2020 Elections

The latest coverage of the 2020 presidential, House and Senate elections

  1. 2020 elections

    Bernie Sanders shakes up campaign leadership in New Hampshire

    ‘The people who helped Bernie win here last time knew and felt intimately that something was very different and not for the best,’ said a steering committee member


    MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders has replaced the New Hampshire state director of his presidential campaign after growing indignation from his fiercest supporters that their concerns about losing the first-in-the-nation primary state were being ignored.

    More than 50 members from Sanders’ state steering committee applauded on Sunday afternoon when they heard that Joe Caiazzo had been reassigned to Massachusetts, according to those in the room. The news was delivered by the new state director, Shannon Jackson, who ran Sanders’ Senate reelection in 2018.

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  2. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Sunday dismissed criticisms that his recent rhetoric on gun control is playing into the hands of the National Rifle Association.

    During the third Democratic debate on Thursday, O'Rourke said he planned to take assault rifles from civilians as part of a nationwide buy-back program in response to the spate of mass shootings afflicting the country in recent years. The emphatic comments raised concerns among his fellow Democrats that they would offer fuel for attack ads by the NRA, feeding into the idea that Democrats were out to destroy the Second Amendment.

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  3. 2020 Elections

    Andrew Yang defends random money giveaway


    Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang defended his proposed proto-universal basic income plan Sunday, rejecting suggestions that a campaign giving random families thousands of dollars was illegal.

    During the third Democratic debate Thursday, Yang announced he would give 10 random families $120,000 as a pilot for his keystone universal basic income proposal. The Yang campaign said the money would come from campaign funds, a remark that raised eyebrows about its legality.

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  4. 2020 Elections

    Texas congressman switches endorsement from Castro to Biden


    Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro lost one of his congressional endorsements Sunday, with Texas Rep. Vicente González switching to support former Vice President Joe Biden.

    González was one of three Texas representatives who endorsed the former HUD secretary, along with Castro's twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, and Rep. Colin Allred. González announced his endorsement for Julián Castro in March, saying at the time, "I know firsthand his passion for expanding opportunity for the Latino community, people of color, and historically disenfranchised communities, as well as his unparalleled dedication to building a bench of dynamic Democratic candidates in Texas and nationally."

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  5. 2020 Elections

    Biden allies attack Warren’s electability

    Lawmakers in the Massachusetts senator’s home state point to her past election performance as a sign of weakness.

    As Elizabeth Warren climbs in the polls, Joe Biden’s Massachusetts allies are warning that her election history suggests she runs weakest among the types of voters Democrats need to win over to capture the White House.

    While Warren won reelection easily in 2018, Biden’s backers point to her performance among independent and blue-collar voters as evidence she’ll fail to appeal to similar voters in the Rust Belt — just as Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

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  6. Congress

    Republicans clash with Trump-aligned operatives

    The fight over the fundraising platform WinRed highlights worries among Republicans that they won't win back the House.


    BALTIMORE — House Republicans sparred behind closed doors with Trump-aligned political operatives at a GOP retreat over the new online fundraising platform backed by party leaders and the White House.

    The fight Thursday over WinRed's data and competitiveness highlights long simmering tensions between GOP lawmakers and operatives allied with the president, and underscores the growing frustrations in the party as they try to hash out a strategy to win back the House next year.

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  7. 2020 elections

    'I wouldn't do it differently': Castro defends his Biden attack

    O'Rourke and Klobuchar knocked the offensive, while Booker and Harris were more reluctant to defend the vice president.


    Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro on Friday defended his criticism of front-runner Joe Biden at the previous evening’s debate — saying he “wouldn't do it differently” and insisting the apparent questioning of the former vice president’s mental acuity “was not a personal attack.”

    “This was about a disagreement over what the vice president said regarding health care policy,” Castro, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told CNN.

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  8. politics

    O'Rourke responds to 'death threat' from Texas lawmaker


    Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke early Friday morning characterized an incendiary tweet from a Texas state representative as “a death threat” against him, and charged that the Republican lawmaker should be stripped of his assault weapon.

    O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, championed hardline gun reforms at Thursday night’s Democratic primary debate in Houston, calling for a mandatory federal buyback of military-style firearms following a mass shooting last month in his hometown of El Paso that killed 22 people.

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  9. 2020 Democratic debates

    Biden bear-hugged Obama. His foes couldn’t pry him loose.

    The former VP got one big thing right on the debate stage. And that may be all that mattered.


    Historically, when a former vice president runs for a promotion to the top job, he struggles with the legacy of his former boss. George H.W. Bush was caricatured as a wimp as he tried to step out of Ronald Reagan’s shadow. Al Gore was paralyzed as he tried to embrace Bill Clinton’s popular policies while distancing himself from the sex scandal that led to Clinton’s impeachment. Hillary Clinton faced a similar dynamic in 2008 and 2016, when the former first lady treated her husband’s administration like a buffet, endorsing some of his policies and discarding others.

