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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Another Kennedy?

Andrew Yang unveils climate change policy

A new national Monmouth Poll shows a virtual tie among the Democratic front-runners, says CBS News Campaign Reporter Adam Brewster. The poll found Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren were each considered the top choice by 20% of registered Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters, while former Vice President Joe Biden was the top choice for 19% of that subset.

That was an uptick in support for Sanders (from 14%) and Warren (from 15%) compared to the same poll in June, while support for Biden dropped from 32% in the June poll. California Senator Kamala Harris was the top choice for 8% of respondents, identical to her June support in the same poll, while New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were the top choice among 4% of respondents.

In the early states, whose primaries and caucuses are held in February or on Super Tuesday, Biden and Warren were the top choice for 20% of respondents, while Sanders was the top choice for 16%.

We wanted to see how the Bernie Sanders campaign would respond to his newfound surge and lead in the latest national Monmouth poll. Why? Earlier this month Monmouth was a dirty word for Sanders after he polled in single digits in the latest Iowa statewide poll.

Today? CBS News Campaign Reporter Cara Korte says they've embraced Monmouth once again, with flacks and the campaign Twitter feed itself sharing the positive results. On Monday afternoon the campaign sent the poll results to supporters in a fundraising email that said: "This is a big deal for our campaign — and we can't miss this opportunity to keep up the momentum." The Biden campaign, however, has been pushing back on the poll. Biden pollster John Anzalone suggested it was an "outlier" and questioned the poll's sample size.


ANDREW YANG: Andrew Yang announced his new climate plan during a campaign event in New Hampshire earlier today, reports CBS News Campaign Reporter Nicole Sganga & Political Unit Associate Producer Ben Mitchell.

The plan has among the most aggressive timelines for decarbonization of any candidate's plan so far — including a net-zero emissions grid by 2035 — but according to some experts, his nearly $5 trillion plan is a mixed bag. Yang has plenty of ideas endorsed by climate experts, such as ending fossil fuel subsidies, a carbon tax and dividend to fund new technologies, stopping fossil fuel development on all public lands, and net-zero car emissions by 2030.

In typical Yang fashion, it also has a heavy emphasis on stimulating entrepreneurship and promoting innovation in green technology. "We subsidize the fossil fuel industry to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars," Yang told the crowd, "it's time we invest in energy sources of the future."

But experts say that some of Yang's proposed solutions to climate change are untested, such as "aerosol scattering" — the theory that filling the atmosphere with particles could stop sunlight and lower the planet's temperature — and space mirrors to reflect sunlight away from the earth. However, Yang also proposes solutions embraced by most climate change activists, including planting more trees and developing carbon capture technology.


IN THE SENATE: Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy posted on Facebook that he is considering running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against incumbent Democrat Sen. Ed Markey, reports CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ellee Watson.

In his post, he wrote he is still deciding, but "I hear the folks who say I should wait my turn, but with due respect – I'm not sure this is a moment for waiting." Less than two hours later, Kennedy filed a principal campaign committee and statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission to support his exploratory effort.

Kennedy's office told CBS News that the congressman has still not made a decision on challenging Markey, and that the campaign committee was created to support Kennedy in his exploratory effort as he works towards a decision. So while Kennedy has not formally entered the race, the committee would allow him to fundraise and campaign like a candidate.

Separately, CBS News Campaign Reporter Adam Brewster says another Democrat is entering the race to challenge Republican Senator Joni Ernst in November 2020. Retired 3-star Admiral Michael Franken announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate Monday, becoming the fourth Democrat in Iowa to enter the race. In an interview with CBS News, Franken said his top three issues are universal healthcare, opposition to special interests and finding a solution on climate change. On healthcare, Franken said he supports a blend of having a public option but keeping private insurance.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY's List have already endorsed Theresa Greenfield in the race. The other candidates, businessman Eddie Mauro and attorney Kimberly Graham, have been in the race for several months. "I'm relying on the individual voter," Franken said. "Institutions don't vote. They may fund, but they don't vote. I, on the other, expect that I'm going to connect with people."

In June, CBS News confirmed a report that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told J.D. Scholten "we don't need a primary" in Iowa's Senate race. Scholten, who was debating whether to run for U.S. Senate, has since decided to run for Congress again in Iowa's 4th District against controversial Republican Rep. Steve King.

Franken confirmed he has spoken to Schumer, but would not comment on what specifically they discussed. Ernst will present a tough challenge for Democrats hoping to flip her seat blue. A Des Moines Register poll from February showed Ernst had a 57% approval rating among Iowa adults.

IN THE HOUSE: Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy announced he'd be resigning and stepping down on September 23, citing wanting to spend more time with his family and his upcoming ninth child, who is due in October and has a heart condition. "With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now," he said in a Facebook post Monday.

Duffy is the 11th GOP lawmaker this year to announce their leave from office. Wisconsin Elections Commission public information officer Magney Reid told CBS News Political Unit Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro that a special election could occur during the state's spring election cycle, with a primary on February 18, 2020 and an election on April 7, 2020.

Once Duffy leaves in September, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could also order a special election to take place no earlier than 92 days and no later than 122 days from his call. Duffy, first elected in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave, has won Wisconsin's 7th district by about 20 points in his past three elections. Prior to Congress, Duffy was also known for his roles in MTV reality shows "The Real World: Boston" and "Road Rules: All Stars."

GOVERNOR'S MANSION: Mississippi's GOP gubernatorial runoff is in less than 24 hours, but regardless of how it ends, the three week campaign span has cost Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves about $1.9 million in ads and campaign operations, according to a state campaign finance report.

By comparison, his opponent — former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. — has spent about $315,000 since July 28. Reeves, who has raised the most out of any Mississippi gubernatorial candidate this election cycle, has frequently traded attack ads with Waller.

Reeves often aligns Waller with Democrats due to his policies on a gas tax and expanding Medicaid, while Waller argues his policies on Medicaid are more similar to conservatives like Vice President Mike Pence.

"Being conservative isn't sticking your head in the sand, being conservative is meeting the problems and coming up with solutions," Waller said at an August 21 debate.  A Reeves spokesman told CBS News Political Unit Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro they are confident primary voters "are firmly behind the conservative." The winner will go on to face Democratic candidate Jim Hood — the state's attorney general — in November.

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