The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash

The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash

Welcome to The Hill's Campaign Report, your 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 Jonathan Easley, Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester, here's what we're watching this week on the campaign trail. 



The stage for the second Democratic primary debates is set for Detroit, complete with one rematch and a progressive face-off. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Warren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE will share center stage with Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisClinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Poll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special MORE (D-Calif.) on July 31, the second night of the forum, roughly a month after the California senator confronted Biden head-on about his civil rights record. 

Harris's strategy during the last debate appeared to pay off, at least in the short term. She saw a bump in the polls, as well as fundraising. The former vice president even said he was surprised by Harris's move, telling CNN earlier this month that he did not expect her to come after him the way she did on civil rights and busing.



Interestingly enough, Biden will also be placed next to Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerPoll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special Bennet: Warren 'not being honest about' her 'Medicare for All' plan MORE (D-N.J.), who recently attacked Biden for comments last month about his working relationship with two former segregationist senators. Booker, who is known for his charisma, is in need of a breakout moment, and could seek to do so by reigniting his criticism of Biden. But he could also go after his Senate colleague, Harris, who is leading him in the polls. Booker and Harris will try to put a wrench in the Biden strategy of theoretically running in a two-man race with Trump. Watch out for this trio on the second night. 


Political observers will also finally get to witness a potential face-off between progressive heavyweights Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Democratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax MORE (D-Mass.). The two senators have, for the most part, played nice on the campaign trail, and have avoided attacking each other. But there's no denying that their progressive base is split, and that Warren is taking Sanders's thunder. Remember, Sanders was the only progressive on the debate stage during the 2016 primary debates. Now he has Warren, who has climbed in the polls through artfully laying out her progressive proposals, telling voters "I have a plan for that." While Sanders and Warren may keep it civil, expect these two to compete to be the top progressive on the stage.


The lineup for the second two-night debate event appears to reflect an effort by the Democratic National Committee to equally disperse the number of candidates from each tier on each debate stage. Last time, Harris, Biden and Sanders held the same stage, while Warren alone was the top candidate on the other night -- though she had the advantage of standing out among a group of lesser-known contenders. 


Here's a run-down of the rest of the lineups for the debate on CNN: July 30: Sanders, Warren, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020 | Zuckerberg on public relations blitz | Uncertainty over Huawei ban one month out Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race MORE, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Robert Reich sees Democratic race as Warren, Sanders and Biden: 'Everyone else is irrelevant' Democrats lead Trump by wide margins in Minnesota MORE (Minn.), former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkePoll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Authorities seize weapons from alleged neo-Nazi leader under 'red flag' law Super PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang MORE (Texas), Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy MORE (Ohio), Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockSuper PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Private flight spending soars in Democratic presidential race MORE, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seeks distance from Syria crisis Gardner dodges questions about Trump's call for Biden probe 2020 Presidential Candidates MORE, former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyWarren, Yang fight over automation divides experts The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Warren's surge brings new scrutiny to signature wealth tax MORE (Md.) and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson on impeachment: Trump's actions 'too perilous' not to continue inquiry Marianne Williamson: DNC is 'dictating' rather than 'facilitating the process of democracy' Marianne Williamson explains how she, Tulsi, and Yang have been marginalized MORE

July 31:  Biden, Harris, Booker, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Andrew YangAndrew YangOn The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race MORE, Sens. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBennet: Warren 'not being honest about' her 'Medicare for All' plan Senate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges MORE (Colo.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs Senate confirms Trump's Air Force secretary pick MORE (N.Y.), Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate John Kerry calls out lack of climate questions at debate CNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate MORE, New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 2020 Presidential Candidates Cooperate, or else: New York threatens fines to force people to help block immigration enforcement MORE and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Saagar Enjeti: Clinton remarks on Gabbard 'shows just how deep the rot in our system goes' MORE (Hawaii). 

--Julia Manchester 




Sanders's campaign made history this year when it announced that it would become the first major presidential campaign to unionize. Now, the campaign's field organizers are locked in a battle with its management over what they say are substandard salaries. A draft letter prepared by union members and obtained by The Washington Post estimates that field organizers have been working a minimum of 60 hours per week, making their average hourly pay less than $13 per hour. It's unclear whether Sanders, one of the most vocal champions for a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, is aware of the dispute, The Post's Sean Sullivan reports.


Delaney's senior staff told him earlier this month that he should drop out of the Democratic nominating contest by mid-August, Axios's Alexi McCammond reports. Delaney reportedly expressed openness to the idea, but still intends to participate in the second round of debates in Detroit later this month. The former Maryland congressman has been campaigning longer than any other candidate in the contest (he launched his campaign in July 2017), but has so far failed to gain traction among primary voters. His campaign has largely been self-funded; this year alone, he has loaned more than $19 million to his operation. 

