The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field

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. 




THE GROWING PACK: Last week we told you that former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned MORE was mulling a Democratic presidential bid, and he has since filed to run in Alabama’s primary. Fast forward one week later, and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickIt’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Top Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Andrew Yang endorses Biden in 2020 race MORE has officially jumped into the Democratic race, filing to run in the New Hampshire Primary. 

Patrick first made the announcement in a YouTube video on Thursday, and spoke more about his decision later on CBS This Morning. The former governor is positioning himself as a unifying figure who can bring the centrist and progressive wings of the Democratic Party together. Remember, we’ve seen the gloves come off between former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, who is seen as a centrist candidate, and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) a popular progressive. 

But does he stand a chance? Most likely not in the long term. History tells us that late primary entrants (think Wesley Clarke in 2004 and Fred Thompson in 2008) have not been successful. Patrick will also face an uphill climb in upping his name recognition and fundraising. 

However, Patrick has a chance to impact some key, early primary contests. The former Massachusetts governor is known in neighboring New Hampshire, which puts him in competition with fellow New Englanders Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) and Warren. Patrick could also connect with African American voters in South Carolina and put a dent in Biden’s strong support among the Palmetto State’s black community. 

Predictions aside, the latest 2020 bid has political watchers scratching their heads. Why would Patrick, who ruled out a 2020 bid last year, enter a crowded presidential primary so late in the game? The Hill’s Amie Parnes reported this week that a number of donors and grassroots voters are concerned that the current set of candidates aren’t strong enough to go head to head with Trump next year. 

Some view Biden as past his prime and unable to excite an increasingly left-leaning Democratic Party. Meanwhile, others view Warren as too far to the left, potentially alienating herself from more moderate general election voters. 

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2016 Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE even said earlier this week that she’s under “enormous pressure” to launch a 2020 bid, but maintained that a presidential run is “absolutely not” part of her plans right now.

But some polls have also suggested that many Democrats worried the field was too big at times.

It’s hard to say whether the field will grow or shrink ahead of the Iowa Caucuses in February, but it’s clear that some candidates think a number of voters and donors are getting cold feet with their current options. 

— Julia Manchester



The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary, by Niall Stanage 

Deval Patrick: Some 2020 Democrats invoking nostalgia, others taking ‘our big idea or no way’ approach, by Julia Manchester 



The largest outside group supporting President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s reelection believes it’s identified some of the “hidden” supporters that could tip the balance of the 2020 election in favor of Republicans. Pollsters hired by America First Policies (AFP) have spent the past two months interviewing hundreds of self-described independent voters at focus groups conducted in major cities across nine battleground states.


A source close to the group shared videos of the interviews with The Hill, which featured Trump voters from 2016 revealing that they would not discuss their support for the president with pollsters or acquaintances because they were afraid of backlash from the media and their friends or family. Read the latest from The Hill’s Jonathan Easley.


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and businessman Andrew Yang are outpolling some better-known Washington insiders, highlighting the ongoing desire for outsider and insurgent candidates in national politics, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley reports.


Longtime allies to Joe Biden are expressing confidence that Michael Bloomberg does not represent a threat to their candidate if he enters the race, with one Biden ally calling a bid by the former New York City mayor “laughable,” writes The Hill’s Amie Parnes.

Bloomberg’s campaign-in-waiting is doing cleanup on some of the former New York City mayor’s past remarks about women, according to The New York Times.


In an era of nationalized elections, and at a moment when President Trump dominates the political conversation like no one before him, Warren’s campaign has turned to an old maxim favored by former Speaker Tip O’Neill (D), another Massachusetts politician: All politics is local. Read The Hill’s Reid Wislon.



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) would play a “very important role” in his administration if he is elected president in 2020. Sanders is riding high after receiving the endorsement from the nation’s largest nurses union.


Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanMinnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen Congress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left MORE (D-Ohio), a former 2020 White House contender, will back Biden in the race for the nomination.


Former Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordThe Memo: Can the Never Trumpers succeed? Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party Trump becomes presumptive GOP nominee after sweeping primaries MORE (R-S.C.) has ended his longshot challenge to Trump for the GOP nomination.




Liz Peek: Impeachment distracting from Democrats’ chaotic presidential primary race

Brad Bannon: Excitement over Bloomberg’s trial balloon should concern Democrats

Michael Starr Hopkins: What are Republicans going to do after Donald Trump leaves office?

