A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds Joe Biden leading the Democratic presidential field with 19%, followed by Bernie Sanders at 14%, Elizabeth Warren at 9%, Pete Buttigieg at 6% and Michael Bloomberg at 4%.
Ron Brownstein: “There are signs Hispanics may prove a kind of secret weapon for Sanders. In a recent Fox News poll of Nevada, Hispanics there preferred Sanders over Biden by 7 percentage points. Sanders also led Biden with them by 9 points in a recent Latino Decisions poll of California and doubled the former vice president’s vote among them in the University of Texas at Tyler poll. Sanders narrowly led Biden with Hispanics in a New York Times/Siena poll of Florida, and the two ran even in Arizona, according to the OH Predictive Insights survey.”
Ed Kilgore: “The evidence of Sanders’s strength among Latinos is everywhere, most recently in a University of California IGS survey of the Golden State, where Sanders led the field, in no small part because of his 32 percent showing (Biden is second at 19 percent) among Latinos.”
Michael Bloomberg “brushed back critiques about his wealth and bristled at the suggestion that he was using it to buy success in the 2020 presidential race, arguing that other Democrats who have complained about his entry into their party’s primary could have taken it upon themselves to earn their own personal fortunes, as he had done,” the New York Times reports.
Said Bloomberg: “They had a chance to go out and make a lot of money. And how much of their own money do they put into their campaigns?”
He added: “I’m doing exactly the same thing they’re doing, except that I am using my own money. They’re using somebody else’s money and those other people expect something from them. Nobody gives you money if they don’t expect something. And I don’t want to be bought.”
New York Times editorial: “Pete Buttigieg worked nearly three years for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and he has presented that experience as a kind of capitalist credential — distinguishing him from some rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, and inoculating him against Republican attacks.”
“The thing is, Mr. Buttigieg has said precious little about his time at McKinsey. He has not named the clients for whom he worked, nor said much about what he did. He says his lips are sealed by a nondisclosure agreement he signed when he left the firm in 2010 and that he has asked the company to release him from the agreement. It has not yet agreed to do so.”
“This is not a tenable situation. Mr. Buttigieg owes voters a more complete account of his time at the company.”
“Pete Buttigieg released a timeline of his work at McKinsey & Co. on Friday amid criticism that he isn’t sharing more details about his time at the consulting firm,” Politico reports.
Said Buttigieg: “I never worked on a project inconsistent with my values, and if asked to do so, I would have left the firm rather than participate.”
He said most of his work consisted of “mathematical analysis, conducting research, and preparing presentations.”
“With just under two months until the Iowa caucuses, the already-volatile Democratic presidential race has grown even more unsettled, setting the stage for a marathon nominating contest between the party’s moderate and liberal factions,” the New York Times reports.
Pete Buttigieg’s surge, Bernie Sanders’s revival, Elizabeth Warren’s struggles and the exit of Kamala Harris have upended the primary and, along with Joe Biden’s enduring strength with nonwhite voters, increased the possibility of a split decision after the early nominating states.”
“That’s when Michael Bloomberg aims to burst into the contest — after saturating the airwaves of the Super Tuesday states with tens of millions of dollars of television ads.”
“With no true front-runner and three other candidates besides Mr. Bloomberg armed with war chests of over $20 million, Democrats are confronting the prospect of a drawn-out primary reminiscent of the epic Clinton-Obama contest in 2008.”
Politico: “The outside group Maine Momentum is dramatically escalating its bombardment of Collins over the last weeks of December, honing in on the second anniversary of the GOP’s tax reform law that Collins (R-Maine) supported in 2017, which Democrats believe is a vulnerability in her likely race against statehouse Speaker Sara Gideon.”
“The group planned to run $60,000 in ads over the next three weeks focusing on the law. But the group behind the buy is tripling its investment over the end of the year: Now instead of $180,000 over a three-week period, the group will now spend $540,000 on the ad, punctuating the edge Democrats currently have on the airwaves in the state.”
“Long-simmering tensions between Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, the two ascendant Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa, burst into the open this week,” Politico reports.
“Warren and Buttigieg’s campaigns each called the other out in a flurry of back-and-forths on the candidates’ tax returns, past corporate clients, campaign bundlers and opening fundraisers to the news media.”
Cook Political Report: “The new map effectively is all but certain to convert a 10-3 Republican delegation into an 8-5 Republican edge – a huge win for House Democrats and a pre-2020 insurance policy for Speaker Pelosi. The biggest losers on the GOP side: Reps. George Holding (NC-02) and Mark Walker (NC-06), whose Raleigh and Greensboro districts become safe Democratic seats.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a doctor’s report which says the presidential candidate is “in excellent health.”
Rep. George Holding (R-NC) said he will not seek reelection in 2020 following redistricting in his home state, The Hill reports.
A new Fort Hays State University survey in Kansas finds President Trump’s approval rate at 44% to 44%. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the state by 20 points in 2016.
Amy Walter: “Back in the 2016 campaign, I noticed a pattern that could be called ‘the spotlight paradox:’ whenever the focus was on one candidate, the other candidate benefited… There’s something of a spotlight paradox happening in the Democratic primary this year. The candidates who have spent time under the bright lights have wilted, while those sitting in its shadow have risen.”
“Why is this? Democrats don’t suddenly dislike the candidates who have undergone the scrutiny that comes with front runner status. What they do dislike, however, is vulnerability. For many Democratic voters, President Trump is an existential threat. As with any existential threat, the most important question is who/what can beat it. In 2019, a candidate’s ideology isn’t as important as his or her ability to take a punch. And be able to punch back.”