Tag2020 presidential coverage

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) wins Wisconsin

As of Nov. 4, former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the presidential election in Wisconsin. As of 4:00 p.m. E.T., 99% of the popular vote had been tabulated in the state, with Biden receiving 49.4% of the vote and former President Donald Trump (R) receiving 48.8% of the vote. Wisconsin is worth 10 electoral votes.

In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin with 47.2% of the vote, beating Hillary Clinton (D) by a margin of .7%.

Wisconsin favored Democratic presidential candidates in the four elections between 2000 and 2012, then voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2016. Between 1900 and 2016, Wisconsin supported Republicans candidates in 50 percent of presidential elections and Democratic candidates in 47 percent.

There were 23 counties in Wisconsin that voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. These counties accounted for 17.35% of Wisconsin’s population.

Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 30, 2020

This week we discuss early voting, the Supreme Court’s ruling on ballot deadlines, and compare the candidates’ stances on Social Security.

Share the latest from the campaign trail.


Presidential Race Ratings

Inside Elections updated its race ratings on October 28, 2020:

  • Texas moved from Tilt Republican to Toss Up.
  • Georgia and North Carolina moved from Toss Up to Tilt Democratic.

The Cook Political Report updated its race ratings on October 28, 2020:

  • Texas moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“For Mr. Biden, an all-in strategy could carry risks.

Mrs. Clinton was criticized for not visiting Wisconsin in the general election, even as she campaigned during the final days of the race in Arizona, which Mr. Trump ended up winning. Some of her former aides later acknowledged they put too many resources in states that wound up not being competitive.

Mr. Trump’s team during the current campaign has frequently pointed to polling in 2016 that showed Mrs. Clinton leading in the final weeks and has noted that Mr. Trump was significantly outspent.”

– Sabrina Siddiqui and Ken ThomasThe Wall Street Journal

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

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

– David Winston, adviser to congressional Republicans

Week in Review

Trump on the campaign trail • On Monday, Trump held three rallies in Pennsylvania.• On Tuesday, Trump campaigned in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.• On Wednesday, Trump held two rallies in Arizona.• On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Tampa.• On Friday, Trump is campaigning in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.Biden on the campaign trail • On Monday, Biden visited Pennsylvania.• On Tuesday, Biden campaigned in Atlanta and Warm Springs, Georgia.• On Thursday, Biden held rallies in Broward County and Tampa in Florida.• On Friday, Biden is campaigning in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

More than 84 million ballots cast early in the general election

As of Friday afternoon, 84.7 million early votes had been cast in the general election, according to the United States Election Project.

More than 9 million ballots have been cast early in Texas, surpassing the state’s total number of votes in the 2016 presidential election. Other states at 85% or more of the 2016 turnout are Washington, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Spending in presidential election exceeds $6 billion

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

Advertising Analytics reported that Donald Trump, including joint spending with the Republican National Committee, had reserved $27.3 million in ad buys between Monday and November 3. Joe Bidenreserved $42.9 million over the same time period.

Michael Bloomberg’s PAC, Independence USA, is planning to spend $15 million on advertising campaigns in Ohio and Texas for Biden.

The pro-Trump America First placed $2.5 million in national ads to run through Election Day.

Ballot deadline cases reach SCOTUS

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that mail-in ballots in Wisconsin will only be counted if they are received by November 3.

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

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

Eighth Circuit panel grants injunction in Minnesota deadline case 

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that postmarked Minnesota ballots received after Election Day but before November 10 will be separated from other ballots until a final decision is made on whether they should be counted.

Trump, Biden on the campaign trail in Rust Belt

Donald Trump is campaigning across Pennsylvania on Saturday with events in Bucks County, Reading, and Butler.

Joe Biden is campaigning in Michigan on Saturday. He will hold a joint rally with former President Barack Obama.

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Poll Spotlight

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Candidates on the Issues: Social Security

What we’re reading this week

Flashback:  October 26-30, 2016

  • October 26, 2016: Hillary Clinton campaigned in Florida on her 69th birthday.
  • October 27, 2016: Michelle Obama campaigned with Hillary Clinton in North Carolina.
  • October 28, 2016: James Comey notified Congress that the FBI was reviewing additional emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private email use.
  • October 29, 2016: Donald Trump questioned mail-in voting in Colorado during a rally in the state.
  • October 30, 2016: The Presidential Mask Index, which correctly predicted the presidential winner of every election since 1996 based on Halloween mask sales, projected Donald Trump would win.

15 ballot measures we’re watching

Welcome to the Thursday, Oct. 29, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 15 ballot measures we’re watching
  2. Comparing stances: Presidential candidates on prescription drug costs
  3. Explore Rhode Island  elections
  4. Explore New Hampshire elections

15 ballot measures we’re watching

On Tuesday, I wrote about 15 of the federal and state-level races we’ll be watching next week. Today I’m back with a list of the 15 ballot measures we’re tracking.

There are 120 statewide measures on the Nov. 3 ballot across 32 states. While that number is 25% fewer than the average since 2010, this year’s crop of ballot measures stands out as one of the most complex and compelling we’ve seen. Here’s what our ballot measures project director Josh Altic shared with me about what to watch for:

  • • Despite there being fewer statewide measures, ballot measure campaign contributions have already broken $1 billion and will exceed the totals in 2016 and 2018.
  • • Perennial trends and repeat topics such as marijuana, tax policy, elections policy, minimum wage, and rent control appear in abundance.
  • • A number of unique measures, first-ever forays into new policy areas, and measures with the potential to start or discourage new trends add a whole new layer to understand this year.

