The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch

The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch
© Greg Nash

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, and here’s what we’re watching this week on the campaign trail. 

 

LEADING THE DAY: 

99 YEARS LATER: As the nation prepares to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, the Trump campaign is preparing for an uphill battle to attract suburban women in 2020. 

The Trump campaign pushed to energize and mobilize suburban women ahead of 2020 in Tampa, Fla., Thursday night at an “Evening to Empower Event,” which was centered around commemorating the anniversary of women’s suffrage. The rally was one of many similar events being held by the campaign across the country Thursday night and featured a number of the president’s highest-profile female allies, including White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayVaping advocates feel confident Trump will turn from flavor ban Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Krystal Ball praises former McConnell aide's historic win in Kentucky MORE, Trump campaign adviser Katrina Pierson and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Trump himself called in to the event, warning that if he lost the election, it would be a “very, very bad day for the country.” 

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The strategy involves Women for Trump teaming up with the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative to target female voters in suburban districts in at least 13 states as the campaign looks to energize a crucial voting bloc to support Trump and other Republicans down the ballot ahead of the 2020 elections. 

Trump has faced backlash for how his administration’s policies affect women, as well as his own rhetoric about women, but the Trump campaign has expressed confidence it will be able to mobilize women ahead of the election, citing the administration’s record on health care and the economy. 

Still, recent polling paints a much different picture of Trump’s support among women, especially white suburban women, who helped Democrats win back the House in the 2018 midterm elections. An NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll released Monday found that 63 percent of white, college educated women said they would definitely or probably vote for the Democratic nominee in 2020. The same poll also found that 62 percent of all female voters polled said they would vote for the Democratic candidate in 2020, while only 30 percent said they would support Trump. 

The president also appears to be losing traction among white, non–college educated women, a group on which he has relied in the past. The NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll showed that 49 percent of white, non–college educated women said they would vote for the Democratic nominee, compared with 43 percent who said they would vote for Trump. 

Don’t expect the focus on female voters to go away anytime soon. The voting bloc dealt a blow to Republicans in 2018, with CNN exit polls showing that the group supported Democrats over Republicans in last year’s midterm elections by a 19-point margin.

Ninety-nine years after being granted the right to vote, women are sure to continue playing a pivotal role in the outcome of elections.

— Julia Manchester

 

READ MORE:

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is considering a primary challenge against Trump, saying that no Republican has had the courage to challenge the president. Former Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems, GOP dig in for public impeachment hearings Mark Sanford exits GOP presidential primary Pence files paperwork for Trump to be on New Hampshire ballot MORE (R-S.C.) is also considering a bid, while former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify Pence files paperwork for Trump to be on New Hampshire ballot Trump primary challengers to be excluded from Minnesota ballot MORE is already running. These candidates and potential challengers will get a lot of media attention in the coming days, but no one has a real shot at defeating Trump in the primary. Trump has a tight grip on the GOP, and the Republican National Committee has taken steps to ensure potential challengers cannot gain the traction necessary to unravel his reelection bid.

 

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHaley seeks to quell talk she could replace Pence Steve Schmidt: 'Overwhelming chance that Trump will dump Pence' for Haley Nikki Haley: Trump 'truthful' in 'every instance that I dealt with him' MORE, meanwhile, is trying to quash rumors that she will replace Vice President Pence on the ticket, The Hill’s Brett Samuels reports.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonWe still owe LGBT veterans for their patriotism and service It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number Bill introduced to give special immigrant visas to Kurds who helped US in Syria MORE (D-Mass.) became the third candidate in little more than a week to exit the Democratic presidential race. He’s set to announce his decision at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting in San Francisco on Friday, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports. “I want to use this opportunity, with all of you here, to announce that I am ending my campaign for president,” Moulton is expected to say, according to prepared remarks. “Though this campaign is not ending the way we hoped, I am leaving this race knowing that we raised issues that are vitally important to the American people and our future.”

 

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeO'Rourke ends presidential bid Sunrise Movement organizer: Sanders, Warren boast strongest climate change plans Overnight 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 MORE also dropped out of the race this week, saying on Wednesday that his path to victory had reached a dead end. “I’m not going to be the president, so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race,” he told MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowBiden town hall on CNN finishes third in cable news race Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat 'Anonymous' gets media frenzy without pesky scrutiny for new book MORE. His exit follows that of John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperKrystal Ball dismisses Rahm Emanuel's 'Medicare for All' criticism as a 'corporatist mantra' Trump says remark about Colorado border wall was made 'kiddingly' Colorado governor mocks Trump for saying he's building wall there MORE, a popular former Colorado governor whose presidential campaign failed to gain traction. 

