The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats set for critical debate in New Hampshire

The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats set for critical debate in New Hampshire
© Greg Nash

Welcome to The Hill's Campaign Report, your daily 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 today on the campaign trail. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:

MANCHESTER, N.H.-- The Democratic presidential contenders are prepping for tonight's ABC News/WBUR debate, even as the Democratic National Committee and the Iowa Democratic Party are reeling from the fiasco over the delay in Iowa's caucus results.

The debate comes at a critical moment in the early primary state sprint. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDrugmaker caps insulin costs at to help diabetes patients during pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Sen. Brown endorses Biden for president MORE (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession MORE have declared victory in the Iowa Caucuses after 100 percent of the results came in late on Thursday, essentially positioning themselves as frontrunners. 

The results, which may not be final due to the DNC's call for the state to recanvass the vote and possible errors in the latest count, though, highlight the key divide among Democrats. Buttigieg represents the centrist, establishment wing of the party, while Sanders is the standard bearer for progressives. Recent polling also shows Buttigieg surging in the Granite State ahead of the New Hampshire primary, which Sanders, who is from neighboring Vermont, won four years ago. 

Buttigieg could use tonight's debate to maintain his momentum into New Hampshire, while Sanders also needs the spotlight to sustain his lead in the state. All eyes will be on whether the two go head-to-head at the debate.

The night will also be a critical one for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic The Intercept's Ryan Grim says Cuomo is winning over critics MORE, as well as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Warren releases plan to secure elections during coronavirus pandemic On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Klobuchar's husband recounts battle with coronavirus: 'It just suddenly hit me' Hillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Wisconsinites put lives on the line after SCOTUS decision MORE (D-Minn.). Warren had an underwhelming turnout in Monday's caucuses. Biden, who has widely been considered the frontrunner since jumping in the race, came in fourth, according to the latest results. Klobuchar, who has struggled to jump out of the race's midtier, may also need a strong performance, as well. However, the Minnesota senator has performed strongly on past debate nights this cycle while still failing to get a boost.

--Julia Manchester 

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Jonathan Easley, Cate Martel and yours truly will be live from the debate tonight. Our dedicated team in Washington will also be watching. Follow along with us for tonight's debate coverage on TheHill.com, and on Twitter and Instagram @thehill. 

 

READ MORE: 

Five things to watch in the New Hampshire primary debate, by The HIll's Max Greenwood

Iowa debacle deepens division between Sanders, national party, by The Hill's Jonathan Easley

AP unable to declare winner in Iowa caucuses, by Max

Warren takes 'full responsibility' over report of women of color leaving campaign, by The Hill's Rebecca Klar 

Sanders says he does not consider himself the front-runner in the Democratic primary, by The Hill's Julia Manchester 

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Jonathan and Cate were on hand covering Sanders this morning at the "Politics and Eggs" event hosted by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. And yes, there were actually eggs. 

Sanders took a dig at Trump, who often refers to the press as "the enemy of the people," while addressing members of the press in the room. "Isn't it nice to go to an event where you're not considered the enemy of the people?" Sanders asked. 

The Vermont senator also took a swipe at Buttigieg, tying him to billionaire donors. "I like Pete Buttigieg. Nice guy. But we're in a moment where billionaires not only control the economy, but the entire political process," he said. 

 

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While a number of the candidates did not campaign on Friday ahead of the debate, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickTop Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Andrew Yang endorses Biden in 2020 race Deval Patrick backs Biden MORE, who will not be on the debate stage tonight, was out meeting with voters in the state. 

Patrick, who has struggled to gain traction nationally, has poured resources in New Hampshire, given its proximity to Massachusetts. 

He told reporters that despite the conventional wisdom from pollsters and pundits, he is making inroads with undecided voters, who will be critical in the Granite State. 

"We continue to campaign the way I campaign and the way I govern, which is about getting as close to people as possible," Patrick told reporters at an event at the Islamic Society of New Hampshire.

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"It's important to us that we beat expectations here," he said. "The expectations generally, not mine, are low because pundits and pollsters keep telling them they should be low. When you consider the number of undecided voters even this late, I keep making the point I'm not late for you, and people are responding."

 

The Iowa Democratic Party moved on Friday to extend the deadline for candidates to request a recanvass of caucus results amid concerns about reporting inconsistencies and errors, Max reports. Now, the campaigns will have until Monday to ask the party to reexamine the tallies, a process that would extend an already days-long delay in the results.

The party also said that the campaigns would have the opportunity to present documentary evidence of any discrepancies in the data. Sanders's campaign has already flagged several potential issues to the state party that it says cost the Vermont senator a handful of state delegate equivalents. If one of the campaigns requests a recanvass in Iowa, it could push the final results back days, meaning that the outcome of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday may be known before that of the caucuses.

 

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOutgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Utah) became the only Republican senator to vote to convict President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE on an impeachment charge this week. Now, Democratic presidential candidate Tom SteyerTom SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' MORE is seizing on a speech the former GOP presidential nominee gave on the Senate floor this week condemning the president's alleged actions. An ad released by Steyer's campaign on Friday shows a clip of Romney's speech, in which he declares outright that "the president is guilty." The clip is short, but it represents the first of what is sure to be many instances of Democrats using Romney's impeachment vote to bolster their case against Trump in 2020.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

This will be a wild weekend in New Hampshire, by Albert R. Hunt

Pelosi, Romney restore America's faith in democracy, by Maria Cardona

 

POLL WATCH:

WBZ-TV/BOSTON GLOBE/SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY NEW HAMPSHIRE

Bernie Sanders: 24 percent (-1)

Pete Buttigieg: 23 percent (+4)

Elizabeth Warren: 13 percent (+2)

Joe Biden: 11 percent (-1)

Amy Klobuchar: 6 percent (+/-0)

Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order The Hill's Morning Report — ,000,000,000,000: GOP unveils historic US rescue effort Gillibrand endorses Biden for president MORE 4 percent (-1)

Andrew YangAndrew YangJack Dorsey committing billion to coronavirus relief efforts Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Andrew Yang: Calling coronavirus 'China virus' only used to incite 'hostility' MORE: 3 percent (+1)

Tom Steyer: 3 percent (-1)

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

There are 4 days until the New Hampshire primary, 15 days until the Nevada caucuses, 22 days until the South Carolina primary and 25 days until Super Tuesday. 

 

ONE FUN THING: 

JUST PETE: We are WAY far out from the general election, let alone the Democratic convention. However, that did not stop comedian Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump: Tough times but progress being made Lady Gaga, WHO announce 'One World: Together at Home' TV special Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus MORE from asking Pete Buttigieg, also known as Mayor Pete, what he'd like to be called as president.

"If you end up becoming the 46th president of the United States, will it be President Mayor Pete?" Colbert asked Buttigieg on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" last night. 

"Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, technically, I guess it'd have to be president former mayor," Buttigieg responded

"Maybe not," Colbert added.

"Maybe just Pete," Buttigieg said. 

We're pretty sure "just Pete" is going to focus on getting through New Hampshire before he decides on any titles. 

Jonathan, Julia and Cate will be following the candidates all weekend in the run up to New Hampshire. Catch up with us on Monday in the latest edition of The Hill's Campaign Report, You can also keep up with Cate on Monday in the latest edition of The 12:30 Report.  

See you all soon!