Below is a sampling of the measures we’ll be watching closely on election night and during election week. Click here for the full list.

  • The most expensive measure this year—Proposition 22—is also the most expensive in California’s history and is the first time voters will decide a statewide measure on gig economy policies.
  • Colorado will be the first state to vote on a paid sick leave program.
  • Alaska and Massachusetts could become the second and third states to enact ranked-choice voting for state-level elections. Alaska could also be the first state to enact a top-four primary system for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices in the U.S.

Learn more

Comparing stances: Presidential candidates on prescription drug costs

In this week’s feature comparing the four noteworthy presidential candidates’ stances on key issues, we’re looking at what the candidates say about prescription drug costs. As a reminder, to be considered noteworthy in the general election, candidates must appear on enough ballots to win a majority of the Electoral College.

Our summary of the candidates’ stances on prescription drug costs will be the last in this series that has spanned the past 12 weeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! These summaries have come from the 40 articles our presidential election team has written featuring presidential candidate stances. In the past few weeks, we’ve briefed our Brew readers on the candidates’ stances on gun ownership and regulations, climate change, criminal justice, abortion, and China.

Joe Biden (D)

Joe Biden’s campaign website states Biden “will put a stop to runaway drug prices and the profiteering of the drug industry by: Repealing the outrageous exception allowing drug corporations to avoid negotiating with Medicare over drug prices. Limiting launch prices for drugs that face no competition and are being abusively priced by manufacturers. Limiting price increases for all brand, biotech, and abusively priced generic drugs to inflation. Allowing consumers to buy prescription drugs from other countries. Terminating pharmaceutical corporations’ tax break for advertisement spending. Improving the supply of quality generics.”

Howie Hawkins (G)

Howie Hawkins’ campaign website states, “Predatory Big Pharma would be socialized into [his healthcare] system as a public utility operating at cost for public benefit. We would direct it to do the needed research and development of vaccines, antivirals, and antibiotics that Big Pharma has stopped doing because drugs for chronic conditions are more profitable than short-term medical treatments that prevent and cure diseases. Under community control, the public healthcare system will be more accountable, more effective at controlling costs, and more rational and just in allocating healthcare resources across all communities.”

Jo Jorgensen (L)

Jo Jorgensen’s answers to a series of questions regarding prescription drug costs are summarized below. Click here to view the full questionnaire.

Jorgensen’s campaign website states the government should not regulate the price of drugs. It also says that “the FDA should be abolished so the price of all drugs goes down.”

Donald Trump (R) 

Donald Trump’s campaign website states that “Under President Trump, The FDA has approved the largest number of generic drugs in history. Generics increase competition in the marketplace and lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Americans. In December 2018, year-end drug prices fell for the first time in nearly 50 years.”

Learn more

Explore Rhode Island elections

We’re just two states away from wrapping up our 50 States in 25 Days series. On our penultimate day, we are heading to New England for a look at Rhode Island and New Hampshire. If you missed a day, here are the states we’ve highlighted so far, along with a map summarizing where we are in the series:

On the ballot in Rhode Island

At the federal level, Rhode Island voters will elect four presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and two U.S. Representatives. At the state level, 38 state Senate seats and 75 state House districts are up for election. Voters will also decide on one statewide ballot measure.

Partisan data

  • In 2016, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) 54% to 39% in Rhode Island. Ronald Reagan was the last Republican to win Rhode Island in 1984.
  • Rhode Island’s Kent County is a Pivot County. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators—Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse—are Democrats.
  • Democrats represent both of Rhode Island’s U.S. House districts.
  • Rhode Island’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Democrats, meaning it is one of 17 states with a Democratic triplex. It has held this status since 2015, when Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) assumed office.
  • Democrats have a 33-5 majority in the state Senate. In the state House, Democrats have 66 seats, Republicans have 8, and an Independent has 1. Because the governor is a Democrat, Rhode Island is one of 15 states with a Democratic trifecta. Democrats gained a trifecta when Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) assumed office in 2015.

Ballot measures

  • Rhode Island voters will decide one statewide measure on Nov. 3.
  • The Rhode Island Legislature referred Question 1 to the ballot. It would amend the constitution to remove “Providence Plantations” from the official state name.


  • Rhode Island changed its rules in 2020 to send absentee/mail-in ballot applications to all active registered voters in the general election.
  • Rhode Island does not require witnesses or notaries to sign absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their ballots in person or by mail. In both cases, ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 general election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 6.8% of all votes cast in Rhode Island.
  • Rhode Island law allows election workers to begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots after polls close on Election Day.
  • Rhode Island requires all voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about Rhode Island’s voter ID requirements, click here
  • Early voting began on Oct. 14 and ends on Nov. 2.
  • In Rhode Island, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rhode Island is in the Eastern time zone.

Learn more

Explore New Hampshire elections

On the ballot in New Hampshire

At the federal level, New Hampshire voters will elect four presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and two U.S. Representatives. At the state level, the governor, five Executive Council seats, 24 state Senate seats, and 400 state House districts are up for election.