BUT WAIT: Delaney's campaign released a statement on Friday morning disputing the Axios report: "Alexi McCammond's report on our campaign this morning is incorrect. No one on my team asked me to drop out of the race and I have no plans to drop out of the race." 



Sanders isn't laying off his signature issue. In a speech in Washington on Wednesday, he delivered a forceful defense of "Medicare for All," all the while calling on his rivals in the Democratic primary contest to reject campaign contributions from health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. The remarks appeared to be an implicit swipe at Biden, who has held large-dollar fundraisers with wealthy contributors from the health care industry, The Hill's Jessie Hellmann and Jonathan Easley report.

This may prompt some flashbacks for Democrats. Speaking at an AARP presidential forum in Iowa this week, Biden insisted that, under his new health care proposal, people who like their current insurance coverage can keep their plans, The Hill's Nathaniel Weixel reports. "If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it. If in fact you have private insurance, you can keep it," he said. The remark echoed the now-infamous "if you like your doctor, you're going to be able to keep your doctor" claim employed by former President Obama in his pitch for the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010.

A staffer for Texas Rep. Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaA dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal Here are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban DCCC faces mass staff shakeup: 'It's the Monday Night Massacre' MORE (D) revealed this week that former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) will run for Texas Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Trump congratulates China on anniversary as GOP lawmakers decry communist rule Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state MORE's (R) seat in 2020. "Wendy spoke to the congressman directly that she plans on running," Vela's press secretary Abigail Sheppard told the Austin American-Statesman. 

FLASHBACK: Davis first made national headlines in 2013 when she led a 13-hour filibuster against anti-abortion legislation. She also took on Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for the governor's mansion in 2014, but lost by roughly 20 points. 


NBC NEWS/SURVEYMONKEY: Biden still leads the Democratic pack with 25 percent, but Warren and Sanders are tied at 16 percent, with Harris on their tails at 14 percent. Buttigieg trails at 8 percent, while Booker and O'Rourke came in with 3 percent each. 

GALLUP: Trump's job approval rating is near its all-time high and his second quarter average is the best of his presidency. From mid-April to mid-July, Trump's 10th quarter in office, the president had an average approval rating of 42.7 percent. That topped his previous best quarter of 41.9 percent, which came during his sixth quarter in office. Trump's current job approval is off its high mark of 46 percent -- reached in mid-April -- and stands at 44 percent as of July 12. 

The Gallup data does not account for the period surrounding Trump's latest controversy, in which he attacked four Democratic women of color in Congress, saying they should "go back" to other countries. And it's the second-lowest 10th quarter average on record for an incumbent president heading into a reelection year. Obama was 4 points higher than Trump, at 46.8 percent approval.

QUINNIPIAC: Harris leads in her home state of California, but not by much. The poll of Golden State voters put her at 23 percent support, 2 points ahead of Biden. Sanders and Warren are separated by only 2 points, scoring 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Buttigieg came in a distant fifth place with 3 percent support.

THE ECONOMIST/YOUGOV: Biden holds the lead with 23 percent support. He's trailed by Warren at 15 percent and Sanders at 13 percent. Harris and Buttigieg round out the top five with 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

MORNING CONSULT: Biden takes first place with 32 percent support among Democratic primary voters, while Sanders holds the second-place spot with 19 percent. Warren and Harris are in a statistical dead heat with 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Buttigieg finished in fifth with 5 percent support.



FROM 1600 PENN:  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE is claiming he tried to stop the crowd at his campaign rally in North Carolina this week from chanting "send her back," a reference to Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarNorth Dakota GOP state lawmaker shares debunked photo, calls Omar a 'terrorist' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (D-Minn.), who is a U.S. citizen. "I was not happy with it. I disagree with it," Trump told reporters on Thursday. "I think I did. I started speaking very quickly." But video of the event shows Trump waiting 13 seconds before continuing his address to the crowd. The chant has raised alarm bells among bipartisan lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

This is the latest episode in Trump's attacks on progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump CBS to Ocasio-Cortez on Sanders support: 'As a woman of color, why back an old white guy?' MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders MORE (D-Mich.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThese 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (D-Mass.) and Omar, who refer to themselves colloquially as "the squad." Trump faced intense backlash earlier this week after he launched a personal attack on the women, telling them to go back to other countries. All of the women are American citizens, and three of them were born in the U.S. 

While many political observers are questioning how much damage the president has done to himself with these tweets, The Hill's Niall Stanage reports that fears of violence are growing following Trump's comments and the chants at his rally. Meanwhile, The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports that Republican lawmakers are concerned about the rhetoric and trying to chart a path forward. 