 

Inslee isn’t giving up on politics though. He announced on Thursday that he would seek a third term in the governor’s mansion. “I want to continue to stand with you in opposing Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE and rejecting his hurtful and divisive agenda, while strengthening and enhancing Washington State’s role as a progressive beacon for the nation,” he said in an email to supporters.

 

Also on Thursday, Hickenlooper announced that he would run for Senate in his home state, instantly putting him atop the field of Democrats vying to take on Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' MORE (R-Colo.) in 2020. That’s good news for many Democrats, who had urged him for weeks to drop his presidential bid and turn his attention to the Senate. Gardner is seen as one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection next year, and Democrats see a win in Colorado as imperative if they hope to recapture control of the chamber.

 

The Hill: Democratic governors fizzle in presidential race

The Hill: Gabbard, Steyer move closer to making third Democratic debate

The Hill: Who's in and out in the 2020 race

 

SHAKE-UPS: Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyBloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't The Hill's 12:30 Report: Impeachment fight enters new stage Biden hits Warren over 'Medicare for All' plan MORE (D-Md.) shook up his campaign staff this week as he looks to lend momentum to his struggling presidential bid. Per Delaney’s campaign: “Xan Fishman will take over as Delaney’s Campaign Manager. Fishman was formerly Delaney’s Chief of Staff in Congress and has been working as a Deputy Campaign Manager. John Davis will serve as a Senior Advisor for the Iowa campaign efforts. Sasha Gluck has joined the Delaney Campaign as the National Finance Director.”

 

ODDS AND ENDS:

TWITTER BATTLE: Democratic House candidate Phil Arballo is taking aim at Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHere are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing Nunes pressed on Fox News about comparing impeachment inquiry to a 'coup' Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Calif.) as the congressman’s lawsuit against Twitter gets its first hearing in Virginia. 

The digital ad, released Thursday, takes aim at Nunes for suing Twitter, in addition to the congressman’s decision to sue four people living in his district. Nunes claims the four targeted by his lawsuit have worked with dark money groups to ruin his reputation. The ad marks the latest sign that the race for California’s 22nd Congressional District is heating up

 

POLL WATCH:

CNN-SSRS: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report Giuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry MORE surged to 29 percent support after dropping to 22 percent in June, while Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Poll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Press: Another billionaire need not apply MORE (D-Calif.) fell 12 points to just 5 percent among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Meanwhile, support for Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (D-Mass.) remained relatively steady. Sanders ticked up from 14 percent to 15 percent, while Warren moved from 15 percent to 14 percent.

 

THE ECONOMIST–YOUGOV: Biden sits in first place at 22 percent support followed by Sanders at 19 percent. Warren is the only other candidate to register double digits in the poll, notching 17 percent support. Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Buttigieg (D) round out the top five with 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

 

POLITICO–MORNING CONSULT: Biden is way ahead of the pack with 31 percent support. He’s followed by Sanders and Warren at 20 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Harris came in with 9 percent support for the third consecutive week, while Buttigieg registered at 5 percent.

 

OVERSHADOWED: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may be underestimated in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a flurry of new polling released in the last week. Meanwhile, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley reports that one of the most striking characteristics of this cycle’s Democratic presidential primary is the relatively soft support for top-tier candidates, even after an intense focus on the race by the national media.

 

POLICY ROLLOUTS:

MEDICARE FOR ALL: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) added a twist to his “Medicare for All” proposal, rolling out a provision that would offer certain advantages to workers who negotiate health benefits through their labor unions. Under that plan, the National Labor Relations Board could supervise workers’ contract negotiations after Medicare for All goes into effect, and companies would be required to return any health care savings under the single-payer system to employees in the form of better benefits or higher wages. The rollout of that provision has prompted criticism from Sanders’s rivals, who argue that it amounts to an acknowledgement of a crucial flaw in the Vermont senator’s signature policy proposal. Sanders’s aides rejected that accusation, saying that nothing in his existing Senate bill has changed.

 

 

CLIMATE CHANGE: Sanders unveiled a sweeping Green New Deal proposal to tackle climate change that he said would take on “the single greatest challenge facing our country” and create 20 million jobs, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports. The plan calls for a transformation in the country’s energy system to solely renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050.

 

DEPARTMENT OF PEACE: Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonYang seeks donations for 2020 rival Marianne Williamson: 'She has much more to say' Pushing results, not polarization, in New Hampshire Williamson focuses on reparations in first ad of presidential campaign MORE, the best-selling author and Democratic presidential candidate, proposed the creation of a Cabinet-level “Department of Peace” this week that would "work actively and interactively with every branch of government on policy matters related to both international and domestic peace issues.” At the domestic level, the department would focus on addressing the so-called school-to-prison pipeline and improving relations between police and the communities in which they serve. At the international level, it would work with other governments to resolve international conflicts, The Hill’s Zach Budryk reports.