Partisan data

  • In 2016, Hillary Clinton (D) defeated Donald Trump (R) 46.8% to 46.5% in New Hampshire. George W. Bush was the last Republican to win the state in a presidential election in 2000.
  • Three of New Hampshire’s 10 counties are Pivot Counties, accounting for 36% of the state’s population. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of New Hampshire’s Senators—Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan—are Democrats.
  • Democrats represent both of the state’s U.S. House districts.
  • New Hampshire’s governor and attorney general are Republicans, while its secretary of state is a Democrat, meaning it is one of 14 states without a state government triplex.
  • Democrats have a 14-10 majority in the state Senate and a 230-156 majority in the state House. Because the governor is a Republican, New Hampshire is one of 14 states without a state government trifecta. With 400 members, the New Hampshire House of Representatives is the largest state house in the U.S.

Battleground races

Here are two battleground races taking place in New Hampshire this year:

  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D), Bryant “Corky” Messner (R), and Justin O’Donnell (L) are running for New Hampshire’s Class II seat in the U.S. Senate. The last Republican to win election to the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire was Kelly Ayotte (R) in 2010.
  • Governor: Incumbent Chris Sununu (R), Dan Feltes (D), and Darryl Perry (L) are running for a two-year term as governor. Sununu was first elected in 2016 and won re-election in 2018, defeating challenger Molly Kelly 53% to 46%. New Hampshire is one of four states that voted for Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016 and has a Republican governor in 2020.

Ballot measures

There are no statewide measures on the ballot in New Hampshire this year.


  • New Hampshire changed its rules in 2020 to establish concern over Covid-19 as a valid reason for voting absentee in the general election.
  • New Hampshire does not require witnesses or notaries to sign absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their absentee/mail-in ballots in person or by mail. In both cases, ballots must be received by Election Day. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 general election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 7.5% of all votes cast in New Hampshire.
  • New Hampshire law allows election workers to begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots after polls close on Election Day.
  • New Hampshire requires all voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about New Hampshire’s voter ID requirements, click here
  • In New Hampshire, polling hours vary by municipality. Polls must open by 11 a.m. and cannot close before 7 p.m. New Hampshire is in the Eastern time zone.

Learn more

Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 23, 2020

Friday, October 23, 2020:

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail. This week we discuss the latest presidential debate and updates on absentee ballot deadlines as well as provide you with your weekly overview of campaign ads, spending, and more.

Presidential Race Ratings

Inside Elections updated its race ratings on October 16, 2020:

  • Iowa and Ohio moved from Tilt Republican to Toss Up.
  • Wisconsin moved from Tilt Democratic to Lean Democratic
  • New Hampshire moved from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic.
  • Kansas and Missouri moved from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.

Notable Quotes of the Week“Presidential races have been tight in North Carolina over the last three cycles. No party has won the state by more than 4 points. Barack Obama won it by less than a point in 2008. Mitt Romney took it by 2 points in 2012. And Trump won it by a little less than 4 points in 2016, making it one of only six states Trump won by less than 5 points in 2016.

But unlike a lot of other important swing states, North Carolina has a history of voters casting a lot of ballots early. The state allows those early votes to be processed before Election Day, so it shouldn’t take days to count much of the vote. We’re not talking about Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, two states that are expecting a wave of absentee voters because of the coronavirus pandemic and have no real experience counting a lot of early votes. …

In other words, unless the race is really close (which it could be), North Carolina should give us a fairly good insight into both the presidential and Senate landscapes on Election Night.”

Harry Enten, CNN

“For the most part, however, each man jabbed at his opponent in predictable, intermittently effective ways and revealed, yet again, personalities that have either attracted or repelled millions. Trump did nothing but scorn Biden as a do-nothing politician who somehow hid his role as the mastermind of a great corruption scheme. Biden was most comfortable talking about policies he would implement—and damning Trump for mishandling the pandemic. Any voter who learned anything new must have been on a very long hiking trip for the past year or so, without a smartphone.”

Michael Kazin, professor of history at Georgetown University

Week in Review

Trump on the campaign trail

• On Sunday, Trump held a rally in Nevada.

• On Monday, Trump held two rallies in Arizona.

• On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania.

• On Wednesday, Trump held a rally in North Carolina.

• On Friday, Trump was scheduled to speak in The Villages and Pensacola in Florida.

Biden on the campaign trail

• On Sunday, Biden campaigned in North Carolina.

• From Monday to Wednesday, Biden did not hold any public events to prepare for the debate.

• On Friday, Biden was scheduled to deliver remarks in Delaware.

Trump, Biden clash over coronavirus, immigration in final debate

Donald Trump and Joe Biden met in Nashville, Tennessee, for the final presidential debate on Thursday night.

NBC News’ Kristen Welker moderated the event. The candidates discussed the coronavirus pandemic, election interference, foreign conflicts of interest, China, North Korea, healthcare, economic stimulus, immigration, race, and climate change.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Monday that each candidate’s microphone would be muted during the other candidate’s two-minute opening remarks for each of the six debate segments. During the rest of the debate, the microphones were on for open discussion.

