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2020 Daily Trail Markers: A Trump primary challenger bites the dust

Bloomberg files for Arkansas primary

Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is leaving the campaign trail, announcing Tuesday that he is suspending his long-shot primary challenge to President Trump, report CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga and CBS News political reporter Grace Segers.  

Sanford, who also served in Congress, said that he had attempted to inject the topic of fiscal responsibility "into the national debate." Speaking to reporters outside of the New Hampshire statehouse, Sanford called his campaign a "casualty of the impeachment process," arguing that Republicans were more focused on the ongoing impeachment inquiry than discussions about the national debt.

While attending the annual Jeff Duncan Faith & Freedom BBQ in South Carolina in August, Sanford told CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell that if enough people said he should run, he would. "This is a case study of political parties," Sanford said at the time. "Democrats are having a robust debate. Why can't Republicans?" But his candidacy failed to ignite a debate and ended 65 days after it began.

BLOOMBERG ON ANOTHER BALLOT

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg filed paperwork to appear on the ballot in Arkansas Tuesday morning for the state's March 3rd Democratic primary, an aide tells CBS News Political Correspondent Ed O'Keefe.

Bloomberg filed paperwork last Friday to appear on the Alabama ballot for a primary on the same day. He has not yet decided whether to formally launch a bid for president as a Democrat.

CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson reports that according to state party officials, these Democratic candidates have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Mosie Boyd, Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

BERNIE SANDERS

As they did in 2016, the country's largest nurses union, National Nurses United, has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders. This will be made official at a presser in Oakland on Friday, reports CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte. According to their website, there the union boasts approximately 150,000 members. 

This is Sanders' second national union endorsement. The first was the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers in August. 

This marks the third national union endorsement of the 2020 cycle. Former Vice President Joe Biden was endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters this summer, which has more members than both of Sanders' endorsers combined. NNU has been holding regular "Medicare for All" rallies across the country and has a regular presence at Sanders events. The endorsement could prove a boon for Sanders in Nevada where the labor group has the largest presence of the four early states, representing workers at five hospitals, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin.

TOM STEYER

Longtime New Hampshire environmental activist Dudley Dudley endorsed Tom Steyer in his presidential bid Tuesday afternoon, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. Dudley is the first woman to serve on New Hampshire's Executive Council and notably passed legislation preventing shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis from starting an oil refinery in Durham, New Hampshire in 1974.

"He gave hundreds of hours and millions of dollars to organize the grassroots to halt global warming, to end corporate loopholes, to get big money out of government to register voters to beat big tobacco and to mobilized young people. And he was the first to call for Donald Trump impeachment," Dudley told a crowd gathered at a small rally following Steyer's official filing for the New Hampshire Primary. "He's a little like a dog with a bone. I mean that in the kindest way. He also has the ability to fulfill that mission." 

Dudley supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 and was one of his most prominent New Hampshire endorsers. "This is not his year," the former lawmaker said of Sanders.

ELIZABETH WARREN

Senator Elizabeth Warren released a plan Tuesday to prosecute "corporate perjury" that took direct aim at Exxon Mobile for not sharing climate change research with the regulators in the past, reports CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak. Warren proposed punishing companies and executives who purposely spread misinformation with criminal liability in the form of up to $250,000 in fines or jail time. 

"If bad actors like Exxon break the rules and deliberately lie to government agencies, my plan will treat them the same way the law treats someone who lies in court – by subjecting them to potential prosecution for perjury," Warren wrote in a Medium post. The proposal, far shorter than a typical Warren plan, builds on a key theme of her stump speech: The influence of "bought-and-paid-for experts" on politics. "You want to understand the climate crisis we face today," she says on the trail. "It's 25 years of corruption in Washington that got us here."

STATE-BY-STATE

IOWA

A new Monmouth University Poll from Iowa shows South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as the top choice for 22% of likely Democratic caucus goers, putting him atop the top tier of candidates 83 days out from the first-in-the-nation caucuses, reports CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster

Rounding out the top tier are former Vice President Joe Biden (19%), Senator Elizabeth Warren (18%) and Senator Bernie Sanders (13%). All other candidates polled in the single digits. 

The poll was conducted from November 7 to 11, and surveyed 451 voters who are likely to attend the caucuses, for a margin of error of +/- 4.6%. The poll also showed there's plenty of room for a shakeup over the next 83 days.

Only 28% of respondents said they were firmly decided on which candidate they intend to support. Meanwhile, 16% said there was a "high" possibility they would support a different candidate on caucus night, 37% said there was a "moderate possibility" and 8% said they were open to supporting another candidate, but there was a "low possibility" they would switch.  

