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The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats

The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats
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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. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:

SHOWDOWN IN IOWA: The nonaggression pact between Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls Senate Democrats want hearing on Pentagon vaccine effort MORE and Bernie SandersBernie SandersIntercept bureau chief says congressional progressives looking to become stronger force in 2021 Obama book excerpt: 'Hard to deny my overconfidence' during early health care discussions Americans have a choice: Socialized medicine or health care freedom MORE's campaigns came to an end on Tuesday night's debate stage, splitting the progressive world. It all started on Monday when CNN's MJ Lee reported that Sanders had told Warren he did not believe that a woman could be elected president. Sanders vehemently denied the claim, but Warren confirmed CNN's report in a statement later on Monday. Fast-forward to Tuesday evening at the debate stage in Des Moines, Sanders continued to deny he made the remarks, saying that of course a woman could be elected president. However, Warren stood by her statement. 

Then came the hot mic moment heard round the world. Warren confronted Sanders head on after the debate, saying he had called her a liar on national television. The uncomfortable exchange also brought heat on Warren, with some political watchers questioning if she chose to confront Sanders knowing the audio of the exchange would be picked up. Warren is a seasoned politician who has participated in a number of other televised debates during her political career.

Questions also arose about the timing of the conflict. Warren has been slipping in the polls, while Sanders's consistent support has seen growth. In fact, a Des Moines Register/CNN poll released last week shows Sanders leading in Iowa, with Warren three points behind. Sanders has also been leading in fundraising. The Vermont senator brought in a whopping $34.5 million in the fourth quarter while Warren totaled $21.2 million. All of this comes ahead of the first nominating contest in Iowa, where the Sanders campaign is remarkably organized, and building upon his 2016 performance in the Iowa Caucuses. 

Whatever the reasons for the Warren campaign's attack on Sanders, one thing is certain: the once unified progressive camp appears to be split, as Sanders and Warren take the gloves off. A number of Warren and Sanders supporters said they had feelings of betrayal, and the tensions were clear on social media.

However, there have been calls to unify. Sanders's wife, Jane Sanders, urged unity on Twitter on Thursday, while 18 progressive groups this week signed a pledge promising to keep their focus on hitting the "corporate wing" of the Democratic Party. 

We'll only know for sure how deep the split is among progressives next month during the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary -- two states where Sanders performed well in during 2016. 

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READ MORE: 

Biden could be winner in Warren-Sanders fight, by The Hill's Amie Parnes 

Warren-Sanders fight raises alarm on the left, by The Hill's Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes 

Sanders, Warren exchange underscores Iowa stakes, by The Hill's Reid Wilson

18 progressive groups sign unity pledge amid Sanders-Warren feud, by The Hill's Jonathan Easley 

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (D-N.J.) ended his presidential bid on Monday after months of polling and fundraising struggles, Max reports. The announcement brings to an end a campaign that for nearly a year sought to win over voters with a message and unity. But that message failed to gain traction among a Democratic electorate eager to confront President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE and his allies. In an email to supporters, Booker acknowledged that he no longer had the resources to compete in the Democratic nominating contest, which has largely become a four-way race. "It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I've always said I wouldn't continue if there was no longer a path to victory," Booker said. "Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win -- money we don't have, and money that is harder to raise because I won't be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington."

 

MEANWHILE, IN IOWA: Democratic voters in Iowa are increasingly anxious about whether any of the frontrunners in their party's primary fight can win in a general election against President Trump, The Hill's Reid Wilson reports. The four top-tier candidates -- Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg -- are battling it out to prove that they're more likely candidate to defeat Trump in November. But voters in the Hawkeye State are also aware of their weaknesses and fear that those shortcomings could cost Democrats the White House for the second time in a row.

 

BACK IN WASHINGTON: Trump is hitting Sanders over his vote against the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), accusing the progressive presidential candidate of turning his back on working-class Americans, Julia reports. "Socialist Bernie Sanders just proudly voted AGAINST new jobs and higher wages for American workers," the Trump campaign wrote in an email to supporters. "Sanders is willing to sacrifice blue-collar jobs and better wages, even as he enjoys flying fossil fuel burning private jets on an almost daily basis," the email continued. Sanders was the only senator currently in the presidential race to vote against the deal.

 

BEHIND THE SCENES: The top cybersecurity official on Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegConservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls LGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Buttigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration MORE's presidential campaign resigned earlier this month amid disagreements with campaign management, Max reports. Mick Baccio, a former Obama administration official who joined Buttigieg's team last summer, told the news site CyberScoop he decided to step down due to "fundamental philosophical differences with the campaign management regarding the architecture and scope of the information security program." Buttigieg's campaign confirmed Baccio's resignation on Wednesday, noting that they had hired a new security firm. Still, the resignation comes at a crucial time for the campaign. The Iowa caucuses are just 17 days away and concerns about foreign interference in the 2020 election are still high. 

