campaign, that cycle also was an argument against crowd sizes being predictive. Although now-President Trump did often draw large crowds at his primary rallies, Hillary Clinton reportedly beat him out for largest crowd of the 2016 campaign, 40,000 to 30,000. And at roughly this point in the Democratic primary in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders was outdrawing Clinton!”

 – Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight

Week in Review

Where Schultz and Sanford stand on 2020 runs

Howard Schultz announced Friday that he would not run for president as an independent.

“My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered, but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time,” he wrote in a statement.

Schultz added that the money he planned to spend on his campaign—a figure he previously put at $100 million—would be used “to invest in people, organizations and ideas that promote honesty, civility and results in our politics, and that move the country beyond two-party gridlock.”

Mark Sanford, who was expected to announce his presidential decision around Labor Day, deferred any statement until after Hurricane Dorian has passed.

He said in an interview with Fox News, “It would be something of a David and Goliath story. I mean it’s impossible at many different levels. It’d be a very steep climb. But you know that going in.”

2020 Democrats talk climate change for 7 hours

Ten candidates participated in a climate change town hall event spanning seven hours on CNN Wednesday evening: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

Most issued new climate change proposals in advance: 

  • Booker released a $3 trillion climate change platform, which would include investments to advance environmental justice, a transition to a carbon-neutral economy by no later than 2045, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, and a $400 billion investment to create a clean energy workforce.
  • Buttigieg proposed three pillars in his $1.1 trillion climate change proposal: building a clean economy, investing in disaster relief and prevention, and promoting America’s international role in combating climate change.
  • Castro wrote in his “People and Planet First” environmental plan, “Together, we will direct $10 trillion in federal, state, local, and private investments over the next decade to create ten million good paying jobs, transition away from fossil fuels, build a 100 percent clean-energy economy, and lead the world in the 21st century.”
  • Harris’ $10 trillion climate plan included promoting environmental justice, ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, implementing a progressive fee on carbon pollution, and creating a clean energy economy by 2045.
  • Klobuchar’s climate plan included the goals of 100% net zero emissions by 2050, participating in the Paris Climate Agreement, and restoring the Clean Power Plan. 
  • Warren announced that she was endorsing and adopting Jay Inslee’s climate plan. Her climate proposal would also commit an additional $1 trillion over 10 years to subsidize the transition to a clean energy economy.

Mark your calendars for the fall debates

The third Democratic primary debate is Thursday, Sept. 12. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren will share the debate stage for the first time, along with Cory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang.

The Democratic National also announced that the fourth Democratic presidential primary debate will be held Oct. 15-16, 2019, in Ohio.

Since the criteria for the third and fourth debate are the same, the September debaters have already qualified.

Among the rest of the Democratic field, Tulsi GabbardTom Steyer, and Marianne Williamson are the  closest to qualifying, having already passed the fundraising threshold of 130,000 unique donors. Steyer needs one more eligible poll showing 2 percent support, Gabbard two, and Williamson three by Oct. 1.

Bill de Blasio said he could drop out of the presidential race if he did not qualify for the fourth debate.

AZ, KS, NV, and SC Republican primaries may be canceled

The Republican parties in ArizonaKansasNevada, and  South Carolina are expected to cancel their presidential primaries this weekend.

Pro-cancellation party members, including Donald Trump campaign officials, say that it’s not uncommon when an incumbent president is seeking reelection and that it reduces costs.