    So far Biden has had it easier. Barack Obama is the most popular figure in the Democratic Party and Biden embraces the man and his legacy with the kind of affection he previously reserved only for Amtrak or Corvettes. Biden’s campaign message, as a popular joke goes, is often little more than a subject, a verb and Obama’s name. There is none of the psychodrama that consumed Gore. There is none of the picking and choosing that defined Hillary Clinton.

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  10. analysis

    Biden fails to step up or fall down

    The front-runner marches in place, waiting to see if any of his rivals can displace him.

    Vice President Joe Biden—who as in previous outings interspersed some strong moments with several mushy or head-scratching ones—seemed emphatically life-sized, once again, in the latest debate in Houston.

    There is an optical dimension to presidential politics that is hard to explain in logical terms but hard to deny in practical experience: At some point winning candidates seem to grow larger in public projection and their ability to dominate a stage.

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  11. 2020 democratic debate

    ABC takes the food fight out of debating

    By giving candidates more time for give and take, the network minimized interruptions and cut-off answers.

    Ten Democratic candidates were again packed on the debate stage, yet this time they had more room to breathe.

    ABC's ground rules and moderators’ style Thursday night in Houston cut down on the feeding frenzy nature of past televised debates. The network offered the candidates 15 more seconds for answers and rebuttals than were allotted on NBC and CNN and the moderators tended to avoid cutting off the candidates in mid-sentence, which was the case during the 2nd debate in July.

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  12. 2020 democratic debates

    Who won the debate?

    Here are our 'awards' for Thursday's three-hour bonanza.

    Democratic primary voters finally got to see Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren on the same stage. But the fireworks many expected between the former vice president and the Massachusetts senator never materialized.

    With the field whittled down to a still-less-than-manageable 10 candidates on one stage, ABC News billed the debate as a heavyweight clash.

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  13. 2020 democratic debates

    The two minutes when Castro questioned Biden’s memory

    The Texan underdog went after the party elder and front-runner with ferocity that some debate attendees thought went out of bounds.

    Julián Castro, the lowest-polling candidate in the Democratic debate Thursday night, reached up the ladder and tried to yank Joe Biden off it.

    Castro’s decision to attack the former vice president and 2020 front-runner, in a way that appeared designed to highlight Biden’s advancing age, was a high-stakes move at a time when the former Housing and Urban Development secretary needs a big boost of momentum to change the trajectory of his campaign.

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  14. The third Democratic debate brought the top-polling candidates together on stage for the first time. And those candidates, in turn, brought some of the most cringe-inducing lines of this presidential cycle.

    While politicians are rarely without a corny zinger at the ready, Thursday’s debate appeared more chock full of them than normal. Here are some of the buzziest — for better or worse — one-liners of the third debate.

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  15. 2020 Elections

    Here’s what surprised us about Thursday’s Democratic debate

    Six POLITICO reporters covering the presidential primary offer their insights and takeaways from the marathon showdown.

    Would front-runners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren clash in their first in-person showdown? Would Kamala Harris get her mojo back after a summer slump? Would anything jolt the solidifying pecking order of Biden, Warren and Bernie Sanders in the top tier — and then everyone else struggling far below?

    The fallout from Thursday night’s Democratic debate — the first time all the top contenders met face to face on the same stage — probably won’t be apparent right away. But the nearly three-hour marathon debate hosted by ABC and Univision produced plenty of grist to chew over.

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  16. white house

    Trump counter-programs Dem debate with his greatest hits

    At a House GOP retreat, the president gave Republicans the experience of a campaign rally with wide-ranging jabs touching on plastic straws, light bulbs, cows and windmills.

    BALTIMORE — President Donald Trump tore into his 2020 Democratic rivals, the media and even plastic straws when he addressed House Republicans Thursday during their annual retreat, providing some animated counter-programming to a Democratic debate halfway across the nation focused on candidates slamming the president.

    “They should be watching the debate, but they’re probably watching us,” Trump told House Republicans.

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  17. Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday declared that he believes “nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime.”

    At the third Democratic primary debate in Houston, Biden offered the response as part of a defense of his criminal justice record, though he appeared to be referring to serving time for nonviolent drug offenses rather than suggesting that white-collar criminals should, too, serve no jail time for their crimes.

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  18. 2020 Elections

    Democrat Debate highlights: Biden at center stage and focus of attacks

    The candidates trained their attacks on the front-runner from the beginning — and they kept it coming.

    Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren shared a debate stage for the first time Thursday. But it was former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro who went hardest after the ex-vice president and Democratic front-runner.

    With seemingly little to lose, Castro — the lowest polling candidate on stage — delivered some of the sharpest blows at Biden, criticizing his frequent attempts to tie himself to former President Barack Obama.

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  19. 2020 elections

    Andrew Yang announces $120,000 giveaway during debate


    Presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced at Thursday night’s debate that his campaign will randomly select 10 families and give them a total of $120,000 over the next year as part of a pilot program for his universal basic income plan.

    Yang announced the online raffle during his opening statement. People will be able to enter during the next week, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. The money will be distributed to 10 families in increments of $1,000 per month as a way of highlighting Yang’s signature campaign promise, a universal basic income.

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