The Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate

The Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate
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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. Here's what we're watching this week on the campaign trail. 



ON THE DEBATE RADAR: Democrats are prepping to travel to Westerville, Ohio, for the party's primary debate on Tuesday. The New York Times, which is hosting the forum along with CNN, is billing it as the "Biggest.Debate.Ever." The debate will feature 12 candidates on one stage at Westerville's Otterbein University. While this debate may seem like a dime a dozen, given that it's number four out of 12, it's significant because it's the first presidential debate since Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE (D-Calif.) formally called for an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE


The presidential candidates have offered a number of different takes on supporting an impeachment inquiry, with many of them coming out in favor of the process after Trump's calls for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Warren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr MORE and his son Hunter. Biden himself took his strongest stance on impeachment this week, calling for Trump to be impeached while speaking to voters in Rochester, N.H. Other candidates, such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax Warren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash Yang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations MORE (D-Calif.), have fundraised off of impeachment. Expect the issue, which is already overtaking Washington, to be in the spotlight.

The debate will also be notable from prior debates as it could feature the largest number of women in history on a single debate stage at the same time, according to Gender on the Ballot. However, that may not happen if Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardBiden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee Delaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage MORE (D-Hawaii) decides to boycott the debate (a historic move in itself). Gabbard has bristled at the Democratic National Committee's debate criteria and claimed the Democratic Party and the mainstream media "are trying to hijack the entire election process."

The debate will air on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español, in addition to streaming live on and's homepages. We'll be giving you live coverage of the forum at, and our friends at Hill.TV will stream a live 30 min pre-show, as well as a post-debate show on The Hill's YouTube channel.

-- Julia Manchester



President Trump tore into House Democrats on Thursday night over their ongoing impeachment inquiry, accusing lawmakers at a rally in Minneapolis of attempting to "overthrow" his administration, The Hill's Morgan Chalfant reports. It was Trump's first campaign rally since House Democrats began examining whether the president's efforts to pressure foreign governments to investigate a top political rival warrant impeachment proceedings. 


Biden has long held out on calling for Trump's impeachment. But that changed on Wednesday when he forcefully declared that the president had "committed impeachable acts" and that Congress should move forward with the process, Julia reports. The former vice president stopped short of calling for Trump's removal from office, but his remarks signaled that he may be moving into a more aggressive phase in his campaign against Trump. 


Sanders said that he plans to slow down his pace on the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack last week. It was a stunning announcement for a candidate who has long sought to portray himself as a tireless fighter and it came at a time of declining support for his presidential campaign. But in a video message to supporters on Thursday, the Vermont senator insisted that he was "feeling great" and would get back on the campaign trail "as soon as possible," noting that he still planned to take part in the next Democratic primary debate on Oct. 15, The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports.



Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash MORE (D-N.J.) unveiled a plan this week to protect athletes' labor rights, including a proposed requirement that college athletes be compensated for the rights to their names, images and likenesses; Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBloomberg on 2020 rivals blasting him for using his own money: 'They had a chance to go out and make a lot of money' Senators want FERC to protect critical infrastructure from Huawei threats Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates MORE (D-Colo.) released a proposal to improve affordable housing; former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race MORE (D-Texas) is out with a plan to ramp up workplace protections for women and parents; and former Vice President Joe Biden is proposing two years of free community college and an expanded student loan program.


A number of 2020 contenders rolled out their plans on how to promote LGBTQ rights ahead of CNN and the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Town Hall Thursday in Los Angeles. The candidates were pressed on a number of LGBTQ issues, including the Equality Act, combatting violence against the trans community, and federal workplace discrimination laws. 



RETIREMENT WATCH: Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyAppropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal ICE emerges as stumbling block in government funding talks Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday that she will not seek reelection to her southern New York House seat next year, marking the end of a more than 30-year career in Congress, The Hill's Juliegrace Brufke reports. Lowey, 82, was first elected to the House in 1988 and rose to become the most senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.


