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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Jeff Sessions is "seriously considering" Senate bid for his old seat

2020 Daily Trail Markers: Justice forum
2020 Daily Trail Markers: Democratic candidates speak out after Trump receives award at HBCU justice forum 11:18

CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe has learned former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is "seriously considering" a campaign to win back his former U.S. Senate seat, according to multiple people familiar with his thinking.

A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment early Tuesday. His Washington-based attorney did not immediately return requests for comment.

"He is seriously considering a campaign," said a Republican operative familiar with Sessions's thinking, who stressed that whoever Republicans nominate is set to defeat Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, widely considered to be the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent facing re-election next year, given the GOP dominance of Alabama and strong support in the state for President Trump.

Other people confirmed Sessions is thinking about a campaign. Politico first reported that Sessions is looking at a Senate bid.

Jones is seeking a full term, after winning his seat in late 2017 in a race that drew global attention because of allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Republican candidate Roy Moore. He admitted to relationships with younger women when he was in his 30s but denied ever assaulting anyone. 

Sessions has until Nov. 8 to file paperwork to run. If he joins the fray, CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson says he would face five other Republican contenders: Moore, who is trying yet again, plus Rep. Bradley Byrne, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Secretary of State John Merrill and state Rep. Arnold Mooney.



In her first visit to the Palmetto State since the launch of her husband's presidential campaign, Amy O'Rourke met with a dozen students and faculty at the Columbia College Women's Business Center on Tuesday. During her second stop of the day, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell says she shared her personal story of meeting her husband and learning the power of community engagement during O'Rourke's local run for city councilman and later his senatorial race against incumbent Ted Cruz in 2017.

"It really proved to us that there is so much power in our approach of bringing everyone into the conversation and to the solutions and...making them recognize that they're such an important part of our democracy," said Amy O'Rourke to the room of budding entrepreneurs. "We're very much trying to take that same approach for this presidential race where we're going to the places where you might expect it  —  the early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — but also spending a lot of time in places where people don't often go...making sure that we're hearing everybody's unique perspective and then taking what we learn and applying that to the policies that we're putting forward."

Patricia Ortiz, a Columbia College business administration student and business owner, attended the roundtable and said that she would definitely be considering Beto O'Rourke after listening to his wife's pitch.

"The news talks so much about others that are in, but they're not really talking about this candidate as much, and it's nice that the spouse came out to let us see her face, and to find out  —  truly looking at her heart  —  explaining to us what they've gone through [and] the basis of where they came from versus where they want to see the country go," said Ortiz. "They are very interested in putting forth grassroots effort to find out truly what the people want."


CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar reports that Sanders has a new digital ad in Iowa featuring Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The popular first-term Democratic representative from New York's 14th District recently endorsed Sanders for president. The 30-second ad was produced in-house by the Sanders campaign. In the ad, Ocasio-Cortez recounts the first time she heard about Sanders — when she was a waitress. 

"I didn't have health insurance. I was being paid less than a living wage, and I didn't think that I deserved any of those things," Ocasio-Cortez says in the ad. She goes on to say, "We should have a society that guarantees 21st century economic rights…what makes Senator Sanders very different is that his aspiration is our aspiration."



North Carolina's current congressional map will be getting a makeover for 2020 says CBS News 2020 broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. On Monday night, a trio of North Carolina Superior Court judges ruled in favor of voters who argued in a lawsuit that Republicans had the 2016 map with unlawful partisan bias. The same court came to a similar conclusion earlier this year in a case about political manipulation about state House and Senate district lines. A trial will be held for the lawsuit, but the expected result after Monday is that new maps will be requested.

How will this affect 2020 races? Congressional primaries could potentially be delayed in the case that a new map is not redrawn by the State Board of Elections deadline of December 15. CBS News associate producer Eleanor Watson also says if the map is not drawn in time, delegate selection for the presidential nominating convention could also be impacted. 

In 2004, North Carolina had to delay allocating delegates until a redistricting case was settled. The judgment appears to be a big victory for North Carolina Democrats, who despite having more registered voters in the state, have 3 congressional seats, while Republicans have 10. A new map could unite city-areas that had been diluted into several districts and bring more Democratic voters into traditionally red districts. 

North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard said Republican congressmen in these types of areas can now be targeted, and they "will have to run real, competitive races — something none of them really have done this decade."

North Carolina Democrats and the Democratic Congressional campaign arms (DSCC & DCCC) also filed their own lawsuit today to overturn early voting restrictions that prevent ballots from being cast on the Saturday prior to Election Day. In their release, North Carolina Democrats argued that early voting is particularly popular among black North Carolinians and registered Democrats who have increasingly participated in early voting. In the state's last federal election in the 9th District, Democrats turned out for the early vote more so than Republicans, though GOP opponent Dan Bishop ended up winning the race on Election Day.



A new national poll from Grinnell College and Selzer & Co., finds President Trump would face a tough re-election fight if the 2020 election were held today, despite the fact that half of likely voters approve of how he has handled the economy. 

CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster says 50% of respondents said they approve of the job the president has done with the economy, compared to 39% who disapprove. However, the poll also found that 38% of likely voters would definitely vote for Mr. Trump if the election were held this week, compared to 47% who would definitely vote for someone else. 

"Historically, presidents who govern during times of economic growth are likely to be re-elected," Peter Hanson, associate professor of political science at Grinnell College and Grinnell College national poll director, said in a press release. "Over half of Americans believe the economy is doing well and that they are moving closer to their personal financial goals, but just 38% think President Trump should be re-elected. The warning lights should be blinking red inside the Trump campaign. The president is heading into 2020 weighed down by troubles that are overshadowing the strong economy." 

Overall, the poll found 40% of likely voters approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing as president, compared to 50% who disapprove. Those approval numbers largely track with President Trump's approval rating throughout his term in office. 

The Grinnell College National Poll was conducted Oct. 17–23, 2019. The full sample size of U.S. adults 18 or older has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The portion for likely voters has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. 


Bernie Sanders (21%) and Elizabeth Warren (18%) are running neck-and-neck in a recent CNN New Hampshire poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire, surveyed among likely voters in the "first-in-the-nation" Democratic presidential primary. Joe Biden follows at 15%, with Pete Buttigieg landing 10% support. Three candidates follow, earning 5% in the poll – Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.

CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga notes Joe Biden has lost considerable support, dropping 9 points since July. Still the former vice president holds a lead of 22% with voters age 50 and older. Bernie Sanders trounces the competition among younger voters, with 31% of likely voters under age 50 backing him. The Vermont senator also leads in support among male voters at 24%, compared to 14% for Joe Biden and 13% backing Warren. Warren leads the field among college graduates with 23% support compared to Sanders at 16%, Biden at 14% and Buttigieg at 13%. 

With over 100 days until the New Hampshire primaries, less than a quarter of likely Democratic primary voters surveyed say they have definitively chosen a candidate. Asked what issue is most important to them, 16% of New Hampshire voters say health care, while 16% choose climate change, 12% jobs/economy, and 10% foreign policy.

The DNC qualifying poll places Pete Buttigieg on December's debate stage. The CNN survey grants Tulsi Gabbard her second of four qualifying polls needed to compete in the November debate. It is the first of four qualifying polls needed for Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang for the December debate.

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