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— The lineups for the first Democratic debates were set on Friday. Here’s the matchups we’ll be watching for in a little over a week.
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— A constellation of Democratic super PACs are preparing to spend $150 million attacking President Donald Trump, while candidates fight it out for the party’s nomination.
— Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) announced she will not run for a fifth term in 2020. She will continue on in her role leading the House GOP’s recruitment efforts.
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Days until the Mississippi gubernatorial primary election: 49
Days until the NC-03 and NC-09 general elections: 85
Days until the Louisiana gubernatorial primary election: 117
Days until the Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia general elections: 141
Days until the 2020 election: 505
THE DEBATE STAGE — At long last, we know the lineups for the first Democratic presidential primary debates on June 26 and 27, following a random drawing held by NBC News in New York on Friday (here’s more from me and Chris Cadelago as well). In alphabetical order, here are the two stages:
We’re nine days away from the first showdown in Miami. Here are some of the things we’ll be watching for:
— Warren is all on her own. Candidates polling above 2 percent were randomly divided among the two nights — but by chance, four out of the top five hopefuls ended up on the second night. Biden, Buttigieg, Harris and Sanders are all on June 27, leaving Warren as the only candidate on June 26 who has really broken out of the pack (O’Rourke has faded in the polls, and Booker and Klobuchar has barely cleared that 2 percent mark). Will Warren having the night to herself be a positive or a negative? Democrats that talked to POLITICO’s David Siders and Chris say it was an unlucky draw — mitigated somewhat by the chance to go first.
— The moderates vs. the liberals. The big clash of ideology will be Sanders vs. Biden on night two (I eagerly await all the people in my Twitter mentions who said that matchup would never be allowed to happen to retract their claims). But don’t overlook the recent sniping between Sanders and Hickenlooper — and Delaney on the first night, who has been trying to contrast himself with Warren.
— Primed for a breakout? Can a candidate who hasn’t had their moment shine? Will O’Rourke reclaim some of the spotlight on night one or could Inslee’s climate-first campaign catch fire? Can Gillibrand argue her case amongst the leaders on night two?
— Watch the outsiders. Most of the top-polling candidates are on night two, but so are the outsiders. Williamson, the wellness guru, and Yang, the entrepreneur, will be battling it out with a former vice president and several senators.
NOT UNANSWERED — Democratic outside groups are preparing to lay into Trump while the party’s 2020 hopefuls fight it out for the party’s nomination. “Democratic super PACs are set to soon launch a yearlong $150 million advertising onslaught countering the millions the president’s campaign has already spent targeting voters,” POLITICO’s Maggie Severns reported. “On top of that, billionaire Tom Steyer is funding other groups testing a range of strategies to register and turn out people to vote. And the Democratic National Committee this week began training hundreds of college students to work as field staff in battleground states, an effort that will continue throughout the election.”
— Google had not been classifying ads from O’Rourke as political ads, “raising questions over whether Google is capable of keeping its already anemic promise of transparency for political ads,” Quartz’ Jeremy Merrill reported. The tech titan chalked it up as an “error in our enforcement process.”
THE REELECT — The president’s reelect is trying to run a much different campaign than the one he had in 2016. “Trump’s 2020 campaign is quietly flipping the script from its ham-fisted approach the first time he sought elected office,” POLITICO’s Gabby Orr reported. “His team has spent two and half years building a robust, modern and professional operation to optimize as many variables as possible, and amassing an unprecedented pile of cash to keep it all afloat.”
— After internal polling leaked, the president’s campaign is cutting ties with some of its pollsters: Brett Lloyd, Mike Baselice and Adam Geller are out, per POLITICO's Andrew Restuccia (NBC News' Chuck Todd, Kristen Welker and Ben Kamisar reported many of the details first).
— The president’s team is also starting to focus resources on oppo on Warren as she rises in the polls, POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt wrote.
THE CASH DASH — Buttigeig’s campaign is looking to post a monster second quarter. On a conference call with big donors last month, his campaign announced it “had raised $7 million in the month of April alone, as much as Buttigieg had in his entire eye-catching first quarter in the presidential race,” POLITICO’s Daniel Strauss and Elena Schneider reported. “Buttigieg has scheduled 21 fundraising events around the country before the end-of-June deadline, according to an event list obtained by POLITICO, with multiple stops in donor-rich locations like Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.” and has also raised $1 million from “grassroots fundraisers” rallies.
— Major New York donors have largely backed Biden, Harris and Buttigieg, The New York TImes’ Shane Goldmacher reported.