 

MENTAL HEALTH: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Saagar Enjeti rips Buttigieg for praising Obama after misquote Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (D) unveiled his plan on Friday to improve mental health care and combat addiction, calling for imposing penalties on insurance companies if they do not provide coverage for mental illness and addiction. The plan also would expand access to treatment for opioid addictions and decriminalize mental illness and addiction through reentry programs. The plan would require every school across the country to teach “Mental Health First Aid courses," as well as combat loneliness and social isolation through a national campaign. 

The announcement from the Buttigieg camp comes after Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day MORE (D-N.Y.) unveiled her plan on this issue earlier this week. Gillibrand’s plan would invest in community-based approaches to mental and behavioral health, personalize the way the U.S. delivers mental health care and require insurance coverage for mental and behavioral health. 

 

FROM CONGRESS:

KANSAS SENATE: Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings Pompeo condemns 'deplorable' killings of Iraqi protesters MORE has said that he has no immediate plans to run for Senate next year in his home state of Kansas. But his actions this week have fueled speculation that he’s very much considering a bid to replace retiring Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Pressure builds on Pompeo as impeachment inquiry charges ahead GOP lawmakers fear Trump becoming too consumed by impeachment fight MORE (R-Kan.) next year. The New York Times’s Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — Buttigieg closes in on Biden, Warren in Iowa The Hill's 12:30 Report: Video depicting Trump killing media, critics draws backlash MORE and Lara Jakes report that Pompeo met with billionaire Republican donor Ronald Lauder in New York on Tuesday before meeting with the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, a conservative group that often meets with potential office-seekers.

 

Former Rep. Jason LewisJason Mark LewisTwo swing-district Democrats raise impeachment calls after whistleblower reports GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (R) is running for Senate in a challenge to Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithDemocrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump On The Money: Fed faces crossroads as it weighs third rate cut | Dem presses Mnuchin on 'alleged rampant corruption' | Boeing chief faces anger at hearing | Trouble for House deal on Ex-Im Bank Democrats renew push for contractor back pay from government shutdown MORE (D) in Minnesota.

 

MONEY WATCH:

RNC/DNC: The Republican National Committee raised nearly $21 million in July, marking its largest-ever off-cycle haul for the month. The Democratic National Committee raised just under $8 million last month.

 

DCCC/NRCC: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $7 million in July, surpassing the House GOP campaign arm, which raised about $4.1 million. The National Republican Congressional Committee is looking to goose fundraising by selling T-shirts praising Trump’s efforts to “help America grow” by purchasing Greenland.

 

DSCC/NRCC: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $4.8 million in July, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee was not far behind at $4.4 million.

 

Billionaire conservative philanthropist and activist David Koch died Friday morning at the age of 79. Koch had stepped away from the family enterprise for health reasons last year. His brother Charles Koch has been leading the influential Koch network.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

The Democratic National Committee holds its summer meeting on Friday and Saturday in San Francisco. Among the presidential candidates expected to speak: Sens. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetPress: Another billionaire need not apply Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows MORE (Colo.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent MORE (N.J.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharGoogle sparks new privacy fears over health care data Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE (Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanStrategists say Warren 'Medicare for All' plan could appeal to centrists Trump mocks O'Rourke after Democrat drops out of race The Memo: What the leading 2020 Dems need to do MORE (Ohio), former Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.), Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerSteyer scores endorsement from key New Hampshire activist Excitement over Bloomberg's trial balloon should concern Democrats New Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire MORE, Marianne Williamson and Andrew YangAndrew YangOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Is Andrew Yang's pivot working? New Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire MORE

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden has two events planned today in New Hampshire, including a health care town hall in Hanover and a community event in Croydon.

 

TWO FUN THINGS

FINDING HIS VOICE: While flight delays prevented New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDe Blasio slams Bloomberg run for president: He 'epitomizes the status quo' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Trump NYC Veterans Day speech met with protests MORE from appearing in person at the Iowa Federation of Labor forum in Iowa on Wednesday, the presidential candidate still laid out his positions on labor issues in a pre-recorded video, and even found his (chipmunk) voice along this way. 

 

A technical glitch with the video made de Blasio’s voice sound abnormally high-pitched, drawing chuckles from the crowd and some snark from campaign reporters on Twitter. 

 

 

But the mayor laughed the glitch off in a tweet, saying he would try his "best chipmunk impression" if it meant being able to share his message.

 

 

What do Lizzo, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin and Lin-Manuel Miranda have in common? 

 

All of them are featured — along with dozens of other artists — on a presidential contender’s playlist. The New York Times’s Astead Herndon took a deep dive with this analysis of presidential campaign playlists to see how the songs align with the candidates’ messages. Be sure to turn your sound on while you scroll through.

 

Have a great weekend! We’ll see you next time!