Trump spoke for 41.3 minutes, while Biden spoke for 37.9 minutes. Here are highlights for each candidate:

  • Trump said a coronavirus vaccine would be available sooner than what his officials projected. He said schools and businesses needed to reopen. Trump said Biden failed to address immigration and criminal justice reform while he was vice president. He also said that Biden and his family received money from foreign countries. Trump said his tax and regulatory policy would help rebuild the economy. He said success would unify the country.
  • Biden said Trump did not take responsibility for the 220,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus in the United States or have a plan to safely reopen the economy and schools. He said his healthcare plan, Bidencare, would be Obamacare with a public option. Biden said Trump’s family separation policy violated the nation’s values. Biden called climate change an existential threat. He said the country needed to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy over time.

Howie Hawkins responded to the presidential debate in a video streamed from Nashville. Jo Jorgensen participated in a town hall interview on Thursday night.

Obama hits campaign trail for the first time for Biden

Former President Barack Obama campaigned for Joe Biden in Philadelphia on Wednesday, marking his first time on the campaign trail for Biden. Obama is also campaigning for Biden in Miami on Friday.

Biden raises $281 million, Trump raises $81 million in September

Joe Biden outraised Donald Trump by $200 million in September. Both Biden and Trump increased their receipts from August to September: $212 million to $281 million for Biden and $62 million to $81 million for Trump.

As of September 30, the Biden campaign had $114 million more cash on hand than the Trump campaign ($177 million to $63 million), marking the second consecutive month that the Biden campaign has held a cash advantage over Trump.

Court decisions allow extended absentee ballot deadlines

The U.S. Supreme Court split 4-4 on whether to grant a stay of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision allowing ballots received until November 6 to be counted. As a result, the state court’s decision stands.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled on North Carolina’s deadline extension for absentee votes on Tuesday, holding that ballots could be received and counted up to nine days after the election if they were postmarked on or before November 3.

Jorgensen completes Ballotpedia’s Candidate Conversation series

Jo Jorgensen participated in Ballotpedia’s Candidate Conversation series. Click here to watch her interview.

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Poll Spotlight

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What we’re Reading

The Candidates on the Issues: Prescription Drug Costs

Flashback: October 19-23, 2016

  • October 19, 2016: The third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was held in Las Vegas.
  • October 20, 2016: Donald Trump said during a rally, “I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”
  • October 21, 2016: Hillary Clinton released an ad featuring Gold Star father Khizr Khan.
  • October 22, 2016: The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project projected that Hillary Clinton had a better than 95 percent chance of winning.
  • October 23, 2016: The Las Vegas Review-Journal endorsed Donald Trump for president.


Biden raises $281 million, Trump raises $81 million in September

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) outraised President Donald Trump (R) by $200 million, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

The Biden campaign raised $281 million in September, a percentage difference of 110% from the Trump campaign’s $81 million. Biden’s campaign spent $285 million to the Trump campaign’s $139 million.

As of Sept. 30, the Biden campaign had $114 million more in cash-on-hand than the Trump campaign ($177 million to $63 million), marking the second consecutive month that the Biden campaign has held a cash advantage over Trump. Biden also leads Trump in overall fundraising, cumulatively raising $822 million to Trump’s $557 million.

Both Biden and Trump increased their receipts from August to September: $212 million to $281 million for Biden; and $62 million to $81 million for Trump.

Biden’s $822 million in overall fundraising is the highest figure for any presidential candidate at this point in the past four election cycles. Former President Barack Obama (D) raised $792 million in inflation-adjusted funds at this point in 2008. On the other hand, Trump has more than doubled his fundraising from this point in his 2016 campaign for president: Trump had $557 million, according to Tuesday’s FEC reports, compared to $236 million in October 2016.

Biden’s cash-on-hand total also tops campaign money records. Biden’s total of $177 million is the highest of any candidate’s at this point in the election cycle, topping Obama’s $172 million inflation-adjusted total in 2008.

Biden and Trump’s combined $1.38 billion in fundraising is the highest across the four most recent election cycles. At this point in the 2008 election, the presidential campaigns of Obama and Sen. John McCain (R) had raised a combined inflation-adjusted $1.26 billion.

Additional reading:

Nine presidential candidates are each on more than 10 state ballots

Thirty-six presidential candidates are appearing on at least one ballot across the 50 states and Washington, D.C., on November 3, 2020. This is more than the 31 presidential candidates who also appeared on at least one ballot in 2016.

Three candidates are appearing on the ballot in all 51 jurisdictions:
• Former Vice President Joe Biden (D)
• Jo Jorgensen (L)
• President Donald Trump (R)

Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins is on the ballot in 30 states.

Five other candidates are on the ballot in more than 10 states:
• Don Blankenship (Constitution), 18 ballots
• Brock Pierce (Independent), 16 ballots
• Gloria La Riva (Party for Socialism and Liberation), 15 ballots
• Roque De La Fuente (Alliance), 15 ballots
• Kanye West (Independent), 12 ballots

There are 21 candidates on the ballot each in Vermont and Colorado. The next largest presidential ballots are Arkansas and Louisiana with 13 candidates each. Twelve states have only three candidates on the ballot.

In 2016, Colorado had the most candidates on the ballot: 22. Louisiana followed with 13 candidates.