Joe Walsh responded, “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”

Bill Weld also criticized the planned cancellations, saying, “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

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

Erin Wilson is a Democratic staffer with extensive experience in Pennsylvania politics. Wilson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science and government in 2005.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Pennsylvania deputy state director
  • 2008 Bob Roggio (D-Penn.) U.S. House campaign, senior advisor
  • 2006 Bob Casey (D-Penn.) U.S. Senate campaign, deputy political director
  • 2004 Joe Hoeffel (D-Penn.) U.S. Senate campaign, political coordinator

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: Office of Sen. Bob Casey, state director
  • 2014-2016: Democratic National Committee, Northeast political director
  • 2007-2014: Office of Sen. Bob Casey
    • 2011-2014: Deputy state director
    • 2009-2011: Director of outreach and special projects
    • 2007-2009: Regional representative
  • 2005-2006: Office of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.), assistant to the first lady
  • 2002-2004: Rock the Vote, Philadelphia street team leader

What We’re Reading

Flashback: September 3-6, 2015

  • September 3, 2015: Donald Trump signed a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee. Jeb Bush said he would support Trump if he became the Republican nominee. 
  • September 4, 2015: Hillary Clinton apologized for her private email server use in her third nationally televised interview as a 2016 presidential candidate.
  • September 5, 2015: NBC News reported on the Draft Biden initiative’s efforts in Iowa.
  • September 6, 2015: After reaching a $1 million crowdfunding goal, Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig said that he was running for president.

Trivia

Which of the following presidential candidates did not carry any state by a margin larger than 90%?

  1. Andrew Jackson→
  2. Woodrow Wilson→
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt→
  4. Dwight Eisenhower→


Voters in Cary, North Carolina, must register by Friday the 13th to vote on two bond measures on October 8

Cary, North Carolina will head to the polls on Tuesday, October 8, for the mayoral and town council election. Voters will also decide two bond issues.
 
The first measure would authorize the town to issue $112 million in bonds to fund the expansion of existing parks and recreation facilities, as well as, construct and acquire new parks and recreation facilities. The town of Cary currently has more than 30 public parks, seven special use facilities, four sports venues, and nine staffed facilities.
 
The second measure would authorize the town to issue $113 million in bonds to fund improvements in local transportation. Proposed improvements include streets, sidewalks, bridges, overpasses, traffic controls, streetscape, and bicycle facilities. The bonds would also be used to acquire equipment and land necessary for the improvements.
 
In their annual budget discussion on May 9, 2019, the Cary Town Council decided that bond issues would not exceed a total of $225 million. The most recent approved bond issues were in 2012 and were used to fund fire, transportation, and park projects. The town reported that these projects are in progress or complete.
 
The deadline to register to vote in the October 8 election is Friday, September 13. Although the registration deadline is September 13, one-stop-voting, including same-day registration, is available during the early voting period. Early voting for this election begins September 18 and ends October 4. Voters can request a mail-in ballot through Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
 
During the 2019 election cycle, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes North Carolina elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages; nine school districts; and 17 special districts. Voters in many of these local jurisdictions will be voting in primaries or general elections on September 10 and October 8.
 


Biden and Warren will share debate stage for the first time Sept. 12

Ten candidates will meet on stage for the third Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 12, 2019.
 
The following candidates will participate:
 
• Joe Biden
• Cory Booker
• Pete Buttigieg
• Julián Castro
• Kamala Harris
• Amy Klobuchar
• Beto O’Rourke
• Bernie Sanders
• Elizabeth Warren
• Andrew Yang
 
ABC News and Univision are hosting the debate, which will take place at Texas Southern University. Linsey Davis, David Muir, Jorge Ramos, and George Stephanopoulos will moderate the event. Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals.
 
The 10 Democratic candidates who did not qualify will have another shot at the fall debates with the same qualifying criteria next month.
 
Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, and Marianne Williamson are the closest to qualifying, having already passed the fundraising threshold of 130,000 unique donors. Steyer needs one more eligible poll showing 2 percent support, Gabbard two, and Williamson three.
 
The Democratic National Committee announced this week that the fourth primary debate will take place in Ohio on Oct. 15-16, 2019.


Schultz decides against independent 2020 run

 

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News BriefingSeptember 6, 2019: Howard Schultz announced Friday that he would not run for president. South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas are expected to cancel their presidential primaries.

