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The Hill’s Campaign Report: Rising Klobuchar, Buttigieg face test in diverse states

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:

ROAD TO NEVADA: New Hampshire’s top-three finishers have their sights set on Nevada and South Carolina today.

The states have vastly different political landscapes than New Hampshire and South Carolina —  and are more racially and ethnically diverse.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose campaign was criticized in 2016 for not having a diverse enough coalition, has spent months building a grassroots infrastructure to appeal to minority voters. The effort appears to be paying off. Sanders overwhelmingly won over Latino voters in Iowa. Only 6 percent of the state’s voters are Latino; those numbers will be higher in Nevada, providing a potential boost for Sanders.

Tech company Plus Three reported that Latinos gave $23 million to Democratic presidential candidates last year and that Sanders received $8.3 million of those donations, according to NBC News.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), though, will face an uphill battle appealing to minority voters in the next two states. The two have to contend with their past records on issues touching on race as they look to win votes from minority communities.

Buttigieg has faced scrutiny for his decision to demote South Bend’s first-ever African American police chief for secretly recording one of his white officers, as well as his response to the police shooting of an unarmed black man last year. Klobuchar has faced criticism from Black Lives Matter and Minnesota’s NAACP for her work as Hennepin County’s district attorney, in particular for a case which involved the sentencing of a black teenager to life in prison in 2002. Critics have pointed to what they say was a lack of evidence and questions about the police handling of the investigation. And a co-defendant confessed to the crime and said the sentenced teen, Myon Burrell, wasn’t on the scene. 

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Adding to the challenge for Klobuchar and Buttigieg, the two haven’t spent much time in Nevada and South Carolina, making themselves less known to voters there, including minorities. 

“I don’t think many people have even heard of either candidate,” one Democratic strategist told The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Rafael Bernal in their piece on the road ahead for Klobuchar and Buttigieg. 

Both of these candidates will likely meet with minority voters in Nevada and South Carolina to introduce themselves and make their case. Klobuchar and Buttigieg are both slated to address the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Presidential Forum in Las Vegas on Thursday, alongside Sanders and fellow White House hopeful Tom Steyer

But they may have little time to change minds with Nevada voting on Feb. 22 and South Carolina a week later.

–Julia Manchester 

 

READ MORE: 

The Hill: Senate Democrats queasy over Sanders.

The Hill: Bloomberg says stop-and-frisk comments are reflective of how he thinks.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Groups supporting President Trump‘s reelection bid raised upwards of $60 million in January and now have more than $200 million on hand, his campaign said on Thursday.

 

Buttigieg is building out his team in Super Tuesday states, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports. The former South Bend, Ind., mayor’s campaign announced Thursday it would expand existing staff to help build and train thousands of grassroots volunteer networks in every congressional district across all of the 14 Super Tuesday states. Buttigieg will also travel to California, Utah, North Carolina and Virginia in the coming weeks and is releasing a new digital ad campaign across seven of the 14 states. Collectively, the states that vote on March 3 account for about a third of all pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is drawing on the relationships he spent years building with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to lend credence to his presidential campaign. The Hill’s Scott Wong reports that Bloomberg has landed more than a dozen endorsements from establishment Democrats in Washington since launching his White House bid in November. More than half of those 13 endorsements came in the past week alone. On Wednesday, three Congressional Black Caucus members — Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.) — threw their support behind Bloomberg even as he faced criticism over his past defense of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy used by New York City police during his tenure as mayor. And on Thursday, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) endorsed Bloomberg, citing the former mayor’s anti-gun violence advocacy. 

 

Nevada’s powerful Culinary Workers Union declined on Thursday to endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential race, The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel reports. The union plays a crucial role in mobilizing its members to vote, and its decision not to back a specific candidate is a major blow to hopefuls like former Vice President Joe Biden, who had sought the group’s support. The decision came amid a dispute between the union and Sanders after the union posted a flier criticizing the senator’s signature Medicare for All proposal. That enraged Sanders’s supporters, and the union accused some of them of harassing its members. Ultimately, the Culinary Union declined to back a specific candidate. “We will endorse our goals, we’re not going to endorse a political candidate. We respect every single political candidate right now,” secretary-treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said.

  

PERSPECTIVES:

Matt Taibbi: In supreme irony, horse race favors Bernie Sanders.

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Las Vegas Weekly: Klobuchar or Biden for president.

B.J. Rudell: New Hampshire primary turnout a boost to Democrats.

Bill Schneider: New Hampshire Democrats did their jobs.

 

FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:

A new poll shows a tight race between Republicans seeking to unseat Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is at 31 percent, followed by former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville at 29 percent and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) at 17 percent.

 

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Top black members of Congress sent a letter to Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez venting frustration about the bungled Iowa caucuses and asking for a meeting to discuss their concerns with him, BuzzFeed reports.

 

POLL WATCH:

MORNING CONSULT – NATIONAL

Sanders: 29 percent (+4)

Biden: 19 percent (-3)

Bloomberg: 18 percent (+1)

Buttigieg: 11 percent (+/-0)

Warren: 10 percent (-1)

Klobuchar: 5 percent (+2)

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS/MASON DIXON – ALABAMA SENATE PRIMARY

Jeff Sessions: 31 percent

Tommy Tuberville: 29 percent

Bradley Byrne: 17 percent

Roy Moore: 5 percent

Other: 2 percent

Undecided: 16 percent

 

Also, 14 states will vote on March 3, or Super Tuesday, when about one-third of all the convention delegates will be allocated. The Hill’s Tal Axelrod has the rundown here of where the 2020 candidates stand in the polls in those states as the election goes national.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

There are 9 days until the Nevada caucuses, 16 days until the South Carolina primary and 19 days until Super Tuesday. 

 

CNN will host town hall events with five Democratic presidential candidates next week ahead of the Nevada caucuses. The first round of forums will begin on Tuesday. Here’s the full lineup:

 

TUESDAY, FEB. 18

8 p.m. EST: Bernie Sanders

9 p.m. EST: Pete Buttigieg

10 p.m. EST: Amy Klobuchar

 

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19

8 p.m. EST: Joe Biden

9 p.m. EST: Elizabeth Warren

  

ONE FUN THING: 

MEME CAMPAIGN: Bloomberg is quite literally launching a meme campaign as part of his 2020 presidential bid, and a broader play to attract GenZ voters. 

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Bloomberg’s campaign has teamed up with Meme2020 to push out clever and funny ads to first time voters. 

Mick Purzycki is the mastermind before Meme2020, and also serves as the CEO of Jerry Media. 

You’ve probably come across Jerry Media’s F*** Jerry Instagram account, which often posts witty memes aimed at GenZers and millennials. 

In fact, this Bloomberg meme was posted on the account last night. 

 

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 

He does look pretty cool (and yes this is really #sponsored by @mikebloomberg)

A post shared by FUCKJERRY (@fuckjerry) on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:19pm PST

 

Bloomberg’s meme game is just part of a broader strategy to attract, and maybe even fire up, young and first-time voters. It also gives us another look at his Super Tuesday strategy. 

We’ll see you again tomorrow with the latest campaign news! 

 

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