Matthew J. Brouillette: Pennsylvania’s other election-night story

David Levine: What the Election Assistance Commission needs in its next leaders



Yang is proposing a Department of Attention Economy as a tool to help regulate the fast-growing tech industry (The Hill) … Biden has a $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan (The Hill) … Former San Antonio Mayor Julian CastroJulian CastroNew York legislature votes to release disciplinary records for officers Trump calls New York Times ‘fake newspaper’ after headline change Castro, Warren, Harris to speak at Texas Democratic virtual convention MORE has released a sweeping disabilities plan (The Hill).



The last Democratic governor in a Deep South state is battling for his political life against a well-financed Republican challenger in the final major election contest of 2019 taking place Saturday in Louisiana.


The Hill’s Reid Wilson: Public polls show Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) running narrowly ahead of businessman Eddie Rispone (R), a first-time candidate who has sunk more than $12 million into his own race. Two polls out this week show Edwards leading Rispone by just 2 percentage points, well within the margin of error.


Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R), who was often the target of President Trump’s ire during his time in the administration, is vowing to work for Trump’s endorsement in the 2020 Alabama Republican Senate primary, The Hill’s Justin Wise reports.


Kentucky has begun a recanvass in the state’s gubernatorial race after a Democratic challenger appeared to beat the incumbent GOP governor by more than 5,000 votes, The Hill’s Rachel Frazin reports.


She Should Run, the nonpartisan organization that encourages women to run for office, is expanding its mission to bring women into the process in ways other than being a candidate. The Hill’s Rebecca Klar reports.


Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. is running to be the Republican governor of Utah again.



A year before the 2020 presidential election, Democratic groups are filing lawsuits in new and emerging battleground states, challenging election laws and procedures they say disproportionately affect young and minority voters. Reid Wilson reports.

The Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur filed to run for the House seat vacated by former Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), who resigned following a House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with staffers.



The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raked in more than $12.2 million last month, blowing past the $7.68 million raised by the group in October 2017 and giving it its best-ever October haul in a non-election year, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports. The latest fundraising total puts the committee on track to surpass its third-quarter sum of $27.4 million in the final three months of the year.


South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE is upping his investment in South Carolina, announcing on Thursday that his campaign would spend $2 million on radio advertisements in the Palmetto State. One 60-second spot released by Buttigieg’s campaign hones in on his military service in Afghanistan, contrasting it with Trump’s track record. “I don’t have to throw myself a military parade to see what a convoy looks like ‘cause I was driving one around Afghanistan right about the time this president was taping Season 7 of The Celebrity Apprentice,” Buttigieg says in the ad spot.


The conservative nonprofit American Action Network (AAN) unveiled a $2 million ad campaign this week urging vulnerable House Democrats to oppose Trump’s impeachment, Tal reports. The campaign targets 30 Democrats in particular who face reelection next year in districts that Republicans are eager to take back. A separate set of ads praises seven vulnerable GOP members as “working for us” and “standing against impeachment.” 



PRIORITIES USA: A plurality of voters in key battleground states – Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – back impeaching and removing Trump from office, a finding that could portend trouble for the president as he heads into an expectedly volatile reelection bid. Trump fares the worst in Florida, where 51 percent of respondents support impeachment and 45 percent oppose it. That’s a big deal; Trump won each of those four states in 2016, and his campaign sees them as crucial if he hopes to win another term in the White House.


MONMOUTH: Buttigieg has pulled ahead of his top rivals in Iowa, scoring 22 percent support in the latest Monmouth poll of the state. Biden and Warren and statistically tied for second at 19 percent and 18 percent respectively, while Sanders took third place with 13 percent support.


QUINNIPIAC: Biden leads the pack in New Hampshire with 20 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters. Meanwhile, Warren, Buttigieg and Sanders are statistically tied for second place, taking 16 percent, 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively. 



The next Democratic presidential debate is slated for Wednesday, Nov. 20 in Atlanta. 


There are 80 days until the Iowa caucuses, 88 days until the New Hampshire primary, 99 days until the Nevada caucuses, 106 days until the South Carolina primary and 109 days until Super Tuesday. 



TRAIL MIX: Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) is praising one of his fellow senators and 2020 opponents for their vegan efforts on the campaign trail. 

Booker gave Bernie Sanders a shout out on Twitter after The New York Times reported that the Vermont senator “recently ate a vegan breakfast.” 

“You love to see it,” Booker said in a tweet. 



The reporting comes six weeks after Sanders suffered a heart attack on the trail. 

But that’s not all. The Times reported that Sanders’ wife, Jane, has encouraged her husband to eat healthier on the trail. 

And FWIW, Sanders’ most common order at Panera is a soup and salad. 

We gotta commend Bernie Sanders for his healthy choices. You can’t lose with some self-care.

We’ll see you next week for more campaign news! 


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