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.
LEADING THE DAY:
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS: The Democratic contenders are gearing up for tomorrow’s Nevada caucuses. The contest will be vastly different from Iowa and New Hampshire, two states which are largely rural and white. 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 is banking on a comeback in the Silver State, with his campaign citing his ties and popularity with the African American and Hispanic communities. Former 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 and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon 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 Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.), who performed well in the first two states, will have to contend with a much more diverse group of voters in Nevada. Neither of them have polled particularly well with minorities, and both have baggage on the issue of policing.
On the progressive front, 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.) is leading recent polling in Nevada. Sanders lost the state to 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 in 2016 by roughly 5 points. Despite not having much standing with voters of color in 2016, Sanders’s campaign has since made an effort to reach out to minority communities and has especially made in-roads with young Hispanic and African American voters. However, his fellow progressive 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.) is coming off of a strong debate performance in Las Vegas, which could give her a much-needed boost in the state. Warren’s campaign announced on Thursday that it raised $5 million since the Wednesday night debate. Warren’s also received quite a bit of media attention from debate night. A successful showing for Warren in the caucuses has the potential to peel progressive support away from Sanders.
But it’s not only the winners and losers we’ll be looking out for in the contest. Nevada’s caucuses are the first since Iowa’s caucuses earlier this month, which were mired in chaos after the app used to count votes failed.
Our colleague Maggie Miller reported this week that experts and officials have anxiety over the Nevada Democratic Party’s plans to use a Google calculator uploaded to new iPads to tally results. The Nevada Democratic Party originally planned to use the same app the Iowa Democratic Party used, which was built by Shadow, Inc., but immediately announced it would abandon those plans after the Iowa debacle.
Keep up with TheHill.com for the latest in Nevada results. Jonathan Easley will be on the ground in Nevada, while Max Greenwood and I will hold down the fort here in Washington.
Five takeaways from new fundraising reports for 2020 Democrats by The Hill’s Max Greenwood
The Memo: Chaos deepens among Democrats after Bloomberg’s misfire by The Hill’s Niall Stanage
Progressives hope Nevada offers roadmap for pro-union 2020 victory by The Hill’s Jonathan Easley
FROM THE TRAIL:
Bloomberg cleared the way on Friday for three women who have accused the former New York City mayor of sexist and misogynistic behavior to be released from nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) barring them from speaking publicly about their allegations, Max reports. In a statement, Bloomberg said that his company, Bloomberg LP, had identified three nondisclosure agreements it had entered into with women who have accused the former mayor and billionaire businessman of making inappropriate and offensive comments. “If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release,” Bloomberg said. “I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days and I’ve decided that for as long as I’m running the company, we won’t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward.”
The moderate candidates in the presidential race are raising alarm bells over the possibility of Sanders amassing a majority of delegates post Super Tuesday. Bloomberg’s campaign sent out a memo on Wednesday warning that Sanders will be “all but impossible to defeat” after Super Tuesday, and called on Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar to drop out of the race. Buttigieg’s campaign released a similar memo on Thursday, calling on Bloomberg to drop out of the race. Jonathan Easley and Julia Manchester report that there are growing concerns among centrist Democrats that the race’s moderates are not aligning behind a moderate alternative to Sanders quick enough. “Whether you’re talking about Bloomberg or Biden or Buttigieg or Klobuchar, is that they just won’t come out and say it. I don’t understand why no one is coming out and saying, ‘Do you want two more Supreme Court seats to go to Donald Trump and Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE’s nominees?'” Demoratic strategist Jon Reinish told The Hill. “Putting a socialist at the top of the ticket will lose you the House and all of those moderate seats that we picked up.”
This sentiment was seen on Wednesday night’s debate stage when Sanders was the only candidate who said he would support the candidate with the most delegates, even if they did not have a majority. The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports that Democrats originally skeptical of the prospect of a contest convention now view it as a likelier scenario. “If the number of candidates scoring in the double-digits that are splitting delegates continue to do so through Super Tuesday and beyond, it’s just math, unless all of a sudden a number of candidates drop out,” Adam Parkhomenko, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, told Parnes.
FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:
Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), the largest super PAC supporting Senate Republicans, funneled millions of dollars through another political action committee to boost the candidacy of Erica Smith, a progressive Democratic seeking her party’s nomination to take on Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators The Hill’s Campaign Report: It’s primary night in Georgia Tillis unveils new 0,000 ad in North Carolina Senate race MORE (R-N.C.) in November, The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports. Federal Election Commission filings released late Thursday show that SLF funneled nearly $3 million through a Jacksonville, N.C.-based group called Faith and Power PAC to run advertisements supporting Smith’s candidacy. In fact, SLF was the source of all of Faith and Power PAC’s funding. National Democrats are backing former North Carolina state Sen. Cal Cunningham in the Senate primary on March 3. But the GOP efforts to boost Smith illustrate how the party is seeking to bolster a Democrat that they view as a more favorable opponent to Tillis in the general election.
Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior faces legal scrutiny for keeping controversial acting leaders in office | White House faces suit on order lifting endangered species protections | Lawmakers seek investigation of Park Police after clearing of protesters The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ MORE (R-Colo.) is widely regarded as the most vulnerable Senate Republican facing reelection in 2020. Not only has his state shifted to the left in recent years — as of 2018, Democrats control both state legislative chambers and the governor’s office — but he faces a likely challenge from former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGun control group rolls out first round of Senate endorsements The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ Hickenlooper ethics questions open him up to attack MORE (D), who is vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Gardner in November. So, it’s no surprise that 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 is doing what he can to push the Colorado senator across the finish line. The president rallied supporters in the Centennial State on Thursday in an effort to boost Gardner’s odds come November, The Hill’s Brett Samuels reports. “We are going to win Colorado in a landslide,” Trump declared to the thousands of supporters. “And you’re going to help us get Cory Gardner across that line because he’s been with us 100 percent. There was no waver.” Of course, Trump’s brand in the state isn’t as strong as Republicans would like. Hillary Clinton carried Colorado by about 5 points in 2016 and recent trends suggest that it’s only becoming friendlier territory for Democrats.
FUNDRAISING FEVER: The Democratic presidential candidates raised a combined $58 million in January, the latest batch of Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings shows. But if the candidates are raising at a faster pace than ever, they’re spending it even faster. In the period between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, the candidates spent nearly $357 million combined. Of course, most of that money – about $220 million – came from 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, the billionaire businessman who’s self-funding his presidential bid. Another billionaire candidate, Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE, spent a little less than $53 million over the course of the month.
With the exception of Bloomberg and Steyer, all of the Democratic candidates are burning through money faster than they can raise it. But the rate of spending is most alarming for Buttigieg and Warren, who both spent more than twice as much in January as they took in. In a sign that money may have been scarce in January, Warren also secured a $3 million line of credit, though her campaign only accessed about $400,000 of it. And February is shaping up to be a better month for her. Her campaign said that she has already raised more than $17 million this month.
All that aside, none of the Democratic candidates came close to matching the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and their affiliated groups in fundraising last month. Together, the groups raised about $60 million in January and ended the month with more than $200 million in cash on hand.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most recent FEC filings:
*Denotes a self-funding candidate
Who raised the most?
Who spent the most?
Who burned through their money the fastest?
Buttigieg: 226.83 percent
Warren: 215.69 percent
Gabbard: 168.84 percent
Klobuchar: 138.18 percent
Biden: 120.65 percent
Sanders: 105.40 percent
Who has the most cash on hand?
Want more fundraising news? Here are five takeaways from the latest filings from Max.
UMASS LOWELL – MASSACHUSETTS (DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL)
Sanders: 21 percent
Warren: 20 percent
Buttigieg: 15 percent
Biden: 14 percent
Bloomberg: 12 percent
Klobuchar: 9 percent
Gabbard: 3 percent
Steyer: 2 percent
UMASS LOWELL – MASSACHUSETTS SENATE (DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY)
Kennedy: 35 percent
Markey: 34 percent
Undecided: 23 percent
UMASS LOWELL- CALIFORNIA (DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL)
Sanders: 24 percent
Warren: 16 percent
Biden: 13 percent
Buttigieg: 12 percent
Bloomberg: 12 percent
Klobuchar: 7 percent
Gabbard: 4 percent
Steyer: 2 percent
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
The Nevada causes are tomorrow. There are 8 days until the South Carolina primary and 11 days until Super Tuesday.
ONE FUN THING:
Since he announced his presidential campaign back in November, Bloomberg has sought to give the impression that he’s already running a general election challenge to Trump. So far, most of the contrasts he’s drawn between himself and the president have hinged on political differences. But now Bloomberg appears to be getting more personal. The former New York City mayor’s campaign welcomed Trump to Phoenix this week with a set of billboards:
Trump had a rally in Phoenix this week. We made sure there was a nice gift waiting for him! pic.twitter.com/a8juK5ATIM
— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) February 21, 2020
— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) February 21, 2020
— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) February 21, 2020
We could see that last billboard moving the needle in Florida, as well. We’ll be back Monday with more news from the campaign trail. Have a great weekend!
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