2020 Campaign

Quote of the Day

“I’ll tell you something, I don’t think it’s necessary. Donald is going to be 74, 73 and maybe he should just go and play golf and enjoy his fortune… Besides, I think he probably misses a little bit of freedom, I don’t think he probably knew how much is involved of being the president. It’s so much information — you have to know the whole world.”

— Ivana Trump, quoted by the New York Post, on whether President Trump should run for re-election.

Delaney Already Campaigning Hard In Early States

Politico: “The first presidential contests of 2020 are nearly two years away, but for one Democrat the campaign is already in full swing. John Delaney — a wealthy, little-known congressman from Maryland — has spent more than $1 million on TV in Iowa, hired staffers and opened a campaign office in Des Moines.”

“Since announcing his bid last July, he’s made 110 campaign stops in 48 of Iowa’s 99 counties. He has visited New Hampshire six times, and on Friday made his second trek to South Carolina.”

Presidential Candidates Collecting IOUs for 2020

NBC News: “Barack Obama didn’t pull off one of the greatest political upsets of the century alone. He beat Hillary Clinton in 2008 with a little help from friends he made on the campaign trail two years earlier when he was a senator stumping for Democrats around the country in the midterms.”

“Today, with a potential midterm wave building, the 2020 presidential race is off to a rolling start as a host of potential Democratic candidates look to help themselves by helping others, quietly stepping up their political work to curry favor with key party members ahead of what could be a presidential primary contest with a double digit number of hopefuls competing.”

Why Trump Isn’t Vulnerable to a Primary Challenge

Harry Enten: “The five presidents — George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson and Harry Truman — who faced strong headwinds in the New Hampshire primary all had approval ratings among their own party members of less than 75%. The four presidents — Carter, Ford, Johnson and Truman — for whom the nomination was in doubt or dropped out of the race completely had approval ratings of less than 70%. The two presidents — Johnson and Truman — who dropped out completely had approval ratings of less than 55%.”

“Now, it’s not a perfectly linear relationship between approval ratings and primary difficulty for an incumbent president. The dividing line seems to be a 70% to 75% approval rating within your own party. Those above it do significantly better in primaries than those below it. It seems that when a president has an approval rating above the 70% to 75% line, prominent challengers are more likely to pass on the race.”

“Trump, of course, is well above the line right now. He actually has a higher approval rating among Republicans than Barack Obama did among Democrats just before the 2012 New Hampshire primary.”

Kasich Allies Feeling Out Top GOP Donors

“Close allies of John Kasich have reached out to prominent GOP donors to gauge their interest in backing the Republican Ohio governor against President Donald Trump in a possible 2020 showdown,” CNBC reports.

“Kasich has not decided whether he will run for president in 2020, but Republican megadonors have indicated to his top political lieutenants that they are willing to back him over Trump under certain circumstances.”

“A Democratic wave this fall could indicate to donors that a change is needed at the top of the party.”

Few Republicans Ready to Endorse Trump for Re-Election

“A wide array of House and Senate Republicans are not yet ready to endorse President Trump’s bid for a second term, a reflection of the deep uncertainty on Capitol Hill over his political standing amid growing problems at home and abroad,” CNN reports.

“In interviews with a cross-section of more than two dozen GOP lawmakers, ranging from rank-and-file members, conservatives and party leaders, many refused to say they’d back Trump’s re-election bid — a surprise declaration given that members of Congress are typically quick to endorse sitting presidents of their own party without hesitation. Hardly any would offer a categorical endorsement of the President.”

Paul Brandus: History suggests double trouble for incumbent Trump.

Kyle Kondik: Underestimate Trump’s re-election odds at your own peril.

Trump Campaign Pays Legal Fees for Ex-Bodyguard

President Trump’s campaign “paid more than $66,000 to the law firm that represents Keith Schiller, his former longtime bodyguard,” NBC News reports.