Excluding unaffiliated, independent, and nonpartisan candidates, there were 37 parties represented on the ballot in 2016 and 36 represented in 2020.

Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 9th, 2020

Friday, October 9th, 2020:  Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

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Presidential Race Ratings

Sabato’s Crystal Ball updated its race ratings on October 8, 2020:

  • Arizona moved from Toss Up to Leans Democratic.
  • Georgia moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.
  • New Hampshire moved from Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic.

Notable Quotes of the Day“The sharpest and perhaps most important contrast from Wednesday evening: the two parties’ views on the economy and on taxes. On that, Vice President Pence had the upper hand, and it showed. If the race ultimately boils down to pocketbook issues—as it so often does—then Democrats should be careful preemptively popping the champagne corks.”

– David Polyansky, Republican strategist


“Democrats worried about whether Senator Kamala Harris would play prevent defense had their fears alleviated within the first 30 seconds of the debate. Harris showed exactly why Vice President Joe Biden selected her to be his running mate. When pressed on foreign policy, a topic that has tripped up many a nominee, Harris didn’t just appear in command of the issue, she articulated a clear and cogent doctrine that Americans all over the country could understand. She was presidential.

Harris chopped away at the Trump administration with the precision of a surgeon and the bite of a seasoned attorney—all while smiling. The women in my life felt seen on a stage in Salt Lake City. It meant something to them. The Democratic nominee for vice president came for Mike Pence and didn’t miss.

– Michael Starr Hopkins, Democratic strategist

Week in Review

Biden on the campaign trail

  • On Monday, Biden campaigned in Miami and participated in an NBC News town hall.
  • On Tuesday, Biden gave a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  • On Thursday, Biden met with American Indian tribal leaders and small business owners in Phoenix.
  • On Friday, Biden campaigned in Las Vegas.
Trump on the campaign trail 

  • Trump was off the campaign trail this week following his COVID-19 diagnosis on Oct. 1. He was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center and returned to the White House on Monday.

Trump discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center, could return to campaign trail on Saturday

Donald Trump was discharged from the Walter Reed Medical Center and returned to the White House on Monday evening after receiving treatment for COVID-19. In a video posted to Twitter, Trump said of the coronavirus, “Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently.”

Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, said in a statement on Thursday, “Saturday will be day 10 since [last] Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagement at that time.”

Trump said he wanted to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday if his campaign could organize it in time. He also said he wanted to make a stop in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Presidential debate schedule in flux as campaigns disagree over timeline, format

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Thursday morning that the second presidential debate would take place virtually “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved.” Moderator Steve Scully would conduct the town hall-style event with attendees asking questions in Miami, while the candidates participated remotely.

The Joe Biden campaign agreed to the virtual format. Donald Trump said in an interview on Fox Business that he would not participate in a virtual debate.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said, “We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead,” In a second statement, Stepien said the second debate should be moved to Oct. 22 and the third moved to Oct. 29.

The Biden campaign rejected the proposal to move the third debate, saying in a statement, “We look forward to participating in the final debate, scheduled for October 22, which already is tied for the latest debate date in 40 years. Donald Trump can show up, or he can decline again. That’s his choice.” ABC News also announced it would hold a town hall with Biden Oct. 15.

The Trump campaign issued another statement on Thursday evening, calling for the second debate to go forward in-person as originally planned. The commission said that it would not reconsider its decision to make the second debate virtual.

Harris, Pence debate coronavirus response, SCOTUS, and economy

Kamala Harris and Mike Pence debated in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday night. The candidates discussed the coronavirus pandemic, economy, climate change, China, foreign policy, abortion, healthcare, race, and the election.

Pence spoke for 36.5 minutes, while Harris spoke for 36.4 minutes. Here are highlights for each vice presidential candidate with a focus on policy. The following paraphrased statements were compiled from the transcript of the debate.

