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.
LEADING THE DAY:
Former Vice President Joe Biden released lackluster third-quarter fundraising numbers on Thursday, bringing in $15.2 million, which is far less than Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It’s also a decline of about $7 million from Biden’s second-quarter haul.
The third-quarter fundraising totals are rolling in from the Democratic White House hopefuls, with Sanders leading the way with $25.3 million. Warren came in a close second with $24.6 million. Warren’s strong fundraising comes as several national and state polls show the candidate rising in the crowded Democratic field.
Buttigieg and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, both Washington outsiders, have also posted eye-popping totals.
Here’s the list of those who have announced so far:
Bernie Sanders: $25.3 million
Elizabeth Warren: $24.6 million
Pete Buttigieg: $19.2 million
Joe Biden: $15.2 million
Kamala Harris: $11.6 million
Andrew Yang: $10 million
Cory Booker: $6 million
Marianne Williamson: $3 million
Michael Bennet: $2.1 million
One big name isn’t on the list. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has surpassed Biden in a handful of recent polls, has yet to announce her third-quarter total.
Of course, all of those numbers combined don’t add up to the staggering total pulled in by President Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC), who combined to raise more than $125 million in the third quarter.
That’s back-to-back quarters now where the Trump campaign and RNC have surpassed the $100 million mark. If they keep up this pace, they’ll have raised well over half-a-billion dollars before Democrats even nominate their candidate at the convention in Milwaukee in July.
The Trump campaign is already spending too, putting $10 million behind new ads pushing back on impeachment and accusing Biden of seeking to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to protect his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of directors for an energy company run by a Ukrainian oligarch.
The campaign announced Thursday that $1 million of that ad buy would be placed in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina with the aim of damaging Biden in the early-voting states.
Democrats are up in arms over the ads, saying that there is no evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of the Bidens, although the apparent conflict of interest has been a drag on Biden’s campaign.
CNN is refusing to run the ad and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is pressuring Facebook to remove it.
Jonathan Easley: Social media giants in a 2020 vise.
Marina Pitofsky: Yang calls out CNN, MSNBC for leaving him off fundraising graphics.
The debate stage is growing larger: Twelve candidates will share the stage during the fourth Democratic presidential debate this month, the DNC announced on Wednesday, making it the most crowded single-night debate to date, Max Greenwood reports.
FROM THE TRAIL:
Bernie Sanders underwent a heart procedure after suffering from chest pains on the campaign trail and has canceled his campaign appearances until he recovers. The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports that doctors found a blocked artery and inserted two stents.
“Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits,” senior adviser Jeff Weaver said. “He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates.”
Sanders plans to participate in the Oct. 15 debate in Ohio.
Amie Parnes: Sanders heart procedure shines spotlight on age of top Democrats.
GUN DEBATE: Democratic presidential contenders made their case to gun control advocates Wednesday in Las Vegas at the first-ever 2020 Gun Safety Forum, The Hill’s Julia Manchester and Rebecca Klar report.
Biden’s campaign announced a $6 million media effort on broadcast and digital channels across all four early primary and caucus states, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports.
President Trump’s reelection campaign released a new advertisement accusing Democrats of carrying out a “coup,” The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports
And 12 years after the candidate of hope and change swept into the White House, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is testing whether another Democratic presidential candidate can ride a promise of renewing national unity to the White House, The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Joe Nocera: Warren is not a socialist.
Froma Harrop: Trump is intent on smearing Biden.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.): Socialism must never replace the American Dream.
EJ Dionne: Will impeaching Trump finally unify Democrats?
Eric Trump: Hypocrisy creates unlevel playing field in politics.
Mark P. Jones: What is behind the congressional ‘Texodus’?
Steve Israel: The absurdity of Trump picking the Democratic nominee
Brad Bannon: Impeachment will drown out the policy-driven campaign.
Biden unveiled a plan to combat gun violence, which includes banning the sale of automatic weapons and an optional buyback program (The Hill) … Five takeaways from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) sweeping labor proposal (The Hill) … Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro on Wednesday unveiled his sweeping “Workers First” plan that includes a slate of proposals seeking to empower workers (The Hill) … Tom Steyer released a plan to address gun violence by declaring a public health epidemic … Booker has a plan to cut child poverty (The Hill).
Internal polling from the House Republican campaign arm finds narrow opposition to impeachment across the key districts that will determine the balance of power in the House in 2020, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley reports.
Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) announced on Thursday that he would run to replace retiring Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) in Texas’s 17th District. Sessions lost reelection last year to Democrat Colin Allred (D-Texas) in Texas’s 32nd District, which he had represented since 2003. But instead of seeking a rematch with Allred in his old Dallas-based district, Sessions has set his sights on Flores’s district, which stretches from Waco in the north to the Austin suburbs in the south. Max Greenwood reports.
Presidential candidates aren’t the only ones putting out their third-quarter fundraising hauls. A growing number of House and Senate candidates are following suit. Remember, candidates for federal office have until Oct. 15 to disclose their raising and spending numbers to the Federal Election Commission, and more candidates are sure to release fundraising totals in the days and weeks ahead.
– Jaime Harrison, one of the Democrats challenging Republican Lindsey Graham for his Senate seat in South Carolina, pulled in $2.1 million in Q3. He ended the quarter with $2.6 million in the bank, his campaign says.
– Democrat Jon Ossoff raised $800,000 for his bid against Sen. David Perdue (R) in Georgia. Keep in mind, Ossoff got in the race in early September, so that total covers only a three-week period. His campaign says he’ll report $1.3 million in cash on hand.
– Democrat Cal Cunningham raked in $1 million in the third quarter. He’s challenging Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in North Carolina. He’ll report $1.1 million in cash on hand, per his campaign.
MONMOUTH: Warren is at the top of the pack, with 28 percent support, followed by Biden at 25 and Sanders at 15. The poll also found Trump’s reelection prospects unchanged amid the launch of a House impeachment inquiry, with 57 percent of voters saying it is time for a new president, while 39 percent said Trump should be reelected in 2020.
PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA: Warren, Biden and Sanders are locked in a three-way statistical tie in California. Warren leads with 23 percent, followed by Biden at 22 percent, and Sanders at 21 percent. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) came in at 8 percent in her home state, followed by Buttigieg at 6 percent support.
SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE: Biden and Warren are neck-and-neck, with the Massachusetts senator receiving 25 percent support in the Granite State, while Biden follows at 24 percent. The poll marks an 8-point jump for Warren since July. Biden saw a 3-point increase since the last poll. Sanders clocks in at third place with 11 percent, which is a 1-point boost since July.
WINTHROP UNIVERSITY: Biden holds a 20 point-lead in the Palmetto State, coming in at 37 percent support. Warren came in second place with 17 percent support. Sanders, Harris, and Buttigieg came in with 8 percent, 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY: Biden is leading in North Carolina by 11 points, clocking in at 31 percent support among the state’s Democrats. Sanders follows Biden with 20 percent support, while Warren carries 15 percent support.
EMERSON COLLEGE: Biden, Sanders, and Warren round-out the top three spots in the poll, coming in at 29 percent, 27 percent, and 21 percent respectively. Harris trails at 7 percent, followed by Buttigieg at 5 percent, and Yang at 3 percent.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
There are 122 days until the Iowa caucuses, 130 days until the New Hampshire primary, 141 days until the Nevada caucuses, 148 days until the South Carolina primary and 151 days until Super Tuesday.
ONE FUN THING:
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Rep. Joaquin Castro is throwing his hat in the ring to play his identical twin brother and presidential candidate, Julián Castro, on “Saturday Night Live.”
— Joaquin Castro (@Castro4Congress) October 2, 2019
The congressman’s offer came after Julián Castro’s presidential campaign and Latino Victory noted the candidate’s absence from an SNL skit last week that included host Woody Harrelson as former Vice President Joe Biden, regular cast member Kate McKinnon as Warren, and returning favorites Maya Rudolph as Harris and Larry David as Sanders.
Guess we’ll have to tune in on Saturday to find out if NBC execs took Castro up on the offer.
In other campaign news, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign staff sent dinner AND cookies to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign staff in Washington on Wednesday after news of Sanders’s heart operation broke.
A senior communications adviser to Sanders first tweeted out the news, adding that dessert was the first course.
big thank you to @TeamWarren for sending dinner to our dc headquarters. the team is very grateful (and started with the cookies first).
— mike casca (@cascamike) October 2, 2019
Warren, along with a number of other 2020 contenders, also sent Sanders her best wishes.
Bruce, Team Warren, and I are sending all our best wishes for a speedy recovery to @BernieSanders. I hope to see my friend back on the campaign trail very soon.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 2, 2019
While we know the campaign trail is competitive, we do love to see the camaraderie between rival candidates.
We’ll see you next Friday for the latest campaign coverage!