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

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Erin Wilson

Erin Wilson is a Democratic staffer with extensive experience in Pennsylvania politics. Wilson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science and government in 2005.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Pennsylvania deputy state director
  • 2008 Bob Roggio (D-Penn.) U.S. House campaign, senior advisor
  • 2006 Bob Casey (D-Penn.) U.S. Senate campaign, deputy political director
  • 2004 Joe Hoeffel (D-Penn.) U.S. Senate campaign, political coordinator

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: Office of Sen. Bob Casey, state director
  • 2014-2016: Democratic National Committee, Northeast political director
  • 2007-2014: Office of Sen. Bob Casey
    • 2011-2014: Deputy state director
    • 2009-2011: Director of outreach and special projects
    • 2007-2009: Regional representative
  • 2005-2006: Office of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.), assistant to the first lady
  • 2002-2004: Rock the Vote, Philadelphia street team leader

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Notable Quote of the Day

“While the ability to generate big crowds is certainly nice — it may signal enthusiasm among highly engaged voters or produce favorable media coverage — you should ignore any candidate, surrogate or media outlet that tells you that large crowd sizes mean that the polls are underestimating a candidate’s support. It’s just spin; polls are much more accurate at forecasting elections than crowd-size estimates, which don’t tell us all that much.

For every example like 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama’s huge crowds seemed to reflect real enthusiasm for his campaign, there is one like 2012, when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won his primary despite drawing noticeably small crowds on the campaign trail. Or take what happened in 2016. Despite a lot of hay being made about crowd sizes during the 2016 campaign, that cycle also was an argument against crowd sizes being predictive. Although now-President Trump did often draw large crowds at his primary rallies, Hillary Clinton reportedly beat him out for largest crowd of the 2016 campaign, 40,000 to 30,000. And at roughly this point in the Democratic primary in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders was outdrawing Clinton!”

 – Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight

Democrats

  • Nineteen Democratic candidates—all but Wayne Messam—are expected to appear at the New Hampshire Democratic Convention over the weekend. 
  • The Human Rights Campaign Foundation will host a presidential town hall on CNN about LGBT issues on Oct. 10. Joe BidenPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisAmy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren are set to attend. Other presidential candidates may join the event in the coming weeks.
  • Michael Bennet will campaign in Massachusetts Friday and New Hampshire Saturday.
  • Biden will make his first visit to Alabama as a presidential candidate on Sunday. Politico profiled his southern state strategy and the importance of South Carolina to his campaign.
  • In an interview on Tucker Carlson TonightBill de Blasio discussed his mayoral experience, automation, and gun buyback programs.
  • BuzzFeed News profiled Cory Booker in an article titled, “Will Cory Booker’s America Rise?”
  • Buttigieg spoke about Afghanistan, his Episcopalian faith, and climate change on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday night. Buttigieg made his first television ad buy of the campaign, spending $87,000 in Iowa markets.
  • John Delaney issued his digital privacy and technology platform on Thursday, which includes federal legislation modeled after the California Consumer Privacy Act, protections for consumers who opt out of data collection, and a requirement that companies obtain informed consent before recording and storing private conversations through communication devices. 
  • Tulsi Gabbard spoke at the “Politics & Eggs” series in New Hampshire on Thursday. She will remain in the state through Saturday.
  • Bernie Sanders will speak at Iowa State University Sunday as part of his college tailgate tour.
  • Joe Sestak discussed his campaign strategy in an interview on CBS News Thursday.
  • In an interview with CNBC, Tom Steyer discussed why he did not believe his wealth should disqualify him in the Democratic primary.
  • Andrew Yang said he would not run as a third-party candidate if he lost the Democratic nomination because it would increase Trump’s chances of winning.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale will headline the California Republican Convention.
  • Joe Walsh responded to reports that Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas were expected to cancel their presidential primaries. He said, “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”
  • Bill Weld also criticized the planned cancellations, saying, “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”
  • South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick defended the plan, saying, “As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary.”

