The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic infighting threatens 2020 unity

The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic infighting threatens 2020 unity
© Greg Nash

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

Mark your calendars: The Democrats will nominate their presidential candidate at a convention in Milwaukee one year from this weekend.

We're Jonathan Easley, Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester, here’s what we’re watching this week on the campaign trail.




Democrats have become consumed by nasty fights over racial politics, even as the 2020 White House contenders ramp up their outreach to the black and Latino voters who will play a critical role in determining the party’s presidential nominee.

Democratic lawmakers are being peppered with questions from reporters amid a feud between Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNew Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing Sunday shows preview: Biden foreign policy in focus as Dem tensions boil up back home It's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHarris attends DC Pride rally Simmering Democratic tensions show signs of boiling over Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (D-N.Y.) after the New York progressive accused the Speaker of singling out female lawmakers of color in her criticism.

That provoked a furious reaction from Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members, who accused the Justice Democrats, an outside group aligned with Ocasio-Cortez, of trying to oust black Democrats in primary races.

Scott Wong: CBC members rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries.



Meanwhile, the party’s White House hopefuls are making their pitch to voters about why they’re best equipped to address the issues that are important to racial minorities.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican MORE, whose city has been roiled by racial tensions in recent weeks following the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, unveiled his “Douglass Plan” to improve the lives of black Americans.

Buttigieg has stagnated in the polls, in part because of his low support from black voters, who will play a major role in determining the outcome of the primary, particularly in South Carolina, which is the fourth state to vote. Read more from The Hill’s Rachel Frazin.

A new Fox News survey found former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era MORE with a comfortable lead in the Palmetto State at 35 percent support, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSocially-distanced 'action figure' photo of G7 leaders goes viral Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema Overnight Energy: Biden seeks to reassert US climate leadership | President to 'repeal or replace' Trump decision removing protections for Tongass | Administration proposes its first offshore wind lease sale MORE (I) at 14 percent, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe press has its own border problem Meghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration I visited the border and the vice president should too MORE (D-Calif.) at 12 percent, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMark Cuban: ProPublica 'not being honest' about taxes on wealthy On The Money: Bipartisan Senate group rules out tax hikes on infrastructure | New report reignites push for wealth tax New report reignites push for wealth tax MORE (D-Mass.) at 5 percent and Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerTeen who filmed Floyd murder awarded honorary Pulitzer Senate confirms first Muslim American federal judge Police reform negotiations enter crucial stretch MORE (D-N.J.) at 3 percent. Buttigieg is at 2 percent in the poll, with 1 percent support among black voters.


Elsewhere, a half-dozen Democratic contenders courted Hispanic voters at a town hall last night in Milwaukee hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens. 

There, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro ripped Biden, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and President Obama’s former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for opposing his proposal to decriminalize border crossings, an issue that has become a flashpoint in the Democratic primary.

Jonathan Easley: Democrats warn push for border crossing decriminalization will prove costly in 2020.



NBC NEWS-WALL STREET JOURNAL: Biden leads the field with 26 percent support nationally, but Warren is hot on his heels, surging to 19 percent. Harris and Sanders are tied for third place at 13 percent support each. Read more.


THE ECONOMIST/YOUGOV: Biden takes the top spot with 22 percent support, while Warren and Harris take second and third place with 17 and 14 percent, respectively. Sanders trails them with 11 percent, and Buttigieg rounds out the top five, coming in with 5 percent support. Read more


FROM 1600 PENN:  

2020 CENSUS: President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE reversed course on Thursday, announcing that he would no longer pursue an effort to add a question about citizenship status on the 2020 census. The decision was the latest twist in the saga surrounding the question. 

Just last week, Trump insisted that the government must work to get the question added to the census. While the president’s reversal is likely to provide some relief to opponents of the move, who argued that including the question would result in a drastic undercount of the population, Trump instructed the government on Thursday to collect citizenship data through existing records, The Hill’s Jordan Fabian and Jacqueline Thomsen report.



