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2020 Sunday Trail Markers: Who's winning the Democrats' fundraising race?

Biden supporters push back against Trump's accusations

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

  • Moneyball: Who's rising and who's falling in the fundraising race? 
  • Some Democrats worry about the politics of impeachment
  • CBS News poll: Majority of Democrats, Americans support impeachment inquiry 
  • Giuliani says Pompeo knew about Ukraine outreach
  • This week's schedule

WHO'S WINNING THE FUNDRAISING RACE

Via CBS News Associate Producer Sarah Ewall-Wice and Political Correspondent Ed O'Keefe: Presidential candidates are making their final pitches for campaign cash before the third quarter closes Monday. But will it be enough to keep them all in this crowded race? 

"I'm feeling good," Julián Castro told CBS News over the weekend. "I haven't been anywhere near the top in terms of fundraising, but I'm very proud that I have one of the highest percentages of small dollar donors and that will continue into this quarter. This quarter will be stronger than the last quarter, so we're moving in the right direction."

Castro's comments come after his campaign manager, Maya Rupert, shot down the idea that he would end his bid if he didn't make the November debate. But everyone can expect to see a major uptick in fundraising emails over the next 24 hours. According to former campaign officials, summer into early fall can be a rough time to receive donations, so here's what we're looking for when it comes to the close of this quarter:

  • Will Elizabeth Warren's rise in the polls also be reflected in campaign cash? The Massachusetts senator had an impressive second quarter, raising more than $19 million despite swearing off high-dollar fundraisers. So will that seemingly risky financial gamble continue to pay off? And where does that leave fellow grassroots fundraising candidate Bernie Sanders, who recently announced his campaign topped its 1 millionth donor?
  • Can Pete Buttigieg repeat his second quarter haul? The South Bend mayor raked in a whopping $24.9 million in the last quarter, putting him in the top fundraising spot. Can he maintain his cash momentum, and if so, who is donating? 
  • How is Joe Biden's small-dollar fundraising game? While Warren and Sanders have proven they can raise large sums of money without attending big fundraisers, the former vice president has crammed in some stops in some of the country's wealthiest cities ahead of the end of quarter. But does he also have a solid base of small donations?
  • How much did Cory Booker raise? The New Jersey senator's campaign had told supporters that he needed to raise at least $1.7 million over 10 days in order to maintain a campaign operation robust enough to compete. On Sunday, Booker was more than 80% of the way toward his goal, but even if he meets it, how much more did he raise? And why is a senator from a state so close to New York City, the political money capital of the U.S., struggling to raise funds?
  • How will Kamala Harris do? Despite representing the most populous state, she raised half of what some top fundraising candidates did in the second quarter. She has also been on a roller coaster in recent polls, so what will that mean financially for the California senator?
  • Will there be a fundraising surprise? Entrepreneur Andrew Yang has been outpolling a number of more seasoned candidates. Now he's promising to "shock the world" with his third quarter fundraising numbers. So what exactly does that number look like?
  • Will a cash shortage force any low-polling candidates out of the race? In the second quarter, some presidential candidates were raising less money than Senate candidates from their home states. So if there isn't an uptick in funds can these candidates continue to scrounge by?
  • Are any campaigns already raising general election money? If so, that's a sign of a candidate who has well-heeled donors willing to max out for the primary and general election and eager to demonstrate an ability to raise a large sum. But it also suggests less grassroots support from small-dollar donors willing to help out in the short term.

While some candidates may tout larger fundraising numbers in the coming days, candidates have an October 15 deadline to file with the Federal Election Commission.

SOME DEMS WORRY ABOUT POLITICS OF IMPEACHMENT

Via CBS News Campaign Reporter Bo Erickson: In interviews with dozens of Democrats ahead of Joe Biden's Las Vegas speech on Friday, almost every voter said they support the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump. But a few told CBS News Campaign Reporter Bo Erickson they feared the inquiry could politically backfire on Democrats in next year's general election. "If he beats [impeachment] it may help him and that's a fear of mine," Gregory Shaw, 40, said. "I do think [impeachment] could be a rallying cry because of course the president claims it's not right what they're doing to him," Las Vegas resident Ed Martin, 70, said.

Most Democrats interviewed said Biden's 2020 Democratic rivals could be doing more to defend the former vice president from President Trump's claims on the Biden family connections to Ukraine. "I think they should be more forceful and speak up more," Sterling Acres, 73, said about the other candidates who didn't jump to Biden's defense. Ana Lopez, 66, said the Democratic candidates "should not be circular firing."   

 Who will come out on top of this Ukraine-claim melee? "I think Mr. Biden will profit from all of the negativity from White House," Lucy Ouano, 64, said, which is reflective of most of the other Democrats interviewed. Others, like Biden-supporter Christopher Scott Charles, 38, were less optimistic when asked if Trump's claims will stick. He replied: "This is going to hurt."  

CBS NEWS POLL: MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS, AMERICANS SUPPORT IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Via Anthony Salvanto, Kabir Khana, Jennifer de Pinto and Fred Backus: More than half of Americans — and an overwhelming number of Democrats — say they approve of the fact that Congress has opened an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. But as the inquiry begins, there is no national consensus on how to assess the president's actions.

Partisans have immediately and predictably split: most Democrats call the president's handling of matters with Ukraine illegal, and deserving of impeachment.

Most Republicans call his actions proper — or, even if improper, then still legal — and feel they're an example of things that past presidents typically did, too. Most Americans think that because Congress is now taking up the matter, it will be unable to work on other issues.

You can read more about the poll's findings here

GIULIANI SAYS POMPEO KNEW ABOUT UKRAINE OUTREACH

Via CBSNews.com reporter Camilo Montoya-Galvez: President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said on Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told him he was aware of his unorthodox diplomatic campaign to pressure Ukraine's government to dig up political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. 

"I did not do this on my own. I did it at the request of the State Department and I have all of the text messages to prove it. And I also have a thank you from them from doing a good job," Giuliani said on "Face the Nation." "When I talked to the secretary last week, he said he was aware of it."

Giuliani's claim on Sunday echoes recent allegations that he and others, including a whistleblower whose compliant is at the center of an impeachment push against Mr. Trump, have made about the State Department's supposed involvement in his behind-the-scenes outreach to Ukraine, a staunch U.S. ally dealing with a Russian-backed insurgency in its eastern territory. 

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL THIS WEEK

9/30 – Gabbard in Iowa, Klobuchar in WA, Sanders in NH, Yang in CA

10/2 – Biden in NV, Booker in NV, Buttigieg in NV, Castro in NV, Delaney in IL, Harris in NV, Klobuchar in NV, O'Rourke in NV, Sanders in NV, Warren in NV, Yang in NV

10/3 – Biden in CA, Harris in NV, Warren in CA

10/4 – Biden in CA, Booker in CA, Biden in CA, Buttigieg in IN, Castro in CA, Harris in CA, Sanders in CA, Warren in CA

10/5 – Booker in SC, Buttigieg in CA, Klobuchar in CA, O'Rourke in CA, Harris in SC

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