NEW HAMPSHIRE

The founder of the New Hampshire Primary, fabled New Hampshire delegate Stephen A. Bullock, created the statewide contest in 1904. And Tuesday morning, Montana Governor Stephen C. Bullock filed at his desk for the New Hampshire Primary, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga.

It remains unclear if there is any relation between the two lawmakers. Stephen A. Bullock's great-granddaughter, Sybil Dupuis, appeared at today's filing, and there was plenty of speculation as Governor Bullock signed his Declaration of Candidacy. "Are you my aunt?" Bullock quipped upon meeting Dupuis.

Asked about the state of the Democratic Party, amid reports that former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Former Governor Deval Patrick may jump into the 2020 presidential contest, Bullock remarked, "I don't know that another coastal person running is going to make that much of a difference. But we already have one candidate from Massachusetts. Do we need another? We already have one billionaire, right? Do we need another?" 

What Democrats do need, Bullock argued, is a politician from the middle of the country capable of winning back Midwestern swing states in a general election. "Look we have to win back places we lost, I think I can do it," Bullock said. 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Just 65 days after announcing that he would challenge President Trump for the Republican nomination, former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford has suspended his campaign. As CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga reported earlier, Sanford said that the current impeachment process is impeding the Republican party from focusing on anything else.

However, even Sanford's campaign called his run a "long shot" and in multiple conversations with South Carolina Republicans, the enthusiasm for his decision to take on Mr. Trump seemed to be missing, according to CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell

Rouzy Vafaie who worked on Sanford's campaign said that while the campaign was a long shot, it was "nearly impossible when the Trump machine changes state GOP rules and critics are too afraid to come out of the dark." In September, the South Carolina Republican Party decided to forego a GOP primary for 2020.

South Carolina GOP spokesman Joe Jackson says Sanford's campaign suspension shows Mr. Trump's strength among Republicans. "In South Carolina, we are already focused on 2020 and ensuring Republicans up and down the ballot win on election day."

IN THE SENATE

SENATE REMATCH

Mississippi Democrat Mike Espy said Tuesday that he will run for the U.S. Senate, setting the stage for a potential rematch against incumbent Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson. In a runoff to fill the final two years of Senator Thad Cochran's term following his resignation, Hyde-Smith won by almost eight percentage points. Hyde-Smith, who was expected to win in a state that President Trump, won by nearly 18 points faced criticism for comments she made about public hanging and voter suppression. Mississippi has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1982.

GOVERNOR'S MANSION

AD WARS

With less than a week to go, CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro says both gubernatorial candidates in Louisiana's race are airing new, last-minute ads. Democrat Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards released a spot that likened Republican candidate Eddie Rispone to former Governor Bobby Jindal, and talked specifically about how Rispone's policies on education would "reverse all the progress we've made over the last four years." 

Education is where the two tend to split the most, as Rispone has been vocal in calling for a constitutional convention – which could alter how the state budget is prioritized for issues like education. Edwards' campaign said the ad will run frequently this week and was a 7-figure ad buy. Rispone's new ads feature veterans criticizing Governor Edwards for the state's high car insurance rates and his management of Medicaid, as well as invoking President Trump's name after a now-pulled ad from an independent group compared Rispone and Mr. Trump to white supremacist David Duke. 

"But calling Donald Trump and Eddie Rispone white supremacists? Now that's offensive," Rispone's ad says. The inclusion of veterans in his latest ad buys comes as Rispone was criticized for saying Edwards, a West Point graduate, "hurt the reputation" of West Point due to his work as trial lawyer. The runoff election is this Saturday, and early polling results show more than 489,000 votes cast.

ON THE ISSUES

ASIAN AMERICAN ISSUES

The importance of the growing Asian American vote was emphasized to Senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar during an Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Victory Fund forum on Tuesday, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. Congresswoman Judy Chu of California said AAPIs are the fastest growing population in the country, but "despite all this, there are times where we are an afterthought, or we are overlooked." 

Klobuchar talked about the Somali population in Minnesota, and how she would make sure to tackle immigration reform within her first year as president. "That community has helped me a lot in understanding a lot of the issues of refugees and also the Asian American community. And so when I talk about immigration reform for me, it is purely a focus on one: the moral decision, the righteous decision but also the economic decision," she said. 

Sanders, who Chu said was the first candidate to ask for a meeting with the AAPI congressional caucus, said he would make sure to have an extremely diverse cabinet. "If elected, our administration will be most diverse in the history of this country. It will look like this country…When people turn on the TV, there will be at least one old white guy there, but it won't be dominated by old white guys," he said. 

Results from an Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund exit poll show that Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Sanders are the current top choices amongst the 500 Asian American voters they talked to.

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