“Schiller, who left a White House job in September, testified to the House Intelligence Committee in November that someone made an offer to send five women to Trump’s hotel room in Moscow in the lead-up to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant…. Schiller painted the incident in a light favorable to Trump, saying he turned down the offer on Trump’s behalf, treated it as a joke and no women ever came, as far as he was aware.”

Schiller is also paid $15,000 a month by the Republican National Committee.

Garcetti Holds Up Los Angeles as Example for Nation

“Mayor Eric Garcetti, fresh off a trip to Iowa to test the waters for a presidential run, delivered a State of the City address Monday that billed Los Angeles as a thriving, progressive metropolis that has hiked the minimum wage, snagged the Olympics, invested in its subway system and is tackling big issues such as climate change and gun violence,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Garcetti: “‘I want to say to anyone who wants to understand who Americans are: Don’t look to D.C. — come to L.A.”

Trump Cultivates Small Donors for Re-Election Bid

“President Trump’s re-election campaign has ramped up its fund-raising this year, bringing in $20.2 million, while investing heavily in cultivating a wide base of small donors,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump’s campaign apparatus spent nearly $8.2 million through the end of last month, with more than 60 percent of that going toward low-dollar fund-raising tools such as solicitations delivered via social media, email, direct mail and telemarketing, the reports show.”

20% of Trump Campaign Money Goes to Legal Fees

“President Trump’s reelection campaign spent more than $1 out of every $5 on attorney fees this year as the president contended with the ongoing special counsel investigation and a new legal challenge from an adult-film star,” the Washington Post reports.

“Of the $3.9 million that Trump’s committee spent in the first quarter of 2018, more than $834,000 went to eight law firms and the Trump Corp. for legal fees.”

“The latest figures bring the Trump campaign’s total spending on legal fees to nearly $4 million since the president took office, records show.”

Expect More Presidents Who Don’t Win Popular Vote

Dan Balz: “The authors ran a series of simulations for elections between 2020 and 2036, using different assumptions about the shape of the electorate, while also trying to estimate how tweaks or shifts in levels of support for Republican or Democratic candidates would affect the popular vote in the states and, therefore, the electoral college and the national totals.”

“One conclusion is that the country should be braced for repeats of what has happened twice in the past five presidential campaigns — a popular-vote outcome different from the electoral college result. ‘This report finds quite a few future scenarios could mimic the result of the 2016 election — a Democratic in the popular vote with a Republican win in the electoral college,’ the authors write.”

Terry McAuliffe Eyes White House Bid

Richmond Times-Dispatch: “It’s been four years since he spent much time behind the wheel. McAuliffe got used to someone else doing the driving. With a laugh, he says he could get used to it again. Three months after leaving the Virginia governorship, the perquisites of which included a lumbering black SUV driven by a state trooper, McAuliffe is considering a second act: the presidency… These days, McAuliffe is doing what national prospects are supposed to do: traveling to key states, plumping for his party’s candidates, tweeting, talking — and listening.”

Kander Staffs Up Amid 2020 Buzz

“Potential 2020 presidential candidate Jason Kander is hiring an Iowa-based communications director as his national organization staffs up,” Politico reports.

“Kander, the former Missouri secretary of state and failed 2016 Senate candidate who has become an unlikely national Democratic figure, is bringing on Jason Noble, who on Friday announced he was leaving his job as political reporter for the Des Moines Register.”

Rob Porter Hired by Trump’s 2020 Campaign Manager

“Former Trump aide and accused wife-beater Rob Porter may have landed himself a new gig at the Trump campaign,” the Daily Mail reports.

“Within days of being let go as staff secretary to President Trump, alleged wife abuser Porter was hired by Brad Parscale, the president’s 2020 campaign manager… In addition to leading the Trump campaign, Parscale also has a political branding and strategy business… It is believed Porter is being paid by Parscale’s company with the intention of involving him in the campaign at some point in the future.”