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Jamal Simmons: The test Elizabeth Warren needs

David Schultz: Political science has its limits when it comes to presidential prediction

Liz Peek: Why Bloomberg should be on debate stage

Grady Means: The political earthquake propelling Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

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FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:

MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY: National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments 3 congressmen on Air Force One with Trump took commercial flight after president's diagnosis House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE (R-Minn.) said on Wednesday that House Republicans need to rely less on his group for financial support and must step up individual fundraising efforts, Max reports. "Our members need to get their act together and raise more money," Emmer said at a breakfast event hosted by the Republican-aligned Ripon Society. "The individual campaigns need to raise more money. They cannot expect somebody else is going to do it for them, and they're going to hear that from me when we come back after the break and we see all the final numbers."

 

THE TURNOUT GAME: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is spending six figures on an effort to encourage minority voters to register to vote in 12 battleground districts, The Hill's Rafael Bernal reports. The effort, named the Constituency Organizing Program, is intended to rally minority communities in nine Democratic-controlled districts as well as three vulnerable districts where a Republican incumbent is retiring. "We are not taking anything – or anyone – for granted in 2020. This on the ground investment in building trust with core communities is another early, intentional step to engage and organize in communities of color," DCCC Chairwoman Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosGOP sees chance to take out Democratic House campaign chief Energized by polls, House Democrats push deeper into GOP territory Cook Report shifts 12 House races, all but one toward Democrats MORE (D-Ill.) said.

 

BACK IN THE SADDLE: The political network backed by billionaire Charles Koch is poised to launch a broad election effort in 2020 and could involve itself in as many as 200 races, CNN's Fredreka Schouten reports. The news comes after the Koch Network announced that it would engage in the 2020 presidential race. While the group has its roots in conservative politics, it has backed some Democrats in recent years who align themselves with Koch's views on issues like trade and immigration. It's unclear how much the Koch Network will spend on this year's elections.

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RECRUITING WOES: Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Steve King defends past comments on white supremacy, blasts NYT and GOP leaders in fiery floor speech GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (R-Wyo.) will not run for the open Senate seat in her home state and will instead seek reelection to her House seat, The Hill's Juliegrace Brufke reports. In a statement on Thursday, Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said she believed she could have a greater impact by remaining in her leadership post. "I believe I can have the biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House of Representatives and working to take our Republican majority back. I will not be running for the Senate in 2020. I plan to seek re-election to the House of Representatives," she said.

 

POLL WATCH:

QUINNIPIAC NATIONAL POLL

Biden: 25 percent

Sanders: 19 percent

Warren: 16 percent

Buttigieg: 8 percent

Bloomberg: 6 percent

Yang: 5 percent

Klobuchar: 4 percent

 

MONMOUTH IOWA POLL

Biden: 24 percent

Sanders: 18 percent

Buttigieg: 17 percent

Warren: 15 percent

Klobuchar: 8 percent

Steyer: 4 percent

Yang: 3 percent

Gabbard: 2 percent

 

DES MOINES REGISTER/CNN IOWA POLL

Sanders: 20 percent

Warren: 17 percent

Buttigieg: 16 percent

Biden: 15 percent

Klobuchar: 6 percent

Yang: 5 percent

Steyer: 2 percent

Gabbard: 2 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

There are 17 days until the Iowa caucuses, 25 days until the New Hampshire primary, 36 days until the Nevada caucuses, 43 days until the South Carolina primary and 46 days until Super Tuesday.

 

ONE FUN THING: 

THIRD WHEEL: While the political world was abuzz over the Sanders-Warren post-debate confrontation this week, Tom SteyerTom SteyerTrump leads Biden in Texas by 4 points: poll Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein 2020 election already most expensive ever MORE's awkward entrance into the interaction came pretty close to stealing the show.

 

 

Steyer told reporters in the spin room that he wasn't really listening to what was being said during the tense encounter. 

 

 

"Whatever they were going on between each other, I was trying to get out of the way as fast as possible," Steyer said. 

Meanwhile, the internet had a field day with the interaction. 

 

 

Audio of the interaction was released by CNN on Wednesday, in which Warren notably confronts Sanders, saying he called her a liar on national television. 

Steyer is heard saying, "I don't want to get in the middle of it. I just want to say hi, Bernie." 

It's safe to say that Tom Steyer is all of us in an awkward situation. 

 

 

Be sure to tune in next week with all of the latest campaign news and headlines!