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2020 Sunday Trail Markers: Get ready for a major week in politics

Senator Elizabeth Warren on her 2020 campaign

Here's what you need to know in politics this week...

  • This week's big congressional election
  • Enter Mark Sanford
  • Sanford looks to capitalize on Republicans' "Trump fatigue" 
  • House Judiciary to vote on impeachment inquiry 
  • Biden, Warren, Sanders lead in early states ahead of Democratic debate 
  • Billionaire Tom Steyer makes October Democratic debate
  • This week's schedule


Via Associate Producer Ellee Watson and Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro: With less than 48 hours until polls open, North Carolina's 9th congressional district race between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop looks like it'll come down to the wire. 

A poll released Sunday morning from the co/efficient group said that McReady and Bishop are tied at 44 percent, with 7 percent of voters undecided. The 9th district has been reliably Republican in the past and was won handily by President Trump in 2016. 

McCready acknowledged the closeness of this race at a campaign event in Cumberland County on Sunday. "Let's just say it like it is - this thing is going to be close," McCready said, adding, "This is going to come down to hundreds of votes." 

McCready's loss in 2018 to Republican candidate Mark Harris came down to 925 votes, but those election results were thrown out due to absentee ballot fraud on behalf of Harris' camp. Mr. Trump is planning to hold a rally in Fayetteville, in part as an attempt to spread the word about the election and motivate Republican voters. 

Still, many residents in the area told CBS News that they didn't even know there was a special election going on in the first place. In a last minute effort to inform potential voters, McCready's camp said that there was a goal to knock on 100,000 doors this weekend. On Monday afternoon, Vice President Pence will be campaigning with Bishop for their own "Get Out The Vote" event in Union County, which Harris had won easily. 

After 2018's results were thrown out due to ballot fraud, some voters said they have concerns about election integrity. "I don't totally trust the early voting," Ray Lloyd of Fayetteville told CBS News. "To me, in my mind, there's just too much err for any kind of fraud - one way or the other." 

The latest early voting numbers show a 15 percent turnout from registered voters and McCready with a 5 percent lead. 

A presidential battleground state that Mr. Trump narrowly won in 2016, North Carolina will also have elections for governor and the U.S. next year. The race in the 9th is seen as an early indicator of how the state and Republican-leaning suburbs nationwide are feeling as 2020 approaches. 


Via reporter Jason Silverstein: Republican Mark Sanford, a former governor and congressman from South Carolina, said Sunday that he will launch a primary bid challenging Mr. Trump. Sanford is now the third Republican planning to challenge the president, even as the GOP is canceling its nominating contests in some states, including South Carolina.

In an interview on Sunday confirming his plans, Sanford said that Republicans have "lost our way."

"I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican," Sanford said on "Fox News Sunday."


Via Campaign Reporter Nicole Sganga: Mr. Trump's use of Twitter, Sanford argued in an interview with CBS News, has created a level of "Trump fatigue" among conventional Republican voters. "I think that most people are coming to the conclusion that leadership by tweet is not leadership."

Causing an equal amount of Trump fatigue, Sanford said, are the president's latest installment of tariffs on Chinese imports. "The latest statistics show that the trade actions would cost the average household more than thousand dollars. And more significantly, they will cost jobs." Circling back to discussion of the Federal Reserve System, Sanford expressed concerns about the possibility of economic downgrade for the United States amidst "economic uncertainty."

Also uncertain, Sanford concedes, are the number of Republicans willing to abandon Mr. Trump. "That's the big bet of this race. And I don't know which way it will cut." He recalls the "thousands upon thousands" of conversations he's had in office with local fisherman, small business owners, and penny-pinching families.

"My belief is that those people have not disappeared."


Via Capitol Hill Producer Rebecca Kaplan: The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to vote to formally define an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. A person familiar with the plans told CBS News this is significant because it's the first formal acknowledgement in committee.

The source, however, pushed back on the idea that this is in response to Republican criticism that they need to take a formal vote, saying it's a natural next step for the inquiry. The text of the changes will be made public Monday for a likely vote next week. 

Holding a vote will put Democrats on the record on whether they support opening an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.


State by state in vote preference, New Hampshire now sees Warren just slightly up over Biden and Sanders in first-choice preference there, effectively making the primary there a three-way contest, a new CBS News poll finds. Biden holds onto a small edge over Sanders in first-choice preference in Iowa to go with that still-sizable advantage in South Carolina. Meanwhile, Sanders has a narrow edge over Biden in Nevada.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday had a similar result, with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders leading the rest of the Democratic field. The top three contenders for the Democratic nomination will finally face each other on the debate stage on Thursday in Texas. 

The Washington Post/ABC News poll found Biden in the lead with 29% support among Democrats. He is trailed by Bernie Sanders, with 19% support, and Elizabeth Warren, who had 18%. 


Via Associate Produce Sarah Ewall-Wice: Billionaire Tom Steyer appears to have qualified for the debate stage for the fourth Democratic presidential primary debate in October after reaching 2% in Nevada in the CBS News Battleground Tracker poll published Sunday. He previously received 2% in the July CBS News Iowa poll, as well as 2% in a Monmouth South Carolina poll and 3% in a Monmouth poll in Iowa.

He had already reached the 130,000 donor threshold in August.

Steyer's qualification means that there will be two debates in October instead of one. Because only 10 of the candidates qualified in September, there will only be a single debate on Thursday. Having fewer candidates on stage each night in October will mean that the candidates will have more time to make their points. 

The threshold to make the third and four debates was the same, so the 10 candidates who met the requirements for the third debate in Houston also qualify for the fourth. 

For the third and fourth debates, candidates were required to both reach 2% in four polls and acquire donations from 130,000 unique donors, which doubled the thresholds of the earlier debates. For the first two rounds, candidates needed to poll at 1% and acquire 65,000 donors. 


9/9 – Julián Castro in TX, Bernie Sanders in CO, Mr. Trump in NC

9/10 – Joe Biden in CA, Elizabeth Warren in TX

9/11 – Biden in TX, Cory Booker in TX, Pete Buttigieg in TX, Castro in TX, Kamala Harris in TX, Amy Klobuchar in TX, Beto O'Rourke in TX, Sanders in TX, Warren in TX, Andrew Yang in TX

9/12 – Biden, Warren, Sanders, Booker, Harris, O'Rourke, Yang, Klobuchar, Castro, Buttigieg debate in TX

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