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Howard Schultz announced Friday that he would not run for president. “My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered, but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time,” he wrote in a statement.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: September 6, 2015

After reaching a $1 million crowdfunding goal, Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig said that he was running for president.

 



Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) announced that she would not seek re-election in 2020. She was first elected to represent California’s 53rd Congressional District in 2000, and she won re-election in 2018 by a margin of 38 points. In a statement announcing her retirement, she said she had “a desire to live and work ‘at home’ in San Diego.”
 
As of Thursday, Davis is the fourth Democratic member of the U.S. House to announce they would not be seeking re-election in 2020, joining Jose Serrano (NY-15), Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3), and Dave Loebsack (IA-2). There are also 14 Republican members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 235-197 majority in the U.S. House. There is also one independent member and two vacant seats in the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election. Ballotpedia has identified 71 U.S. House races as general election battlegrounds. Of the 71 seats, 43 are held by Democrats and 28 are held by Republicans heading into the election.
 
Additional reading:
 


El Paso City Council votes 4-3 to hold November special election

On September 3, the El Paso City Council in Texas voted to hold a special election for the council’s District 3 seat. The election is scheduled for November 5, and the candidate filing deadline is on September 26.
 
The special election was called due to Texas’ resign-to-run law, which requires officeholders to resign from their current office in order to run for another. A post saying, “Cassandra Hernandez for mayor of El Paso,” was posted to Cassandra Hernandez-Brown’s public Facebook page in September 2019. Hernandez-Brown said she did not upload the post, but she said one of her supporters did. The post was later deleted. Hernandez-Brown asked her fellow city council members to vote against the resolution calling for a special election, but it passed with a 4-3 vote. Hernandez-Brown was not allowed to vote on the resolution.
 
Hernandez-Brown will remain the District 3 representative on the council until the new member is elected due to a holdover clause in the law. Because of that clause, she is not able to run in the special election, according to District 6 member Claudia Ordaz Perez. Hernandez-Brown was first elected to the city council on June 10, 2017. El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
Five states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas—have resign-to-run laws.
 


Ducey picks Bill Montgomery for Arizona Supreme Court

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed Bill Montgomery (R) to the Arizona Supreme Court on September 4, 2019. Montgomery replaces former Chief Justice Scott Bales, who retired on July 31, 2019. Montgomery was Ducey’s fifth appointment to the seven-member court.
 
Before being appointed to the state Supreme Court, Montgomery was Maricopa County Attorney. He was first elected to the position in a 2010 special election and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. Montgomery also previously served as Deputy County Attorney and was a prosecutor before holding elected office. Montgomery earned his bachelor’s from West Point and his J.D. from the Arizona State University College of Law. He is a veteran of the Gulf War.
 
Including Montgomery, all seven members of the Arizona Supreme Court have been appointed by Republican governors Jan Brewer or Ducey.
 
In 2019, there have been 18 supreme court vacancies across 12 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Of those 18 vacancies, 12 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Five vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies, while another occurred in a state where a Republican-controlled legislature appoints replacements.


NC-03 and NC-09 special elections set for September 10: A look at early voting so far

Special elections will take place in North Carolina’s 3rd and 9th Congressional Districts on Tuesday, September 10. These are the final two of three special U.S. House elections in 2019. Early voting began August 21 and was scheduled to end September 6, although many polling locations have been closed due to Hurricane Dorian. Here’s a look at each race and the early voting numbers so far.
 
NC-09
 
Dan Bishop (R), Dan McCready (D), Jeff Scott (L), and Allen Smith (G) are running in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District. The election was called after the state board of elections did not certify the results from the 2018 race following an investigation into allegations of absentee ballot fraud.
 