  • Harris called Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic the greatest failure of any administration. She said Trump and Pence knew the virus was airborne and deadly in January 2020 and did not provide Americans with the information they needed. She said Biden’s coronavirus plan focused on contact tracing and testing. She said she would take a vaccine if public health officials recommended it.
  • Harris discussed her career as a state attorney general and senator. She said voters had a right to know about the president’s health and tax records. She said Trump was $400 million in debt. Harris said Biden would repeal Trump’s tax bill and not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. She said Trump rode the coattails of the economic recovery Biden created. She said Biden did not want to end fracking. She said Trump was trying to end the Affordable Care Act and that this would eliminate protections for people with preexisting conditions.
  • Harris said the Trump administration does not believe in science. She said Biden would invest in renewable energy and reach net zero emissions by 2050. She said Trump lost the trade war with China and 300,000 manufacturing jobs. She said Biden saved the auto industry. Harris said Trump disbanded the office responsible for monitoring pandemics. She said Trump made America unsafe through a unilateral and isolationist foreign policy. She said Trump insulted and did not care about service members.
  • Harris said President Lincoln waited until after his re-election to fill a Supreme Court vacancy that occurred 27 days before the presidential election. She said Trump should also wait. She said Trump had not appointed a Black judge to a lifetime appointment on the courts of appeal. Harris said justice was not done in Breonna Taylor’s case and called for criminal justice reform. She said implicit bias existed in law enforcement. Harris said Trump has openly attempted to suppress the vote.
  • Pence said Trump suspended all travel from China in response to the coronavirus pandemic and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. He said he believed the U.S. would have a vaccine before the end of the year. Pence said Trump surged resources to states with high fatality rates. He said the Rose Garden event announcing Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination followed scientific advice. He said Trump trusted Americans to make decisions about their own health.
  • Pence said Harris was undermining public confidence in a vaccine. He said the Obama administration failed during the swine flu pandemic and were lucky that it was less lethal than COVID-19. Pence said Trump paid millions of dollars in property and payroll taxes. He said Trump had added back 11.6 million jobs since the pandemic began.
  • Pence said Biden wanted to ban fracking. He said the United States reduced CO2 emissions through innovation rather than mandates.
  • Pence said the United States lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs when Biden was vice president. He said Harris put her environmental agenda ahead of American workers by opposing the United States–Mexico–Canada trade agreement. Pence said Trump strengthened alliances in the Asia Pacific and destroyed the ISIS caliphate. He said Biden failed to save ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller.
  • Pence questioned whether Harris would give Amy Coney Barrett a fair hearing because of Barrett’s Christian faith. He said he was pro-life. He said the Trump administration stood behind the separation of powers and a nine-seat Supreme Court. Pence said he trusted the justice system in Breonna Taylor’s case. He said there was no excuse for the rioting and looting that followed George Floyd’s death. He said Harris did nothing for criminal justice reform in California. He said Democrats had spent the past three years trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election.
  • Pence said universal mail-in voting created the opportunity for fraud.

Green Party vice presidential nominee Angela Walker responded to the debate on Wednesday. Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee Spike Cohen also responded to the vice in a livestream on Wednesday.

Neither candidate qualified for the debate, which required candidates to meet certain constitutional, ballot access, and polling requirements.

Candidates shift ad spending in final weeks race of race

Joe Biden reserved $6.2 million in ads in Texas, marking the largest investment from a Democratic nominee in the state in 25 years, according to Texas Democratic Party spokesperson Abhi Rahman.

Donald Trump canceled planned ad buys in Ohio ($2.5 million), Iowa ($820,000), Michigan ($2 million), and Wisconsin ($5 million). He is redirecting ad spending to Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona.

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Candidates on the Issues: Climate Change:


Flashback: October 5-9, 2016

  • October 5, 2016: Bernie Sanders campaigned in Wisconsin for Hillary Clinton.
  • October 6, 2016: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump paused their campaigns in Florida as Hurricane Matthew approached.
  • October 7, 2016: The Washington Post shared a 2005 video of Donald Trump discussing groping women on Access Hollywood.
  • October 8, 2016: Outlets reported on the WikiLeaks release of thousands of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
  • October 9, 2016: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met in the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 2nd, 2020

October 2nd, 2020: Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

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Presidential Race Ratings

The Cook Political Report updated its race ratings on September 29, 2020:

  • Iowa and Ohio moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball updated its race ratings on October 1, 2020:

  • Iowa and Ohio moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.
  • Wisconsin moved from Toss Up to Leans Democratic.
  • Minnesota moved from Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic.

Notable Quotes of the Week“This was not a debate. It was a sustained attack on the American system of government by the President of the United States. There is nothing to comment on regarding policy; Donald Trump made substantive discussion of anything all but impossible. But Trump did make a few things clear: He takes no responsibility for the pandemic deaths that occurred on his watch, he refuses to condemn white supremacists, he wants his followers to engage in voter intimidation, and he intends to challenge any election result he doesn’t like. Any sense of decorum, any possibility that an election is a contest between Americans who want the best for the nation, went out the window as Trump railed—and lied, repeatedly—in desperation. Any reasonable viewing of this debate can only lead to two conclusions: One is that something is deeply wrong with Donald Trump, mentally and emotionally. The other is that the president will attack anyone and anything, that he will sacrifice any principle, ignore any norm, and even that he will violate any law that he thinks stands in the way of staying in office. Trump has brought a new disgrace upon his own country, and we should be horrified that our fellow citizens, our children, our allies—and especially our enemies—have now seen the United States brought low in a way few of us could have imagined possible even five years ago.”

– Tom Nichols, professor at the U.S. Naval War College

“Indeed, while the debate was contentious, and at times became personal, it lacked any real substance that could change attitudes in any meaningful way.

Given the level of back-and-forth between the candidates, the substance of the candidates’ answers was often lost and took a back seat to their style of argumentation and command of the room.

Though, in terms of style, in my view, President Trump was the clear winner—Trump was in command of the conversation, in control of the discussion, and if not presidential, certainly more in command.

Biden, on the other hand, became exasperated at times in the face of Trump’s stop-at-nothing strategy—as the president spoke over both Biden and the moderator—and Biden even leveled personal attacks on Trump, calling him a ‘liar,’ and a ‘clown.’”

– Doug Schoen, Fox News

Week in Review

Biden on the campaign trail

  • On Sunday, Biden held a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • On Tuesday, Biden attended the first presidential debate in Cleveland.
  • On Wednesday, Biden completed a train tour across Ohio and Pennsylvania.
  • On Friday, Biden was scheduled to campaign in Michigan.
Trump on the campaign trail

  • On Saturday, Trump campaigned in Pennsylvania.
  • On Tuesday, Trump attended the first presidential debate in Cleveland.
  • On Wednesday, Trump campaigned in Minneapolis and Duluth.
  • On Thursday, Trump held a fundraiser at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
  • Trump canceled his Friday rally in Florida after testing positive for COVID-19.

