Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your weekly rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.
We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching this week on the campaign trail.
LEADING THE DAY:
New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioProtesters splash red paint on NYC streets to symbolize blood De Blasio: Robert E Lee’s ‘name should be taken off everything in America, period’ House Democratic whip pushes back on calls to defund police: We need to focus on reform MORE became the latest casualty of the fall campaign season on Friday when he announced that he was ending his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The news wasn’t all that surprising. De Blasio appeared nowhere close to qualifying for the fourth primary debate in October, and he previously said that he would consider dropping out of the race if the debate stage was too far out of reach.
“I think the logical thing to say is, you know, I’m going to try to get into the October debates and if I can then I think that’s a good reason to keep going forward and if I can’t, I think it’s really tough to conceive of continuing. So that’s the way I’m looking at it right now,” he said earlier this month.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE sent de Blasio off with a tweet.
Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years! Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shocking dropped out of the Presidential race. NYC is devastated, he’s coming home!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2019
But de Blasio isn’t the only candidate who was likely to miss the fourth debate in Ohio next month. At least half a dozen others have yet to meet even one of the two criteria needed to qualify for the debate, raising the question: Do any of them follow the New York City mayor’s lead?
Among the candidates almost certain to miss the fourth debate are Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSome realistic solutions for income inequality Democratic senators kneel during moment of silence for George Floyd 21 senators urge Pentagon against military use to curb nationwide protests MORE (D-Colo.), Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators Overnight Energy: US Park Police say ‘tear gas’ statements were ‘mistake’ | Trump to reopen area off New England coast for fishing | Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues in battle to save seats MORE, former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says there will be consequences from fraying US-China relations; WHO walks back claims on asymptomatic spread of virus MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanMinnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen Congress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left MORE (D-Ohio), former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Wayne Messam suspends Democratic presidential campaign 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum MORE.
At the same time, the Democratic presidential primary increasingly appears to be a three-way contest between former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.), who are polling far ahead of their closest rivals, most surveys show.
Some candidates insist that they’re not yet ready to think about exiting the primary contest. Delaney, for example, told The Hill last month that “there’s nothing between now and the Iowa caucus” that would make him reconsider his presidential bid, and that it would take a poor finish in the first-in-the-nation caucuses to convince him to drop out.
There’s another factor that could begin nudging some candidates to reconsider their campaigns. Fundraising reports for the third quarter of 2019 will be made public on Oct. 15, and that disclosure will provide key insights into the financial gap between the front-runners and those struggling to make the debate stage.
FROM THE TRAIL:
Warren appears to be growing her share of support from black voters, who have been slow to warm to her campaign. Three new polls out this week showed Warren getting a 5- or 6-point bump among black voters. Biden still dominates the field with black voters, and he’ll be the favorite to win the nomination unless that changes. But Warren is showing signs of life here after public opinion surveys from earlier in the cycle showed her languishing in the single digits with the critical liberal voting bloc, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley reports.
The Hill: Two former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden.
The Hill: Southern black mayors write to 2020 Democrats saying they “want to be represented.”
Meanwhile, Sanders is feeling Warren’s heat, as allies worry he risks getting eclipsed on the left by the Massachusetts senator. Sanders has retooled his political teams in Iowa and New Hampshire and is embarking on a pivotal stretch of campaigning aimed at galvanizing the young voters and union members who propelled his 2016 presidential run, Jonathan Easley reports.
The Hill: Sanders hits 1 million donors.
Another Democratic candidate under pressure — Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) says she will camp out in Iowa between now and the caucuses as she tries to rejuvenate her once-promising campaign, according to The Hill’s Julia Manchester.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Sarah Jones: Warren makes her bid for history.
Peter Beinart: Andrew YangAndrew YangGeorge Floyd protests show corporations must support racial and economic equality Andrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis MORE is the new Ross Perot.
Michael R. Strain: Populism is on the decline.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE has released a “Medicare for all who want it” plan (The Hill) … Warren has released a plan to battle Washington corruption (The Hill) … Sanders released a “Housing for All” plan aimed at tackling homelessness (The Hill) … Former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas) has released a plan to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs (The Hill).
NORTH CAROLINA SENATE: Some Republicans are concerned that Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators The Hill’s Campaign Report: It’s primary night in Georgia Tillis unveils new 0,000 ad in North Carolina Senate race MORE (R-N.C.) may be increasingly vulnerable in 2020, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports. Not only are Democrats preparing to spend big in the North Carolina Senate race, but he’s also facing a primary challenge from Garland Tucker, a retired businessman who has sought to cast the first-term senator as insufficiently conservative. Tillis’s allies insist that they’re not worried yet. After all, they say, he has Trump’s endorsement and a voting record in the Senate that tracks closely with the president’s agenda.