NOT HER FIRST RODEO: Retired Marine and former 2018 House candidate Amy McGrath is taking on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMaher goes after Manchin: 'Most powerful Republican in the Senate' Supreme Court confounding its partisan critics Why the Democrats need Joe Manchin MORE (R-Ky.) in the state’s Senate race in 2020. McGrath made her campaign official with a three-minute campaign video, titled “The Letter,” where she and other Kentuckians write letters to McConnell, airing concerns about health care, job  and affordable higher education. 

McGrath kicked off her Senate bid with a bang on Tuesday, raising $2.5 million during the first 24 hours of her campaign. The effort marks a push from Democrats to not only target Trump in 2020, but also take aim at McConnell. Read more from The Hill’s Julia Manchester.



But not all has gone so smoothly for the new campaign. McGrath is taking heat for appearing to flip-flop on saying she would have supported Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Gorsuch, Thomas join liberal justices in siding with criminal defendant Alyssa Milano says she could 'potentially run' for House in 2024 MORE during his controversial Supreme Court nomination. She told the Louisville Courier-Journal that she probably would have supported Kavanaugh during his nomination process, despite some concerns. Hours later, she tweeted that she had changed her mind. Read more from The Hill’s Rebecca Klar.


PRESSING AHEAD: North Carolina state Rep. Greg Murphy (R) defeated fellow Republican Joan Perry in the primary runoff election for the late Rep. Walter JonesWalter JonesHillary Clinton brings up 'Freedom Fries' to mock 'cancel culture' Georgia officials open inquiry into Trump efforts to overturn election results Supreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising MORE’s (R ) seat in the state’s third House district on Tuesday. 

Murphy, who beat Perry by 20 points, will now go onto face against Democrat Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party candidate Greg Holt in a special election on Sept. 10. But not all Republicans are thrilled with the results. 

A number of Republican lawmakers expressed disappointment at Perry losing her first election. Those lawmakers said the loss is highlighted by the GOP’s challenges to recruit women after the number of female Republican lawmakers in the House dropped from 23 to 13 following last year's midterms.



Read more: 

Heavy loss by female candidate in Republican NC runoff sparks shock via The Hill’s Juliegrace Brufke and Julia Manchester 

Democratic senators want candidates to take Swalwell's hint and drop out via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton

Democrats set to use McConnell's legislative graveyard against him via The Hill’s Mike Lillis 

GOP leader embraces role as liberal foe for 2020 via The Hill’s Jordain Carney 



Tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangMary J. Blige endorses New York City mayoral candidate in new ad Ocasio-Cortez endorses Maya Wiley in NYC mayoral race NYC mayoral candidate hit with second allegation of sexual misconduct MORE announced Thursday that he raised $2.8 million in the second quarter, not a bad haul for a relatively unknown candidate. Another outsider to watch ⁠— former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who has not been included in the polls and is generally not counted by media organizations as serious candidate, says he is closing in on meeting the debate threshold for grass-roots donors.


A quick rundown of how the presidential contenders have fared in the second quarter:

Buttigieg: $24.8 million

Biden: $21.5 million

Warren: $19.1 million

Sanders: $18 million

Harris: $12 million

Bennet: $2.8 million

Yang: $2.8 million

Bullock: $2 million

Hickenlooper: $1 million


Cal Cunningham, who’s challenging Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisInfighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Lara Trump lost her best opportunity — if she ever really wanted it 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (R-N.C.) for his Senate seat, brought in more than $720,000 in the two weeks since he launched his campaign. That includes $520,000 in contributions and a $200,000 loan from Cunningham himself, Julia reports.


Dan McCready, the Democrat vying for North Carolina’s still-contested 9th District House seat, raised more than $1.7 million in the second quarter, giving him nearly $1.8 million in cash on hand two months before the district’s Sept. 10 special election, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports.



Biden attends the New Hampshire Young Democrats Summer BBQ in Portsmouth. 

3:10 p.m. EDT: Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Top general: Military justice overhaul proposed by Gillibrand 'requires some detailed study' Cher apologizes for confusing Sinema, Gillibrand MORE (D-N.Y.) visits Flint, Mich. 