Trump tests positive for COVID-19

Donald Trump announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 on early Friday morning, along with First Lady Melania Trump.

He earlier confirmed reports Thursday that White House adviser Hope Hicks, who traveled with Trump to the debate and a rally in Minnesota this week, had tested positive.

Trump’s scheduled Friday rally in Florida has been canceled. Trump is quarantining at home in the White House. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Friday that Trump was experiencing mild symptoms.

Mike Pence and Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday.

Biden, Trump spar over COVID-19, economy, and race in first debate

Joe Biden and Donald Trump debated in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday night. The candidates discussed the Supreme Court vacancy, coronavirus pandemic, economy, race and violence, climate change, election integrity, and their political records.

Trump spoke for 39.1 minutes, while Biden spoke for 37.9 minutes. Here are highlights for each presidential candidate with a focus on policy. The following paraphrased statements were compiled from the transcript of the debate.

  • Biden said the Supreme Court vacancy should be filled after the election to give voters a say. He said the Affordable Care Act and women’s rights were at stake with Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. On healthcare, Biden said only people who qualified for Medicaid would be automatically enrolled in a public health option. He said Trump had no healthcare plan. Biden said Trump knew how deadly the COVID-19 pandemic was and did not have a plan to address it. He said Trump was irresponsible with his handling of masks. He said schools and businesses were not supported to reopen safely. Biden said billionaires benefited from COVID-19 because Trump focused on the stock market.
Biden said Trump would be the first president to leave office with fewer jobs than when he came in. Biden said his economic plan would create 7 million more jobs than Trump had and $1 trillion in economic growth. He said he would raise the corporate tax rate to 28%. He said the Obama administration inherited the worst economy and fixed it, while Trump blew a booming economy. He said Trump’s statements about Biden’s son’s business dealings had been discredited.
Biden criticized Trump’s response to protests in Charlottesville in 2017 and George Floyd’s death. Biden said there was systemic injustice and called for increased funding for community policing. He said violent crime has increased under the Trump administration. Biden discussed the military service of his son, Beau, and the drug addiction recovery of his other son, Hunter. Biden said his plan would create thousands of green jobs and lead to net-zero carbon emissions by 2035. He said the plan was not the Green New Deal. Biden said Trump was afraid of mail-in voting.
  • Trump praised his Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett. He said Republicans had the right to nominate her because they won the last election. He said Biden supported socialist medicine. Trump said he signed an executive order that would reduce prescription drug prices. Trump said millions would have died from COVID-19 if Biden were president. He said a vaccine could be available sooner but politics was delaying it. He criticized strict shutdowns in Democratic-run states and said Biden would shut down the country.

Trump said he paid millions in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. As a businessman, Trump said he did not want to pay taxes and used tax credits and depreciation. Trump said the Obama administration had the slowest economic recovery since 1929, while he brought back manufacturing and 700,000 jobs. Trump said Biden’s son, Hunter, received $3.5 million from a Russian billionaire.

Trump criticized the effect of Biden’s 1994 crime bill on Black Americans. He said he had support from military leaders and law enforcement groups across the country. Trump said he ended racial sensitivity training because it was racist. Trump said increases in crime across the country were a party issue. When asked if he would condemn white supremacist and militia groups, Trump said sure. He said the Proud Boys should stand back and stand by and that someone should do something about Antifa.

Trump said he created the greatest economy and lowest unemployment numbers in history prior to COVID-19. He said that he will have appointed 300 federal judges. Trump attributed West Coast wildfires to poor forest management. He said he rolled back the Obama Clean Power Plan because it drove up energy prices. He said there was no free transition in 2016 because Democrats sought a coup on his campaign. He said unsolicited mail-in ballots would lead to fraud.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Wednesday it would change the format of the remaining debates. “The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the commission said in a statement.

The next presidential debate will take place on October 15, 2020, in Miami, Florida. Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will debate on October 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy on Saturday. He said, “Rulings that the Supreme Court will issue in the coming years will decide the survival of our Second Amendment, our religious liberty, our public safety and so much more. To maintain security, liberty and prosperity, we must preserve our priceless heritage of a nation of laws. And there’s no one better to do that than Amy Coney Barrett.”

Joe Biden discussed the nomination during remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday. He called discussion of expanding the court a distraction from the effect Barrett could have on the Affordable Care Act.

New York Times reports Trump did not pay income taxes in 10 of previous 15 years

The New York Times reported on Donald Trump’s federal tax returns from 2000 to 2017. The report said that Trump “paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.” Trump lawyer Alan Garter disputed the report, saying that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”

Joe Biden released a digital campaign ad on Sunday showing the average federal income tax paid by teachers, firefighters, and nurses, compared to the $750 that Trump reportedly paid in his first year in office.

