2020 Daily Trail Markers: The Democrats qualifying for the 3rd debate

With just over a week until the second round of Democratic presidential debates in Detroit, Michigan, CBS News Political Unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice and CBSNews.com White House reporter Kathryn Watson have been keeping track of the candidates who qualify for the third round of debates in September.

While the participants in the second round have been determined, some candidates are already meeting the requirements to take part in the third set of debates in September in Houston.

In the third round of debates, candidates will need to both reach 2% in four polls and acquire donations from 130,000 unique donors, much tougher thresholds to meet than earlier debates. For the first two rounds, candidates needed to only poll at 1% and acquire 65,000 donors. ABC and Univision are hosting the debate at Texas Southern University on Sept. 12 and 13. 

As of July 22, the following candidates have met both requirements to be on stage in September: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: On Monday Harris released two new bills that tackle discrimination and the country’s water crisis, reports CBS News campaign reporter Stephanie Ramirez.

The first bill announced Monday was “The Water Justice Act,” which would invest $250 billion into critical upgrades to the nation’s water infrastructure. Of that $250 billion, Harris would direct $50 billion in emergency funds to school water testing and contaminated communities. The bill also calls for $10 billion to go towards offsetting “the cost of water bills in low-income communities and households” designated as “environmentally at-risk.” 

The California senator is working with Michigan Reps. Dan Kildee, who represents Flint, and Brenda Lawrence to introduce the legislation. Funds would also go towards replacing toxic lead service lines. A water crisis began in Flint when the city reportedly switched water sources in 2014 to save money. The water was found to have disease-causing bacteria, carcinogens and was loaded with lead. 

The second bill Harris introduced is legislation to uplift black communities. Harris teamed up with fellow Democratic presidential contender Sen. Cory Booker and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to introduce the “Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act.” This bill would house a special commission within the U.S. Commissions on Civil Rights’ office that would, among other things, investigate potential civil rights violations affecting black males. The commission would study disparities these boys and men experience in “education, criminal justice, health, employment, fatherhood, mentorship and violence.” Results would be submitted to lawmakers, the President, the President’s Cabinet and appropriate committees.

GOV. WILLIAM WELD: Weld will be the only Republican on stage in Detroit this week for the NAACP’s 110th Convention 2020 Presidential Forum, says CBS News campaign reporter Stephanie Ramirez. According to the NAACP, the 2020 Democrats attending the event on Wednesday morning include Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Harris, Amy Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders and Warren. President Trump was invited to speak but said last week he wasn’t going to attend. “Disappointed @realDonaldTrump  won’t be attending the #NAACP Convention this week. Apparently too many questions he doesn’t want to answer. I DO look forward to attending. It’s important for such a great organization to see that not ALL Republicans seek to divide,” Weld tweeted.


BIGGER IN TEXAS: Another candidate has jumped into the Democratic primary in Texas to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn. State Sen. Royce West, who has served in the Texas Capitol since 1993, officially launched his campaign on Monday, reports CBS News associate producer Ellee Watson. West’s candidacy follows those of former Air Force pilot and former House candidate MJ Hegar as well as Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has not endorsed a candidate, and the Texas Democratic Party remains neutral in primaries but released statements lauding all three candidates. The three contenders will have to boost their fundraising to contend with Cornyn in the general election. Cornyn, who has been in the Senate since 2002, has over $9 million cash on hand compared to Hegar’s $4.6 million. Hegar was the only one out of those three Democratic candidates who announced early enough to require a second quarter filing.   

IN THE HOUSE: With 50 days left until the special election in North Carolina 9th Congressional District, an internal poll by Democrat Dan McCready’s campaign shows him and Republican candidate Dan Bishop tied among likely North Carolina voters. Democratic firm ALG Research released a memo Monday that had McCready and Bishop at 46%, with 8% of voters in the 450-person survey undecided. McCready’s camp says the tie is a good sign, and communications director Matt Fried told CBS News Political Unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro they are anticipating a one-point election one way or another. 

“Today’s poll reflects that, despite everything that’s happened between then and now, people know how important this choice is between a Marine, small business owner in Dan McCready and his opponent, a career politician,” Fried said. 

The district’s seat has been historically red since 1963 and the ALG poll did find that on a generic ballot, Republicans have a 9-point advantage. Bishop, a North Carolina state senator, won the Republican special primary in May, an election that was the result of a ballot fraud investigation in 2018.

In other House news, the FEC reports for June came out this weekend and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had a $3.5 million fundraising advantage in the month, netting $12.5 million compared to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $9 million. The committees are only required to submit monthly reports but through a Q2 lens — April to June — the DCCC out fundraised the NRCC by about $10 million, $29.2 million to the NRCC’s $19.4 million. When it comes to cash on hand, the NRCC does have a slight advantage, reporting $25.6 million to the DCCC’s $25.4 million.

GOVERNOR RACES: A source with the Republican Governors Association confirmed that former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attended a RGA retreat in Aspen on Sunday, reports Navarro. The two-day retreat is one of four RGA events this year where governors, donors and sometimes gubernatorial candidates meet, which only adds to the speculation about Sanders running for governor of Arkansas in 2022. A Republican source told CBS White House producer Fin Gomez that Sanders received a lot of support and encouragement to run from Republican governors and donors at the event, though there won’t be a decision on running for at least two years.

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