Campaign

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

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 Conway, 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." 

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

 

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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 Sanford (R-S.C.) is also considering a bid, while former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld 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 Haley, 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 Moulton (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 Inslee 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 Maddow. His exit follows that of John Hickenlooper, 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 Trump 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 Gardner (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 Delaney (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 Nunes (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 Biden surged to 29 percent support after dropping to 22 percent in June, while Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) fell 12 points to just 5 percent among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Meanwhile, support for Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (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 Williamson, 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 Buttigieg (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 Gillibrand (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 Pompeo 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 Roberts (R-Kan.) next year. The New York Times's Maggie Haberman 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 Lewis (R) is running for Senate in a challenge to Sen. Tina Smith (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 Bennet (Colo.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), former Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.), Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. 

 

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 Blasio 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! 

 

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