The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges

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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. 



Aides and allies of former Vice President Joe Biden for weeks have dismissed concerns about his third-quarter fundraising haul, arguing that the $15.7 million he pulled in over the past three months is more than enough to allow him to compete in the early primary and caucus states.

That may be true, for now, but his third-quarter filings to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show some warning signs for the former vice president. Biden reported having just $9 million in cash on hand, significantly less than his top rivals for the Democratic nomination. What’s more, he spent more money than he brought in during the third quarter, leaving him with a burn rate of 112 percent.

By comparison, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has $33.7 million on hand, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has $25.7 million and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has $23.3 million. And they’re all spending money at a slower rate than Biden. 

But Biden isn’t the only one facing a spending dilemma. Indeed, roughly two-thirds of the Democratic presidential candidates face a similar challenge, one that could spell trouble for their campaigns in the months ahead. 

Here’s a rundown of how much the candidates are spending relative to what they’re raising. Note that we’ve excluded former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer, because their campaigns are largely self-financed.


Joe Biden: 112 percent (raised $15.7 million)

Michael Bennet: 116 percent (raised $2.1 million)

Cory Booker: 119 percent (raised $6 million)

Steve Bullock: 106 percent (raised $2.3 million)

Pete Buttigieg: 97 percent (raised $19.1 million)

Julián Castro: 113 percent (raised $3.5 million)

Tulsi Gabbard: 110 percent (raised $3 million)

Kamala Harris: 125 percent (raised $11.6 million)

Amy Klobuchar: 163 percent (raised $4.8 million)

Beto O’Rourke: 144 percent (raised $4.5 million)

Tim Ryan: 142 percent (raised $425,700)

Bernie Sanders: 85 percent (raised $25.3 million)

Elizabeth Warren: 76 percent (raised $24.6 million)

Marianne Williamson: 94 percent (raised $3 million)

Andrew Yang: 44 percent (raised $9.9 million)



Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart, via The Hill’s Reid Wilson and Max Greenwood



Biden faces a new threat from Buttigieg, who is fresh off an eye-opening debate performance and positioning himself to be a top contender for the support of centrist Democrats if the former vice president falters. The Buttigieg campaign says it raised $1 million from tens of thousands of donors in the hours after Tuesday’s debate concluded and recent polls show he’s on the rise in Iowa, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes report. 


The Hill: Five Takeaways from the Democratic debate.


The Hill: Who came out on top at the Democratic debate?


Democratic divisions over how to tackle Big Tech were on display at the latest primary debate as presidential contenders sparred over whether to break up Silicon Valley’s giants, how social media should handle President Trump’s tweets and whether the government is doing enough to prevent interference in U.S. elections using social media, The Hill’s Emily Birnbaum and Maggie Miller report.


Democrats are facing an uphill fight to win back Ohio in 2020 as Republicans look to solidify their grip on the Buckeye State two years after Trump carried it by 8 points, The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports.


Trump’s reelection campaign says it is hiring staff and opening field offices in Minnesota and New Mexico, two traditionally blue states the president’s strategists have identified as having potential to flip in 2020, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley reports.


Democrats are concerned the House impeachment inquiry could bleed into the primary season and take presidential candidates such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) off the campaign trail, The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports.



Michael Starr Hopkins: Democrats have reason to worry after last presidential debate.


Jessica Tarlov: Despite health concerns, ‘Bernie or bust’ is a potent political force.


Steve Israel and Tom Davis: Can Democrats and Republicans be friends again?


Valerie Jarrett: Democratic debates must include gender equity solutions.


Moira Donegan: Warren was attacked from all sides and didn’t bat an eye.


William Saletan: Democrats could be in trouble if they nominate Warren.



Warren wants to eliminate “big money” in politics, taking aim at donations from PACs and urging her fellow presidential contenders to be transparent in their fundraising (The Hill) … Sanders released new proposals that would aggressively raise rates on corporations and the wealthiest Americans (The Hill) … NARAL Pro-Choice America will host a presidential forum focused on reproductive rights and abortion (The Hill) … Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) has a plan to address barriers disabled people face during air travel (The Hill) … Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is pitching a $100 billion plan to fight what she characterized as Trump‘s “war on rural America” (The Hill) …



Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is running narrowly ahead of his Republican rival in what is likely to be one of the critical battleground states in next year’s election, The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports.


Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is the latest Democrat to endorse the primary challenger to Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), according to The Hill’s Julia Manchester.



Democratic presidential candidates raised a combined $186 million during the third quarter, setting a breakneck pace even as Trump stockpiles a massive campaign account.

Three of the candidates who hope to face Trump next year — Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg — have set themselves apart from the crowded field, both by raising more and keeping more money on hand than their rivals. The Hill’s Ried Wilson and Max Greenwood report.


Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue on Thursday announced that it has raised $297 million in the third quarter, putting it on track to raise $1 billion this year, The Hill’s Rachel Frazin reports.


Members of Congress are taking advantage of the Washington Nationals going to the World Series with a number of them planning fundraisers centered around the team’s appearance in the Fall Classic, The Hill’s Alex Gangitano reports.



MOODY’S ANALYTICS: Trump is on trajectory to win a second term in office according to three different historically accurate economic forecasting models.


EMERSON COLLEGE: Biden and Warren are tied in Iowa, with Buttigieg on the rise.


ECONOMIST/YOUGOV: Democrats have a 10-point lead on the generic congressional ballot.



There are 108 days until the Iowa caucuses, 116 days until the New Hampshire primary, 127 days until the Nevada caucuses, 134 days until the South Carolina primary and 137 days until Super Tuesday.



THE MCKINNON EFFECT: Comedian Kate McKinnon is back as a campaign staple after playing Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway on “Saturday Night Live” during the 2016 election campaign. McKinnon played Elizabeth Warren earlier this month on SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment and the Massachusetts senator’s campaign is taking note! 

Warren’s campaign used the segment in an ad earlier this week to tout her latest fundraising numbers. 

“You raised all of this money without any corporate donations, is that right?” “Weekend Update” host Colin Jost asked McKinnon’s Warren. 

“That’s right,” McKinnon replies. “That’s grassroots.”

The real-life Warren is then seen in a number of clips making phone calls to supporters.



Warren isn’t the only candidate to get spoofed on “SNL” this season. Maya Rudolph played Harris earlier this month, while Lin-Manuel Miranda played former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro after the show was criticized for not including Castro in a previous  skit. 

We’ll definitely be watching “SNL’s” next new episode to see which other candidates get spoofed. 

Have a great weekend! 


Tags Amy Klobuchar Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders Beto O'Rourke Cory Booker Daniel Lipinski Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Gary Peters Hillary Clinton Joe Biden John Delaney Kellyanne Conway Marianne Williamson Michael Bennet Pete Buttigieg Steve Bullock Steve Israel Tim Ryan Tom Steyer Tulsi Gabbard Valerie Jarrett

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