But there are signs that Tillis may not have the unequivocal support of the president’s base. At a Trump rally in Fayetteville, N.C., last week, the first-term senator was booed by some in the audience as he took the stage — the result of what several Republicans said was Tillis’s initial opposition to Trump’s emergency declaration at the U.S. southern border earlier this year.
On Friday, there was another sign that the North Carolina Senate race may be getting more competitive. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, moved the race from the “likely” Republican column into the “lean” Republican column.
SHOWDOWN IN MASSACHUSETTS: Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyMassachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy says Patriots ‘should sign’ Kaepernick Markey touts past praise from Kennedy: ‘He does an incredible job’ Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary MORE III (D-Mass.) will formally launch a primary challenge against Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left Markey touts past praise from Kennedy: ‘He does an incredible job’ Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Mass.) on Saturday, setting the stage for a potentially brutal primary battle involving the state’s most influential political dynasty.
Kennedy is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, and two of his great-uncles, former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and former President John F. Kennedy served as Massachusetts senators.
But not all Democrats are convinced Kennedy should challenge Markey. In fact, progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAttorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury How language is bringing down Donald Trump Highest-circulation Kentucky newspaper endorses Charles Booker in Senate race MORE (D-N.Y.) took to Twitter last week to tout her support for Markey, who introduced the Senate version of her Green New Deal.
Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHow language is bringing down Donald Trump Defunding the police: Put it to a vote McEnany, Ocasio-Cortez tangle over ‘Biden adviser’ label MORE (Mich.), Seth MoultonSeth MoultonEx-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Overnight Defense: Trump’s move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd’s death ‘a national tragedy’ Democrats blast Trump’s use of military against protests MORE (Mass.), and Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellNASCAR bans display of Confederate flag from events and properties Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Grenell says intelligence community working to declassify Flynn-Kislyak transcripts MORE (Calif.) have said they are staying out of the race, while Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaProgressive Caucus co-chair endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary Biden’s right, we need policing reform now – the House should quickly take up his call to action The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Association of American Railroads Ian Jefferies says no place for hate, racism or bigotry in rail industry or society; Trump declares victory in response to promising jobs report MORE (D-Calif.) has thrown his support behind Markey.
Meanwhile Warren has endorsed Markey, despite having a close relationship with Kennedy.
Biden continues to hold his lead over the Democratic primary pack, but Warren is inching closer to him, according to a number of polls. An Economist/YouGov poll released on Thursday shows Biden with 25 percent support, while Warren stands at 19 percent support. However, the two are in a virtual tie in Iowa, according to a poll conducted by the Democratic group Focus on Rural America. Biden had the support of 25 percent of likely Iowa caucusgoers, while 23 percent threw their support behind Warren.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal: Biden leads field by 31 percent, followed by Warren at 25 percent.
Fox News: Biden tops Warren by 16 points in theoretical match-up
Florida Atlantic University: Biden leads Democratic field in Florida
Monmouth University: Booker trails three 2020 Democrats in New Jersey
Meanwhile, Priorities USA, the largest Democratic super PAC, has released new polling data with warning signs for President Trump in key battleground states. The new survey shows the president’s economic approval rating dropping in Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada.
University of Texas: Biden, O’Rourke lead Trump in Texas.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
Eleven Democratic presidential candidates will participate in the MSNBC climate forum at Georgetown University beginning at 12:45 p.m. today.
Biden will attend a separate climate town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this afternoon.
At 7 p.m. this evening, Biden and nine other candidates will participate in a LGBTQ town hall event at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.
Sanders and his campaign surrogates, including rapper Killer Mike and actor Danny Glover, embark on a tour of colleges across North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa and Oklahoma, beginning today with two stops.
Harris will hold five events across Iowa on Saturday, with stops in Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Des Moines.
ONE FUN THING
THE DUDE ABIDES: Jeff Bridges became the latest actor to voice his support for his “good buddy” in the 2020 Democratic primary. The actor urged his followers to donate to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to help get him on the next Democratic presidential debate stage.
Bridges even hit the Democratic National Committee for their debate stage qualifications.
“You see here’s the deal: For the first time in history, the Democratic National Committee is choosing who can be in the presidential debates based on the number of donors each candidate has,” Bridges said.
It’s so important to have @GovernorBullock’s voice up on the Democratic debate stage. If you can, please visit https://t.co/PWDtpmgXcz and donate. Any amount helps! pic.twitter.com/kVarf7GQFy
— Jeff Bridges (@TheJeffBridges) September 16, 2019
The governor told the Daily Beast in May that Bridges, who has “long Montana ties” was very “encouraging” of him running for president.
Who knew that Steve Bullock and Jeff Bridges were tight!
We’ll see everyone next week with more campaign news.
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