As of September 3—the 14th day of the 17-day early voting stretch— 54,372 ballots had been accepted, including mail-in absentee and in-person early ballots. That’s half of the total that had been accepted on the 14th day of early voting in the district during the 2018 election. Michael Bitzer, professor of politics and history at Catawba College, attributes part of the discrepancy to the Labor Day holiday. In 2018, 156,935 absentee and early ballots were counted.
 
Bishop, a state senator, says he has a conservative record in the state legislature and has sought to connect McCready with Democrats in Congress such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, who Bishop calls radical socialists. McCready says he’d seek bipartisan legislation on healthcare, education, and taxes in the House. He has campaigned on his plan to lower prescription drug prices and criticized Bishop’s voting record on the issue.
 
In 2018, Republican candidate Mark Harris was 905 votes ahead of McCready, who also ran last year, in the unofficial vote count. Three polls for the special election have shown Bishop and McCready tied within margins of error. Donald Trump (R) won the district by 12 points in the 2016 presidential election.
 
The special election has drawn endorsements from prominent national figures and $8 million in ad spending from satellite groups, including $2.6 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and $1.2 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have campaigned for Bishop in the state, and former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed McCready.
 
NC-03
 
Greg Murphy (R), Allen Thomas (D), Tim Harris (L), and Greg Holt (Constitution Party) are running in the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd District. The special election was called after former incumbent Rep. Walter Jones (R) died earlier this year. Jones first took office in 1995.
 
As of August 28, 2019, 14,349 ballots had been cast, including mail-in absentee and in-person early ballots. In the November 6, 2018, uncontested election for the same seat, 94,458 total early and absentee ballots were counted.
 
Murphy has campaigned on his support of President Trump and has described himself as a consistent conservative. He has highlighted his work as a doctor and state legislator. Thomas has emphasized economic development, small-town revitalization, and improving access to healthcare in his campaign.
 
In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the district with 61 percent of the vote.
 
 


Bill Flores announces 2020 retirement

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020. He was first elected to represent Texas’ 17th Congressional District in 2010, and he won re-election in 2018 by more than 15 points. In a statement announcing his retirement, he cited a desire to spend more time with his family.
 
Flores is the 13th Republican member of the U.S. House and the fifth representative from Texas to announce he would not be seeking re-election in 2020. There are also three Democratic members of the U.S. House to announce 2020 retirements so far.
 
Currently, Democrats hold a 235-197 majority in the U.S. House. There is also one independent member and two vacant seats in the chamber. In November 2020, all 435 seats will be up for election. Ballotpedia has identified 71 U.S. House races as general election battlegrounds. Of the 71 seats, 43 are held by Democrats and 28 are held by Republicans heading into the election.
 
Additional reading:


Nashville to elect mayor on September 12

The runoff election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, takes place September 12. Incumbent Mayor David Briley and At-large Metro Councilmember John Cooper advanced from the August 1 general election, with Cooper receiving 35 percent of the vote to Briley’s 25 percent. Early voting for the runoff runs from August 23 through September 7.
 
A mayor of Nashville’s Metro government (formed in 1963) has never lost a re-election bid. Briley was the first incumbent to not receive the highest share of the vote in a general election. Briley assumed the office upon the resignation of Mayor Megan Barry in March 2018. He won the special election on May 24, 2018, to complete Barry’s term.
 
Briley has campaigned on what he says are his progressive credentials and his accomplishments since taking office in 2018, including an affordable housing plan and a new scholarship fund. He has criticized Cooper as being conservative and for sponsoring a budget in the council that Briley says harmed the city.
 
Cooper has emphasized fiscal stewardship in his campaign, criticizing Briley’s support for funding affordable housing with municipal bonds and privatizing the city’s parking meters. He says the city needs to invest more in neighborhoods instead of downtown and has called his focus on the city’s finances effective progressivism.
 
Nashville was the 25th largest city in the U.S. as of 2013. Among the 100 largest cities, there are 62 Democratic mayors, 30 Republicans, four independents, and four nonpartisans. Briley is a Democrat. Cooper’s affiliation is unknown.