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Flashback: September 28-October 2, 2016

  • September 28, 2016: Politico reported that Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts raised $30 million for two pro-Trump groups and had an overall goal to raise $70 million.
  • September 29, 2016: The editorial board of USA Today made its first presidential voting recommendation ever to oppose Donald Trump. It did not endorse Hillary Clinton.
  • September 30, 2016: The Chicago Tribune endorsed Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson for president.
  • October 1, 2016: Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania to monitor polling places
  • October 2, 2016: Hillary Clinton spoke about systemic racism at a Black church service in Charlotte.

When do election winners take office?

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

With the 2020 election cycle coming to a close, voters may be wondering how quickly those they elected will take office. At the federal level, members of Congress will be sworn in on January 3, 2021, and the president will be sworn in on January 20, 2021.

Wondering about state-level offices? Check out Ballotpedia’s page, “Swearing-in dates of state legislators elected on November 3, 2020.” We also have information for state executives on their office overviews.

Additional reading:

Weekly Presidential News Briefing: September 25th, 2020

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

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Candidates by the Numbers

Notable Quotes of the Day“But it looks increasingly unlikely that we’ll be able to declare an election-night winner in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In addition to possibly having thousands of ballots still in transit on election night, these states will probably be slow to count even the mail ballots that have already arrived, since all three prohibit processing mail ballots before Election Day. (By contrast, North Carolina is allowed to process mail ballots well in advance, so we should learn the results of mail ballots that arrive by Nov. 2 shortly after polls close — but then have to wait days for the remainder.)

If Biden is leading in those states in the wee hours of Nov. 4, that may be the ballgame: Because mail ballots are expected to lean heavily Democratic, his margin will probably only increase as more mail ballots are counted. But if Trump is leading in these states, we could be in for days of waiting on the edge of our seat for every ballot dump. Since this is a distinct possibility, we must continue to prepare ourselves for a world in which we won’t know the identity of the next president until mid-November.”

Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight

“Joe Biden knows that if he gets a majority of the Catholic vote he’s going to be elected president, so there’s been a very aggressive effort by his campaign to underscore his faith. But if the president’s choice for the Supreme Court is a Catholic mother who, because she believes deeply in her faith, is considered disqualified for the job by Democrats, that puts Biden in a pickle.”

Matt Schlapp, Republican lobbyist

Week in Review

Biden on the campaign trail

  • On Monday, Biden visited Wisconsin for the second time in two weeks.
  • On Wednesday, Biden visited North Carolina for the first time since the Democratic primary season.
  • Biden halted public appearances on Thursday in the morning in order to prepare for the presidential debate.
  • On Friday, Biden traveled to Washington, D.C., to pay his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg who lies in state at the Capitol Building.
Trump on the campaign trail

  • On Monday, Trump made two campaign stops in Ohio, including a rally in Toledo.
  • On Tuesday, Trump held a campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport, marking his fourth appearance in Pennsylvania this month.
  • On Wednesday, Trump spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. The event took place virtually.
  • On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • On Friday, Trump traveled to South Florida, Georgia, and Virginia.

Biden, Trump will debate SCOTUS, coronavirus, race

Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic are hosting the first presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on Tuesday, September 29. The debate will be 90 minutes long without commercial breaks.

It will be divided into 15-minute segments on the following six topics selected by moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace:

  • The Trump and Biden records
  • The Supreme Court
  • COVID-19
  • The economy
  • Race and violence in our cities
  • The integrity of the election

Two more presidential debates are scheduled for October 15 in Miami and October 22 in Nashville. The first and only vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris (D) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) will be held in Salt Lake City on October 7.

Trump set to announce SCOTUS pick on Saturday

Donald Trump said he would announce his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. Earlier in the week, Trump said the nominee would be a woman and that he had narrowed the list down to five candidates.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!” Trump tweeted.

Joe Biden said Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement should not be nominated and confirmed until after the 2020 presidential election

“This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future, and the people of this nation. And the people of this nation are choosing their future right now, as they vote. To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power,” Biden said.

Jo Jorgensen issued a list of 18 attorneys and judges she would consider for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We need justices who, unlike the majority of those appointed to our highest court over the past 100 years, will strictly uphold our Constitution,” Jorgensen said. “We must restore the limits that our Founders imposed on federal authority and rigorously defend both individual liberty and property rights.”

Biden, Democrats post $141 million cash advantage over Trump and Republicans

Joe Biden and related Democratic Party committees began September with $466 million in cash on handDonald Trump and joint Republican Party committees started the month with $325 million in cash on hand.

Maine will use RCV in presidential election

The Maine Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a veto referendum on ranked-choice voting (RCV) did not reach the signature threshold required to appear on the ballot. RCV will now be used for the first time in a presidential election.

Trump comments on peaceful transition of power

When asked on Wednesday if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election,  Donald Trump responded, “We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful—there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control.”

Jorgensen completes Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection Survey

Jo Jorgensen completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Click here to read her responses.

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Flashback: September 21-25, 2016

  • September 21, 2016: Hillary Clinton discussed the treatment of people with disabilities during a speech in Orlando.
  • September 22, 2016: Donald Trump said Chicago should institute a stop-and-frisk policy to address violence in the city.
  • September 23, 2016: NBC News reported on Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s debate prep.
  • September 24, 2016: The editorial board of The New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton.
  • September 25, 2016: Fortune reported on Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s debate prep on the eve of the first 2016 presidential debate.