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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Democratic Senate campaign arm raises $4.8 million in July

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $4.8 million in July, a DSCC official told CBS News Political Unit associate producer Ellee Watson before filing its report with the Federal Election Commission. The filing marks the best off-year July in the DSCC's history.

The committee's haul aligns with the support senatorial candidates have amassed in the states. As Watson and CBS News associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice reported in June, Democratic Senate candidates are raking in more than some presidential contenders.

To flip the Senate in 2020, the Democrats will have to win at least three seats. The Democrats are pushing grassroots fundraising to bolster support in key states like Maine and Iowa. The committee raised $1.8 million in donations below $200.

The DSCC outraised the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee by $440,000 in the month of July.

FROM THE CANDIDATES                                                                                          

CORY BOOKER

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker met with Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Pete Lopez on Monday, the EPA said in a statement. The two discussed how the agency is working with Newark and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to address Newark's water crisis, says CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman

According to the statement, the EPA and NJDEP staff will have field teams to help with sampling homes where there are "known or suspected lead service lines in areas served by the Pequannock water system." 

The city of Newark released a fact sheet on August 16 that said recent tests showed water filters provided by the city government in two homes might not be completely effective in filtering out lead levels in the city's water. 

According to his Senate office, Booker pushed the EPA in the meeting for staff on the ground to assist with sampling the water and for additional resources to educate citizens of all languages about lead exposure risks. 

"I hope that EPA will make a good faith effort to fulfill their commitment of getting additional federal resources on the ground," Booker said in a statement. "Newark residents, including myself, are counting on all levels of government to work together to find solutions as quickly as possible." 

JOE BIDEN

The former vice president has launched his first 60-second television ad in Iowa, targeting the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Quad City and Sioux City markets, reports CBSNews.com reporter Grace Segers. The ad, titled "Bones," makes the case for Biden's ability to take on President Trump in 2020.

"We know in our bones this election is different," the ad says. "The stakes are higher, the threat more serious. We have to beat Donald Trump. And all the polls agree that Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job."

It goes on to tout the accomplishments of the Obama administration — the economic recovery after the financial crisis and the passage of the nation's health care law — and the promises of Biden's candidacy to build on those efforts by building on the Affordable Care Act, restore relationships with U.S. allies and "restore the soul of the nation."

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand rolled out her mental health plan at a roundtable in Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday. CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga says the policy proposal addresses the opioid epidemic, access to care in rural areas and expansion of financial reimbursement for mental health services. 

"If you want to bend the costs of health care, it's all about prevention," Gillibrand said. "The fulcrum is mental health." According to a 2018 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suicide rates rose by 48.3% in New Hampshire between 1999-2016, the third sharpest spike in the country. 

New Hampshire still ranks fourth in the number of opioid-related deaths per capita, nationwide – behind West Virginia, Ohio and Washington, DC.

ELIZABETH WARREN

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday released a plan aimed at reducing the inequities in the criminal justice system, ahead of a roundtable on the topic in Minneapolis. 

"It's long past time for us to reform our system," she wrote in a post on the site Medium. CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak says the Massachusetts senator proposes reducing incarceration rates with a range of strategies, including increasing support for at-risk students in schools. 

Warren also has ideas to help the incarcerated as they exit the prison system, including a boost for rehabilitation services while prisoners are serving their time. And her plan includes several measures to revamp policing to use less violence and stem discrimination. Interest in the Massachusetts senator seems to be growing — she drew her largest crowd yet at a St. Paul, Minnesota rally on Monday, where 12,000 listened to her stump speech, a campaign spokesperson said.

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE HOUSE

After months of campaigning in Upstate South Carolina, Democrat Carrie Counton and Republican Patrick Haddon are going head-to-head in a special election Tuesday for South Carolina's House District 19. The seat became vacant in March when longtime Republican lawmaker Dwight Loftis—who represented the district for 23 years—was elected to the state's senate. 

Greenville County Republican Party chairman Nate Leupp tells CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell this special election could be a harbinger of how voters will cast their ballots in 2020. 

"All of our state races are continually showing us where the voters in the upstate are—specifically Greenville County—they are continually conservative," said Leupp. "When we see our local Republicans running under Republican brand, winning by double digits in our districts, I think that's a good sign of how well President Trump's going to do." 

Eight Democratic presidential candidate campaigns helped Counton canvass ahead of today's election, and both Seth Moulton and Tim Ryan canvassed alongside Counton during earlier visits to the Upstate.

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