The Hill's Campaign Report: A debate over debates | Wisconsin mail ballots must be in by Nov. 3 | Who won Wednesday's VP debate?

The Hill's Campaign Report: A debate over debates | Wisconsin mail ballots must be in by Nov. 3 | Who won Wednesday's VP debate?
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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:



The debate over the presidential debates rages on. 

To recap: Thursday started with the Commission on Presidential Debates announcing that the next presidential debate, which was scheduled for Oct. 15, would be virtual. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE then told Fox News that he would not be participating in that format. The president’s campaign claimed it was not consulted before the format was changed, and campaign manager Bill StepienBill StepienParscale says Trump should have been more empathetic on coronavirus Former Trump campaign chief Parscale reportedly planning to write a book The Memo: Trump hits out as tide moves for Biden MORE accused the commission of working to protect Biden. 

The Biden campaign responded, calling for the final debate on Oct. 22 to be changed to a town hall-style format, which was the original format for the second presidential debate. 

But the Trump campaign pushed back on the notion of scrapping the second debate altogether, and said the president would participate in both remaining debates if they were both pushed back a week and held in person.

“We agree that this should happen on October 22, and accordingly, the third debate should then be shifted back one week to October 29,” Stepien said in a statement. 


However, the Biden campaign rejected the proposal for the debate dates to be moved, in what our colleague Jonathan Easley called “the latest development in a head-spinning back-and-forth.” 

“We accepted the three dates — Sept. 29, Oct. 15, and Oct. 22 — in June. Trump chose today to pull out of the October 15th debate. Trump's erratic behavior does not allow him to rewrite the calendar, and pick new dates of his choosing,” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager.

Now Biden is slated to take part in an ABC News town hall in Philadelphia on Oct. 15. 

And let’s not forget--- the fast-paced developments come less than 24 hours after the first and only vice presidential debate between Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMiddle East: Quick start for Biden diplomacy Hillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' Top intelligence official says China targeting foreign influence at incoming Biden administration MORE (D-Calif.). That debate had its own “pre-debate” over the placement of plexiglass on the stage. 

Seems so long ago now, doesn’t it?

READ MORE: Trump, Biden campaigns clash over debate timing, formats, by Jonathan Easley 

Pence, Biden and Harris are back on the trail in Arizona one day after the debate. 

Biden and Harris are making their first stop of the year in the state as a presidential ticket, and are set to meet with Native American tribal leaders in Phoenix before they start their “Soul of the Nation” bus tour in the state. 

Pence is making his fourth visit to the state on Thursday, headlining a “Make America Great Again” rally in Peoria. 


Wisconsin voters will have to have their mail ballots in by Nov. 3, according to a ruling handed down by a federal appeals court on Thursday. The decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals came after a lower court ruled that ballots received up to six days after Election Day should be counted as long as they’re postmarked by Nov. 3. The decision could have a disproportionate impact on Democratic voters, who are widely expected to vote by mail in higher numbers than Republicans. 

The Hill’s John Kruzel has more on the ruling here.

Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield raised $28.7 million in the third quarter of 2020, setting a record for a Senate candidate in her state. The haul, the highest amount in any quarter for an Iowa Senate candidate, helped send her into October with more than $9 million cash on hand in her challenge to Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP chairman: Defense bill to include renaming Confederate bases, but not Section 230 repeal Iowa losses underscore Democrats' struggles with attracting rural voters The Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election MORE (R). Ninety-five percent of Greenfield’s contributions in the third quarter were $100 or less.

More on Greenfield’s fundraising here from The Hill’s Tal Axelrod


Nearly 6 in 10 voters who watched Wednesday's vice presidential debate between Harris and Pence came away with the impression that Harris had outperformed Pence, according to a poll. In the CNN-SRSS poll of registered voters who watched Wednesday's match-up, 59 percent said that Harris had performed better onstage while 38 percent said that it was Pence who had outperformed his opponent. Perceptions of the debate were split along gender lines, with 69 percent of female debate watchers saying they thought Harris had won, compared to 30 percent for Pence, while 48 percent of male debate watchers said that Harris had performed better, with 46 percent siding with the vice president.

The Hill’s John Bowden has more here.