After having emergency surgery last night to, Senator Bernie Sanders is in good spirits and resting, a campaign aide tells CBS News Campaign Reporter Cara Korte. His usually-stuffed schedule was cleared for the rest of the week, and his first TV ad in Iowa, which was slated to start airing tomorrow, has been postponed, a campaign aide tells CBS News Campaign Reporter Adam Brewster.
The news brings age back to the forefront of the campaign. The three top-polling Democratic candidates are all in their 70s – Elizabeth Warren is 70, Joe Biden is 76 and Sanders is 78. President Trump is 73.
According to recent CBS News battleground polling, the majority of Democrats in early voting states said that age is not a concern.
Sanders has kept a robust campaign schedule, even playing ball on Iowa's "Field of Dreams." He shrugs off the age question when asked.
Will this incident have a lasting effect on potential supporters? The senator is usually tireless. Just last week he covered 7 states in 6 days. But might Sanders' make headlines today for the wrong reasons?
In the meantime, while Sanders recovers, his campaign is using the incident to fundraise and promote his big campaign message of Medicare for All.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Joe Biden on Wednesday continued to combat accusations from President Trump that he and his family had inappropriate connections to the Ukraine while he was vice president, saying repeatedly there is "zero" evidence to support Mr. Trump's claims, reports CBS News Campaign Reporter Bo Erickson. Biden and his campaign for more than two weeks now have continued to stress that the real focus needs to be on Trump's ask for Ukraine to help investigate Biden, in an apparent effort to hurt Biden's presidential bid. Mr. Trump's call to the Ukrainian president shocked Biden, he said, calling it "way beyond anything that I quite frankly thought he would do."
Shortly after Biden spoke in Las Vegas at a gun violence forum, the president was back on Twitter tweeting a Nickelback music video directing his followers to examine a photo of Biden, his son Hunter, and a man identified as a Ukrainian gas executive on a golf course. The president apparently hopes to use this photograph as evidence that Biden knows more about his son's foreign business dealings than he is letting on.
Several former Obama-Biden administration officials have told CBS News they personally at the time did not think it was a good idea for Hunter Biden to join the Burisma energy board in Ukraine. However, they also did not feel comfortable raising the issue with the vice president due to potential blow back for getting involved in familial matters. These officials also say that they do not believe Biden would have used his position to benefit his family.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's campaign has hired Casey Clemmons as Deputy State Director in Iowa, according to CBS News Campaign Reporter Jack Turman. Clemmons recently worked on New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's presidential campaign as their Iowa caucus director. Clemmons is also an alum of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, where he served on the Iowa caucus and general election organizing teams, and former President Obama's re-election campaign. "I'm proud to work for a fellow Midwesterner and pragmatic progressive who will bring a necessary calmness and new generation of American leadership to the White House," Clemmons said in a statement.
Senator Amy Klobuchar is launching a TV ad in Iowa today, which will begin airing ahead of an upcoming visit to the Hawkeye State. CBS News Campaign Reporter Musadiq Bidar says the 30-second ad, called "All of Us," features Klobuchar on the debate stage saying, "I don't want to be the president for half of America, I want to be the president for all of America." Klobuchar, reaching out to those feeling stuck in the middle of political extremes, says in the ad, "You've got a home with me." According to a CBS News count, Klobuchar has held nearly 90 campaign events in Iowa over a span of more than 30 days since launching her campaign in February.
On the heels of conflicting reports about the Trump administration striking a deal to increase ethanol production, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke's campaign announced an endorsement from farmer and former U.S. Department of Agriculture official Doug Thompson, according to CBS News Campaign Reporter Adam Brewster. "Beto O'Rourke is the right choice to lead us out of Trump's mess; from his commitment to trade that benefits American producers, growers and workers, to his steadfast support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I'm proud to stand behind Beto O'Rourke for President," Thompson said in a statement.
Businessman Tom Steyer says he's glad to see Democrats moving forward with an impeachment inquiry but said that he doesn't believe they're being forceful enough, says CBS News Campaign Reporter Adam Brewster.
"I still think they don't have courage of their convictions," Steyer said in a conversation with reporters over breakfast Wednesday morning. "They should be being more aggressive."
Steyer has been pushing for impeachment since he launched the group Need To Impeach two years ago. He said the Mueller report was "damning," but added that it's good that the Democrats are focusing now on President Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "The good thing about Ukraine is it's a simple story that people can latch on to and I think that's really good. So, I do think that's what we should be talking about," Steyer said.
Later this month, Steyer will make his first appearance on the debate stage, where said he plans to present himself as a "different candidate" from his opponents. In recent trips to Iowa, Steyer has appeared to be tripped up by some questions during campaign events, including one about robocalls last month and another ethanol waivers that the Trump administration granted back in August. He had to ask the questioner to explain the ethanol waivers to him during an event in Council Bluffs Tuesday night.
Steyer, however, dismissed concerns about whether he'll be prepared to answer questions that may surprise him on the debate stage.
"There's certainly things I don't know," Steyer said. "Under those circumstances the question is can you put that into context, in a framework of how you think without coming to a firm conclusion without all the facts."
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced Wednesday his campaign raised $10 million in the third quarter of 2019, more than tripling what he raised last quarter, reports CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ben Mitchell. According to the campaign, Yang will go into the end of 2019 with $6.3 million on hand, a total he raised largely with the help of small-dollar donors.