NO PLACE FOR THAT: Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerGOP searches for impeachment boogeyman House GOP battleground poll finds opponents narrowly outnumber impeachment supporters Democrat running for Hurd's seat in Texas raises M in third quarter MORE (R-Minn.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), denounced Trump rallygoers on Thursday for chanting "send her back," in reference to Omar, saying that "there's no place for that kind of talk." But he didn't extend the same criticism to the president, The Hill's Max Greenwood reports. "What he was trying to say, he said wrong," Emmer said. "What he was trying to say is if you don't appreciate this country, you don't have to be here. That goes for every one of us. It has nothing to do with your race, your gender, your family history."

BATTLEFIELD 2020: With the 2020 census -- and the redistricting that will follow -- drawing close, the House battlefield could be the most expansive in generations. Population shifts and party realignments have reshaped the country's political landscape, a phenomenon that may put as many as 1 in 5 seats in play in 2020. That means that both Democrats and Republicans will likely find themselves defending seats in unexpected areas. Of course, it's not unusual for the electoral battleground to shift throughout the course of a decade. But the change is perhaps more prominent this time around, particularly in the Sun Belt, which has absorbed droves of new residents over the past seven years, The Hill's Reid Wilson writes.



THE MONEY RACE: Monday offered us our first full look of the presidential candidates' second-quarter financial reports. And while the top fundraisers didn't come as a surprise -- Buttigieg soared to the top, followed by Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris -- the filings underscore the widening gap between the Democratic primary contest's frontrunners and the rest of the pack.


Unsurprisingly, the biggest fundraisers are also the race's biggest spenders. Sanders tops that list, having spent nearly $13.9 million between April 1 and June 30. Meanwhile, Biden and Warren spent similar amounts in Q2 -- $10.6 million and $10.5 million respectively. Buttigieg dropped $8.5 million, while Harris spent $7.4 million. 


While the top fundraisers spent the most, several lower-tier candidates burned through their war chests at a much faster rate, including 11 who spent more money than they brought in during the second quarter.


Here's a look at who has the most cash on hand going into the third quarter of the year.




6 p.m. EDT: Bennet attends a house party in Salem, N.H. 



1:30 p.m. EDT: Castro will be in South Carolina for a series of events focused primarily on criminal justice issues.

3 p.m EDT: Buttigieg will be at the AARP Presidential Candidates Forum in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

2:30 p.m.. EDT: Biden will be in Las Vegas for a Day of Action phone banking event. 


  • There are 192 days until the Iowa caucuses, 207 days until the New Hampshire primaries, 218 days until the Nevada caucuses, 225 days until the South Carolina primaries and 228 days until Super Tuesday.



WARREN ON WALL STREET REFORM: The plan calls for a "21st Century Glass-Steagall Act" that would reestablish a firewall between commercial and investment banking, as well as new rules on executive compensation, among other reforms. Read Warren's full proposal here.


BIDEN'S PLAN FOR RURAL AMERICA: The proposal seeks to reconfigure U.S. trade policy to increase exports. It also seeks to make American agriculture the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions. Here's the full plan.


HARRIS ON PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES: The plan takes aim at the rising prices of prescription drugs by setting a "fair price" for what pharmaceutical companies can charge for medication. Pharmaceutical companies that sell a drug above the "fair price" would have their profits taxed at a rate of 100 percent. Read the full proposal here.


BIDEN'S HEALTH CARE PLAN: The proposal would preserve the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while creating a government-run public health insurance option. The plan also takes several steps that the Biden campaign says would lower prescription drug prices. Here's the full proposal.




Harris showcased her incisive rhetorical skills at last month's Democratic presidential debate when she confronted Biden over his opposition to federally mandated school busing in the 1970s. But her struggle to articulate clear positions on some key policy issues, as well as questions about her record as a former prosecutor, could open her up to criticism, Albert Hunt writes.


Calls to nominate a Democratic presidential candidate capable of uniting a politically divided country may be well-intentioned. But doing so appears out of reach for any eventual nominee, given soaring political tensions that have become difficult to soothe, B.J. Rudell writes.




Unlike NBC's announcement of their debate lineup, CNN put on a television special to announce the lineup of their debates, complete with multiple panelists and hosts. The network's anchors drew names and nights from a box for each tier of candidates, and were even filmed from multiple angles during the draw to ensure full transparency. 

In true CNN fashion, the special included panels galore, with a number of talking heads bookending each draw with their analysis. 

Viewers had a field day on Twitter, documenting the primetime event.



The special kind of reminded me of reality TV -- "The Hunger Games" comes to mind…

See you next time! And may the odds be ever in your favor.