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 ConwayPsaki defends move to oust Trump appointees from military academy boards Defense & National Security: The post-airlift evacuation struggle Conway and Spicer fire back at White House over board resignation requests 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 SanfordMark Sanford calls Graham 'a canary in the coalmine' on GOP's relationship with Trump Top cyber Pentagon official overseeing defense contractor project placed on leave Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (R-S.C.) is also considering a bid, while former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldThe Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Ralph Gants, chief justice of Massachusetts supreme court, dies at 65 The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden visits Kenosha | Trump's double-voting suggestion draws fire | Facebook clamps down on election ads 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 HaleyNikki HaleyHarris to hold fundraiser for McAuliffe ahead of Virginia governor's race Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid Trump schedules rallies in Iowa, Georgia 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 MoultonHow lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation GOP lawmaker says he did not threaten US Embassy staff in Tajikistan House panel approves B boost for defense budget 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 InsleeWashington state troopers, firefighters sue over vaccine mandate Washington state enacting mask mandate for large outdoor events Seattle arena requiring fans to be vaccinated, wear masks for Kraken games 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 MaddowRachel Maddow extends contract with MSNBC: reports OAN loses appeal in defamation lawsuit against Rachel Maddow Nunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him MORE. His exit follows that of John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperNY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case Florida Democrat becomes latest breakthrough COVID-19 case in House Wicker says he's recovered from coronavirus 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 TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right 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 GardnerProtecting the outdoors: Three cheers for America's best idea Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program 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 DelaneyDirect air capture is a crucial bipartisan climate policy Lobbying world Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis 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 NunesLIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means begins Day 2 on .5T package Biden faces unfinished mission of evacuating Americans Nunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him 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 BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE surged to 29 percent support after dropping to 22 percent in June, while Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisLive coverage: California voters to decide Newsom's fate Florida woman faces five years in prison for threatening to kill Harris Australia's COVID overreaction could come to US MORE (D-Calif.) fell 12 points to just 5 percent among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Meanwhile, support for Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack trillion tax hike the opposite of 'good investment' Progressive groups call for Puerto Rico Fiscal Control Board to be abolished MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Boston set to elect first female mayor Progressive groups call for Puerto Rico Fiscal Control Board to be abolished 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 WilliamsonMarianne Williamson calls federal judge's handling of Steven Donziger case 'unconstitutional' Marianne Williamson calls on Biden to drop efforts to extradite Assange Susan Sarandon and Marianne Williamson call for justice in Steven Donziger case 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 ButtigiegPete ButtigiegPete and Chasten Buttigieg welcome twins Coalition urges Democrats to restore billion in transit funding Say it ain't so, Joe 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 GillibrandHochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees The FBI comes up empty-handed in its search for a Jan. 6 plot 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 PompeoMike PompeoAmerica needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries Harris to hold fundraiser for McAuliffe ahead of Virginia governor's race It's in our interest to turn the page on relations with Suriname 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 RobertsBob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Kan.) next year. The New York Times’s Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanJuan Williams: Trump's coup attempt should bar him from 2024 race Still in the game: Will Durham's report throw a slow curveball at key political players? The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers give grueling, horrific accounts of Jan. 6 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 LewisRep. Angie Craig defends Minnesota House seat in race clouded by legal confusion Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Klobuchar 'feeling good' about Democrats taking control of Senate MORE (R) is running for Senate in a challenge to Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Democratic leaders vow climate action amid divide Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill On The Money — The Democratic divide on taxes 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 BennetConservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan Lawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform MORE (Colo.), Cory BookerCory BookerDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Fighting poverty, the Biden way Top Senate Democrats urge Biden to take immediate action on home confinement program MORE (N.J.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSeven takeaways from California's recall election Live coverage: California voters to decide Newsom's fate Overnight Hillicon Valley — Ex-US intel operatives pay to settle hacking charges MORE (Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanHawley endorses Vance in Ohio Senate race Congress should know what federal agencies are wasting  Trump administration trade rep endorses JD Vance in Ohio Senate race MORE (Ohio), former Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.), Tom SteyerTom SteyerOvernight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline Six things to watch as California heads for recall election MORE, Marianne Williamson and Andrew YangAndrew YangAndrew Yang planning to launch third party: report Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Kings launch voting rights effort honoring John Lewis 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 BlasioOcasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary Macy's to resume Thanksgiving Day Parade with masks, vaccines 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!