Last Thursday, 10 Democrats took the stage for the third Presidential Primary Debate, but it wasn’t the only notable development on the campaign trail. Catch up on the 2020 horse race with our weekly recap.
Fact-Check: The Washington Post issued a fact-check for the third primary debate.
Health Care Divisions: NPR: “Democratic Debate Exposes Deep Divides Among Candidates Over Health Care”
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden
Biden Appears To Maintain Lead Post-Debate: Although observers have speculated that Biden’s campaign is on the verge of implosion, the gaffe-prone vice president has held steady in the days following the debate. Outlets have noted that, while he didn’t necessarily have the strongest performance, he “maintained his grip” on the race.
Age Old Question: Biden is increasingly being attacked about his age. In a particularly noteworthy debate moment, Julian Castro called out Biden, pointedly asking the former vice president, “Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?”
Health Records: Perhaps in response to the questions being raised about his age, Biden committed to publicly releasing his medical records before the Iowa caucuses.
New Campaign Hires: In an effort to help them rebuild the diverse coalition that Barack Obama captured in 2008, Biden’s campaign announced it was adding six senior staff members to focus on attracting women and minority voters.
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Going On The Offensive: Sanders supporters were likely pleased with the Vermont Senator’s approach to the debate. Since he launched his campaign, supporters and advisers have itched to see a more aggressive Sanders on the trail. At last week’s debate, Sanders was credited with launching the most attacks of anyone onstage, most prominently in his repeated callouts of Biden.
Medicare For All: Biden and Sanders maintained their debate over health care following their spat during Thursday night’s debate, with Biden accusing Sanders of effectively handing Americans a pay cut and Sanders accusing Biden of distorting the socialist’s “Medicare-for-all” plan.
$2.5 Trillion Housing Plan: Over the weekend, Sanders released highlights of his national housing proposal, which emphasizes renter protections and investments in affordable housing. The plan will cost approximately $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years and would call for a national rent control standard.
New Hampshire Shake Up: According to The New York Times, Sanders has overhauled his New Hampshire state operations. “In a series of moves, the campaign has replaced the New Hampshire state director, Joe Caiazzo, with Shannon Jackson, who is deeply enmeshed in Mr. Sanders’s inner circle and who led the senator’s re-election campaign in Vermont last year.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Working Families Endorse Warren: The Working Families Party (WFP) endorsed Warren (D-Mass.) for the Democratic presidential nomination, the group announced Monday. The progressive group, which is aligned with unions, endorsed Sanders last campaign cycle,
New Proposals: In the last week, Warren has released a new proposal to give all recipients of Social Security benefits an extra $200 per month and another on anti-corruption. One thing she doesn’t have a plan for: how to implement Medicare for All.
Warren/Obama Cold War: Politico Headline: “‘Why Are You Pissing In Our Face?’: Inside Warren’s War With The Obama Team”
Sustained Polling Gains: Elizabeth Warren was the only candidate who has gained any real momentum since the first debate, based on polls during the last three months. After jumping from 7% to 15% after the first debate, Kamala Harris dropped back down to 7%, while Julián Castro’s cameo above 1% after that debate was also short-lived. Warren’s ascent from 9% to 19%, meanwhile, has been gradual and steady.
Primary Challenger Endorsements: Prior to the debate last week, Warren threw her weight behind two liberal candidates looking to unseat incumbent House Democrats, endorsing Jessica Cisneros and Marie Newman in their primary battles against incumbent Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) respectively.
Sen. Kamala Harris
STALLED: Going into the debate, questions loomed over the viability of Harris campaign, which has struggled during the summer months. The Associated Press noted last Tuesday that the debate offered her a chance “to regain momentum.” In the days following last Thursday’s showdown, however, CNBC reported that her performance “failed to impress many of her party’s big money donors and failed to win over some financiers who were on the fence about her candidacy.”
Notable Endorsements: Rep. Ruben Gallego, an outspoken Arizona liberal, endorsed Harris’ presidential campaign.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Generational Problems: Per The Associated Press, “Pete Buttigieg would like to turn the fight for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination into a contest about generational change. But there’s one looming problem: He has yet to win over his own.”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
O’Rourke gave a staunch defense of his gun control plan during Thursday’s primary debate, saying that as president, he would prioritize mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons. When asked “Are you proposing taking away their guns?” O’Rourke answered, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang promised during Thursday night’s debate to give a total of $120,000 to at least 10 random families over the next year.