The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in

The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in
© Getty Images

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 2020 election cycle just keeps getting more expensive...

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected BuzzFeed News finds Biden's private Venmo account Kid reporter who interviewed Obama dies at 23 MORE set the record on Friday for the most money spent on television and advertising by a presidential candidate — a staggering $582 million, per the ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics — surpassing the spending of former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergYang: 'Defund the police is the wrong approach for New York City' New York mayoral candidates go viral for vastly underestimating housing costs Melinda Gates tapped divorce lawyers in 2019 after Epstein links to husband: report MORE, who spent heavily during his short-lived bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

Biden’s spending also easily exceeds that of President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE, whose reelection campaign has spent about $342 million on advertising over the past two years. 

The Trump campaign announced Friday it had its best online fundraising day ever on the day of the debate, combining with the Republican National Committee to bring in $26 million, which will be used in part to go up on the airwaves in Minnesota, where a Republican nominee for president has not won since 1972.

The heavy spending isn’t limited to the presidential contest, though Democrats and Republicans running in the most competitive Senate races of the year spent like crazy in the first part of October in preparation for the critical three-week sprint to Election Day.

In the 15 closest-watched Senate contests of the cycle, candidates from both major parties dropped a combined $207.6 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings covering the pre-election fundraising period from Oct. 1-14. By comparison, they only brought in a little more than than half of that, a combined $134 million. 


The biggest fundraiser over the two-week period was Jaime HarrisonJaime HarrisonDNC announces funding agreement with state parties Democrats fundraise off of vote to remove Cheney from GOP leadership Democrats announce initial M investment ahead of midterms MORE, the Democrat challenging Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Trump critics push new direction for GOP Graham warns about trying to 'drive' Trump from GOP: 'Half the people will leave' MORE (R-S.C.) for his seat. Harrison’s campaign pulled in $22.1 million in the first half of October, about three times as much as the nearly $7.4 million raised by the second highest Democratic fundraiser for the period Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Top Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles MORE (D-Mich.).

But Harrison spent all of what he raised and then some, dropping nearly $26.6 million in a mere two weeks. Since the beginning of the year, he has raised nearly $100 million for his campaign. Now, he’s left with only about $3.5 million in the bank. 

In fact, nearly every Senate candidate across the 15 races spent more than they raised in early October. Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (D-Colo.), who’s facing increasingly grim reelection prospects, dropped more than $4 million despite raising less than $1.5 million; Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (R-Texas) raised only $1.3 million and spent upwards of $5.5 million; and Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) spent $5.7 million after raising only $1.8 million.

Of course, such deficits aren’t much of a surprise this close to an election. Candidates are in the final stretch of their campaigns and tens of millions of Americans are already voting, so they’re running up against time constraints.


Biden breaks all-time television spending record, by The Hill’s Reid Wilson

Trump squeezed by cash crunch in final sprint to the election, by Julia, Jonathan and Max

Jaime Harrison raises $22 million in two weeks for South Carolina Senate bid, by Max


Biden is doing cleanup today and Republicans are on the attack after Biden said at Thursday’s presidential debate that he would “transition” away from oil.

Biden quickly sought to clarify his remarks, saying he would eliminate subsidies for big oil companies, not oil manufacturers.

But Trump campaign manager Bill StepienBill StepienTrump adds veteran organizer to help run political operations: report Trump likely to form new super PAC Trump ready to make McConnell's life miserable MORE, in a call with reporters to tout their best online fundraising day ever, said the remarks would “put the nail in the coffin” for Biden in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, and possibly Ohio and Minnesota. 

Biden and Trump are also locked in a tight race in Texas, a traditionally red state where the comments could prove particularly damaging. 

The Trump campaign also released a new advertisement in Pennsylvania featuring Biden’s remarks on oil. 

Rebecca Beitsch and Morgan Chalfant have the story.


More than 55 million people tuned in to watch the final debate between Trump and Biden on Thursday evening, marking a decline from the first debate earlier this month when 73 million people tuned in. 

The debate also marked in a decline in viewership from the final presidential debate of the 2016 cycle when 73.2 viewers watched the forum with Trump and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit More than half of eligible Latinos voted in 2020, setting record MORE

The Hill’s media reporter Joe Concha has more on how the U.S. television networks fared with viewers during the 90-minute forum.