POLLS POLLS POLLS — A new Fox News national poll has Biden in front, with a pileup for second place. Biden is at 32 percent. Sanders has 13 percent, Warren has 9 percent and Buttigieg and Harris each have 8 percent, the last candidates above 5 percent. (449 Democratic primary voters, June 9-12). This poll counts for the July Democratic presidential primary debate but offers no help to candidates who didn’t make the June field.
— Some polls that could have major implications for the July debate stage come from CBS News/YouGov. The network released polling in an aggregate of 18 “battleground states” — and released individual results in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock got 1 percent in the Iowa poll, while Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam and former Sen. Mike Gravel each got 1 percent in the South Carolina poll.
If these polls count for debate qualification, Bullock would have qualified for the July debates (the 21st candidate to do so), Messam would have two qualifying polls, and Gravel would have one. The hangup? These are online-based polls. A trio of Reuters/Ipsos online national polls count for qualification for the June and July debates but were cut as qualifying polls for the fall. The DNC did not return requests for clarification Sunday on if (or how) these new CBS/YouGov polls count for debate qualification.
CATTLE CALLS — The National Education Association will host a forum on education on July 5, per POLITICO Pro’s Nicole Gaudiano. At least 7 candidates have already confirmed they’d attend. 22 candidates will head down to South Carolina for Rep. Jim Clyburn’s fish fry on June 22, per WOLO’s Rochelle Dean. 18 candidates have RSVP’d to the Polk County Democratic Party Steak Fry on Sept. 21 in Iowa, per the Des Moines Register’s Robin Opsahl.
RETIREMENT WATCH — Brooks announced she will not seek reelection in an interview with the Indianapolis Star’s Maureen Groppe. But Brooks will stay in her role as the head of recruitment for the NRCC, POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Melanie Zanona reported. Sarah and Melanie reported that Brooks’ chief of staff Megan Savage is considering a run in the district, but that she hasn’t made a final decision. Brooks is one of 13 women in the House GOP conference.
The DCCC had Brooks’ on its retirement watch list, and is making some noise that they believe they can spur a competitive race in the district. But Trump carried the district by about a dozen points in 2016, and Brooks handily won reelection in 2018.
THE SENATE MAP — Democrat Cal Cunningham filed with the Federal Election Commission to run in the North Carolina Senate race Sunday. Cunningham was previously running in the race for lieutenant governor, but he told the Charlotte Observer's Jim Morrill last week he was giving “serious thought” to switching to run for Senate instead. He’s a former one-term state senator, and a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cunningham ran in the 2010 Senate primary in North Carolina, losing in a runoff to Elaine Marshall, who then lost to Sen. Richard Burr.
— Sara Gideon, a Democrat and the Maine state House speaker, “is expected to formally announce in the coming weeks that she’s running for Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ seat in 2020,” HuffPost’s Hayley Miller and Kevin Robillard reported, citing “five Democratic sources.” The duo reported that the announcement will likely come soon after the end of the state’s legislative session on June 19.
— Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, a Republican, announced he is running for the House, per the Helena Independent Record’s Holly Michels. He dropped his bid for governor after Gianforte’ announced he would run for the state’s chief executive.
ANOTHER INVESTIGATION — The House Ethics Committee is investigating Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) for alleged sexual discrimination, E&E News’ George Cahlink and Kellie Lunney reported. “The House Ethics Committee continues to investigate claims of discrimination against the Arizona Democrat, despite voting in December that a $48,395 settlement he paid to a female staffer as a result of the hostile workplace allegation was permissible,” they wrote. “Grijalva remains confident he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.” Grijalva also said he has no plans of retiring in 2020.
THE CENSUS QUESTION — A high-ranking Census Bureau staffer had talked with Tom Hofeller, the late GOP redistricting strategist, according to court filings, NPR’s Hansi Lo Wong reported. “Emails released Friday show that Christa Jones — a longtime Census Bureau employee who currently serves as the chief of staff to the bureau's deputy director, Ron Jarmin — had been in contact with Hofeller as early as 2010, using both her official Census Bureau email address and a Hotmail address.” A Commerce Department spokesperson dismissed any alleged connection as “conspiracy theories.”
ELECTION SECURITY — One of the top officials charged with assisting election supervisors with protecting elections is being accused of undermining his agency. “Brian Newby, the executive director of the Election Assistance Commission, has blocked important work on election security, micromanaged employees’ interactions with partners outside the agency and routinely ignored staff questions, according to former election officials, former federal employees and others who regularly work with the agency,” POLITICO’s Eric Geller reported.
CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t need 25 people as an entourage to do what I’m doing these days.” — Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, on his bid to primary Trump, to the AP.