The campaign says the average donation to Yang is about $30.18, and more than 99% of all online donations were under $200. Yang teased the number on Monday after a rally in Los Angeles, saying the fundraising haul would demonstrate that his campaign is "one of the only true growth stories in 2020." "Whereas some of the other campaigns that we look at, they're plateauing or in some cases contracting. And we're growing by multiples," Yang told reporters. The news comes as the Yang campaign expands its presence in Iowa and New Hampshire. Yang opened two new offices in Iowa in September and is hiring more full-time staff in both of the early states.
RULES, RULES, RULES
The deadline for GOP State Parties to submit their delegate selection plans to the Republican National Committee was yesterday. The plans detail how each state will choose delegates to the 2020 convention. Ahead of the deadline, five states had already decided to cancel their nominating processes for 2020. An RNC official told CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ellee Watson that all 56 states and territories have submitted plans on time and all have been accepted.
According to Advertising Analytics, the RNC placed a $2.08 million ad buy on broadcast from October 2 – October 8 in the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Detroit, Lansing, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Albany, Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Norfolk, and Richmond markets. This ad buy is part of the RNC's larger "Stop the Madness" media campaign, according to CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ellee Watson. The media campaign goes after more than 60 Democrats on impeachment.
Last week, President Trump and his allies announced a combined $10 million ad campaign attacking Joe Biden on Ukraine and defending himself from the impeachment inquiry. Sources tell CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ben Mitchell that part of that buy includes $800,000 for next week's Sunday Night Football broadcast, which last week reportedly captured an audience of more than 24 million viewers. Also part of the buy is a $70,000 national spot on Bravo - a move that is likely designed to capture suburban women, a demographic the Trump campaign needs to hold on to in 2020. The Trump ad blitz extends to social media, where the campaign spent close to $2.6 million on digital advertisements last week, according to publicly available data from Facebook and Google. When asked about the ad buy, the Trump campaign had no comment.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has officially set the filing period for presidential candidates ahead of the 2020 primary. A tradition in "first-in-the-nation" politics, the filing period will begin on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 and continue until Friday, November 15, 2019. Presidential candidates are required to submit declarations of candidacy in person, in a ceremonial photo-op taking place in Concord's State Capitol. "This is a 100 year tradition," Secretary Gardner told CBS News Campaign Reporter Nicole Sganga.
The 2020 presidential primary marks the 100th anniversary of New Hampshire voting first, a ritual that predates Iowa's "first in the nation" caucus. Next up, Gardner will officially set the date of the New Hampshire primary, which has tentatively been slated for February 11, 2020. "In the 1996 primary, I didn't set the date until December 21. That's the latest," Gardner recalled, speaking about the primary date. New Hampshire's Secretary of State consistently notes New Hampshire state law allows him to set the primary date for some time in 2019.
Former GOP U.S. Representative Pete Sessions will announce his comeback campaign on Thursday, though in a different Texas district. McLeenan County Republican Party Chairman Jon R. Ker confirmed to CBS News Political Unit Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro that Sessions is launching his campaign for the state's 17th district tomorrow in their headquarters. The seat became open after Congressman Bill Flores announced last month that this term would be his last. Ker emphasized that the McLeenan County hosting Sessions' event is not an endorsement and that they "are simply providing him the venue." Sessions served more than 20 years in Texas' 32nd district in the Dallas area but was ousted in 2018 by Democrat Collin Allred. Flores has served the 17th district in central Texas since 2010 and has won each re-election by at least 18 points.
Flores told Navarro that since his retirement announcement, he's been holding workshops with potential TX-17 candidates and leaders. When Flores heard about the potential run from Sessions, whom he called a friend, he gauged 50 to 60 community and political leaders about it and got mainly negative feedback. He said he wished Sessions reached out so he could share that feedback, but he has yet to do so.
"People responded and said, look, we are blessed in this district with a number of really high quality leaders that live here, they work here, they raise their families here and they serve us already," he said. "Texas 17 is not Dallas. There is a world of difference between this district and a Dallas district. My dad was in the Air Force, and I was born at the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, but that doesn't mean that I'm entitled to go run up there to run for Congress in the State of Wyoming."
LOUISIANA GUBERNATORIAL RACE
Louisiana's "jungle" primary for the gubernatorial race is in less than 10 days, and President Trump has jumped in via Tweet. Eddie Rispone and Ralph Abraham, the two leading GOP candidates, are both hoping to cut into the votes of Democrat Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards and cause a runoff.
Mr. Trump Tweeted three times about the race in the past day, and called for state Republicans to vote for either Rispone or Abraham "(both Great)." Trump Tweeted, "Early voting has started. Your 2nd Amendment, and much else, is at stake." As of Tuesday morning, CBS News Political Unit Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro says a total of 164,834 votes were cast according to the Louisiana Secretary of State Office. Democrats currently hold a 1 percent lead over Republicans.
Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the South, and campaign spokesman Eric Holl said in a statement that Edwards has a "good working relationship with Trump."
"It's no surprise that the President is voicing support for members of his own political party," Holl said in a statement.
Rispone and Abraham have been airing attack ads against each other recently, hoping to capture more of the state's GOP vote. As both have done throughout the race, a Rispone Spokesman drew parallels between his candidate and President Trump. "We welcome President Trump's involvement and are thankful for the endorsement," Rispone Communications Director Anthony Ramirez told Navarro. "Eddie often says he wants to do for Louisiana what Donald Trump has done for America: create jobs and grow our economy."