Rep. Eddie Bernice JohnsonEddie Bernice JohnsonPelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention What has EPA been hiding about formaldehyde? Overnight Energy: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks MORE (D-Texas) announced that she'll run for one final term in 2020 after receiving "much pressure and encouragement" from her supporters. Johnson, who has served Texas's 30th District since 1993, said in a recording sent to voters in her district this week that she "fully intended to retire after my current term" but was convinced to remain in her seat through 2022, the Dallas Morning News' Gromer Jeffers Jr. reports.



Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are reshaping the way campaigns are financed, leaning on vast networks of small-dollar donors to power their operations while eschewing the big-ticket fundraisers that have long defined presidential races, Max reports. They were the biggest fundraisers in the third quarter, raking in nearly $50 million combined. Their fundraising hauls were significantly higher than those of other prominent contenders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who raised $15.2 million in the past three months.


Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Biden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee Delaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events MORE raised more than $2 million for his presidential campaign in the third quarter – his first since announcing his candidacy in July – his campaign said Thursday. The haul is the smallest of any Democratic candidate so far, but it's unlikely to matter much; Steyer has vowed to spend at least $100 million of his personal fortune on his primary bid and he's already received the support of enough donors to qualify for the fourth and fifth presidential debates, Max reports.


SHE RAISED HOW MUCH? Amy McGrath, the Democrat who nearly unseated Rep. Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrMnuchin to lawmakers: 'I'm highly encouraged you will' pass Trump's North America trade deal Kentucky Democrat moves closer to McConnell challenge Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths MORE (R-Ky.) in Kentucky's 6th District last year, raised $10.7 million in the third fundraising quarter for her challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Ky.), The Hill's Max Greenwood reports. For context, that's more than at least half a dozen Democratic presidential candidates and not far off from the $11.6 million raised by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for her White House campaign in the past three months.


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled in $27.4 million in the third quarter of the year, Julia reports, slightly less than the $29 million it raised in the second quarter but $6 million more than it brought in in the third quarter of 2017. The committee said that $14 million of the total third-quarter fundraising haul came via small-dollar donations and that the average online donation was $16. 


Planned Parenthood's super PAC is bankrolling a $45 million campaign to defeat Trump and vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2020, an effort that will include a "large-scale" grassroots organization and canvass, digital, television, radio and mail programs, The Hill's Jessie Hellmann reports. The campaign will target nine presidential and Senate battleground states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 



There are signs that support for President Trump's impeachment may be broadening beyond just Democrats, The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports. A handful of polls released this week show independents and a growing share of Republicans warming to the nascent impeachment inquiry or expressing concern about Trump's request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. That's a relief for some Democrats, who were worried that impeachment could backfire in 2020 and bolster Republicans up and down the ballot. There are other Democrats, however, who are approaching the polls with more caution, not entirely convinced that the pursuit won't come back to haunt them.




7 p.m. CDT: Trump will hold a campaign rally in Lake Charles, La., ahead of Louisiana's gubernatorial election on Saturday.



1 p.m. EDT: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Chicago Mayor Lightfoot to Buttigieg: 'Break that NDA' to have 'moral authority' against Trump Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (D) will sit for a talk with The New Yorker's David Remnick at the 20th New Yorker Festival in New York City.



2 p.m. EDT: Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and his brother, Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroPelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official MORE (D-Texas), will sit down with The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer at the New Yorker Festival in NYC.


There are 115 days until the Iowa caucuses, 123 days until the New Hampshire primary, 134 days until the Nevada caucuses, 141 days until the South Carolina primary and 144 days until Super Tuesday.



RED CARPET DEBUT: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) took a brief break from the campaign trail on Wednesday to join girlfriend Rosario Dawson for the red carpet premiere of the documentary "The Need to Grow," which is narrated by the actress. 



A number of outlets covered the appearance, including the Daily Mail, said in a headline that Dawson joined Booker on the red carpet. However, the senator was quick to correct the record. 



But that's not all! Booker joined Dawson again for the "Zombieland 2" premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday. 

Talk about a man about town! 

We'll see you next week with all of the latest campaign news!