5 p.m. EDT: Buttigieg attends a fundraising event for Iowa’s 1st District Democrats in Waterloo.



11:30 a.m. EDT: Buttigieg attends a birthday event for Iowa state Sen. Zach Wahls in Iowa City.

2 p.m. EDT: Buttigieg attends the Progress Iowa “Corn Feed” event in Cedar Rapids.


  • There are 206 days until the Iowa caucuses, 214 days until the New Hampshire primary, 225 days until the Nevada caucuses, 232 days until the South Carolina primary and 235 days until Super Tuesday.



THE BIDEN DOCTRINE: Biden rolled out his foreign policy vision in New York City on Thursday, while taking plenty of opportunities to hit the Trump administration’s international objectives. Biden called Trump’s foreign policy "chest thumping and self-inflicted setbacks," and slammed his “America First” approach. 

The former vice president offered a more globalist approach to foreign policy, which appeared to build upon former President Obama’s foreign policy. Biden called for greater international cooperation on issues such as climate change, and said the U.S. would rejoin the Paris climate accords under his administration.

Foreign policy is one of Biden’s strong suits. His experience chairing the Senate Armed Services Committee in the Obama administration gives him a leg up on virtually all of his opponents in the topic area.  


DOUGLASS PLAN: Buttigieg revealed a number of key details in his plan to combat systemic racism on Thursday. The plan, which Buttigieg has dubbed “the Douglass Plan” after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, would take on racial inequities through reforming health care, education, entrepreneurship, criminal justice and voting rights on the federal level. 

The plan is important for the Buttigieg campaign due to his struggle to connect with and gain traction among black voters. A CNN poll released last week put Buttigieg at zero percent among black voters. The voting group has long been considered the backbone of the Democratic Party. 


CHANGING THE SYSTEM: Tom SteyerTom SteyerTop 12 political donors accounted for almost 1 of every 13 dollars raised since 2009: study California Democrats weigh their recall options Why we should be leery of companies entering political fray MORE unveiled his plan to reform the political system on Thursday, calling for term limits for Congress, taking on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, restructuring the Federal Election Commission and creating independent redistricting commissions. The plan comes just two days after Steyer launched his presidential bid, which he says will focus "on solving two major crises — reforming our broken political system and saving our planet from the ravages of climate change."


A PLAN FOR SENIORS: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-Minn.) rolled out a four-point plan on Friday addressing senior care and retirement security, as she aims to court older Democrats. Among those proposals: expanding Medicare-covered services for Alzheimers, establishing minimum employer contributions to retirement savings plans, lowering prescription drug costs and creating a refundable tax credit to offset the cost of long-term care for seniors. The policy rollout is unique because it targets a voter bloc that typically turns out to the polls in higher numbers than any other demographic. Read more from Rachel. 


NEW HAMPSHIRE: Sanders is staffing up in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state that is near his home state of Vermont. The campaign says it has 45 staffers on the ground in the Granite State, which might be the largest presence there of any of the campaigns. They’ll be opening field offices soon in Manchester, Portsmouth, Dover and West Lebanon, adding to the six offices that are already up and running. The move comes as Sanders looks to beat out Warren in the first-in-the-nation primary state that has served as a sort of home state proxy for the two Democratic hopefuls. Both have deep ties to New England, and Sanders saw a resounding victory there in his 2016 primary fight against former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump asks Biden to give Putin his 'warmest regards' Huma Abedin announces book deal Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records MORE.



Bernie Sanders insisted in an interview with “NowThis News” released on Thursday that he’s not a grump ALL of the time, but just “most of the time.”

“They think I’m grumpy all of the time, and I’m only grumpy most of the time,” Sanders told the outlet. 


Sanders has not always been keen on sharing details on his personal life, and has insisted that political voters focus on his policies. The Atlantic reported earlier this year that Sanders’s presidential campaign was working to rid the candidate of any Oscar the Grouch-esque traits and “humanize” him. But don’t worry, Sanders assured the team at “NowThisNews” that he was not grumpy during the interview. 


We’ll leave you with this tweet of Sanders having a nice moment with an Amazon delivery man.


See you next week!