’s Weekly Campaign Notebook Sept. 26

As we get closer to the Nov. 3 general election, will post a weekly notebook of actions of the candidates.


A national poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden maintaining his lead over President Donald Trump. Some 51% of registered voters nationally say they would vote for Biden if the election were held today, while 43% back President Trump. That 8-point lead remains largely unchanged from a month ago, when Mr. Biden had a 9-point advantage, and compares with an 11-point Biden lead in July. Mr. Biden has led Mr. Trump by 6 points or more all year.

The survey of 1,000 voters was taken Sept. 13-16 finds most voters say they are settled in their choices. More than 70% say the debates won’t matter much to them, including 44% who say they will not matter at all to their choice, a record high dating to 2000.

A record 75% of voters in the survey rated their interest in the election at a 10 on a 10-point scale as 52% plan to vote early. 

Voters view President Trump better suited than Biden to manage the economy, 48% to 38%. Overall, the president’s job approval rating is at 45%, up 3 percentage points from July, while 53% disapprove.

Mr. Biden now has a 22-point lead, 51% to 29%, on who is better to manage the outbreak, up from 11 points in June, is seen as better on supporting and respecting the military and veterans, 47% to 42%, has an 8-point advantage among voters on which candidate can better serve as commander in chief and is seen as more honest and trustworthy and, by an overwhelming margin, 52% to 28%. Wall Street Journal/NBC News

The presidential race in Georgia could not be closer as President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are tied, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll.  

The poll pegged Trump and Biden at 47% apiece, with an additional 1% of voters backing Libertarian Jo Jorgensen. Only 4% were undecided in the survey of 1,150 likely voters, which was conducted Sept. 11-20 by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Georgia’s twin U.S. Senate races are also competitive. U.S. Sen. David Perdue (47%) and Democrat Jon Ossoff (45%) are neck-and-neck, within the poll’s margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. Libertarian Shane Hazel has 4% support, and about 5% are undecided.

The special election for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat is still highly unsettled. Loeffler is pegged at 24%, with Rep. Doug Collins, her fiercest Republican rival, and Democrat Raphael Warnock are within striking distance at roughly 20% each.

Trailing is Democrat Matt Lieberman, an educator and the son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, with 11% of support. He and former prosecutor Ed Tarver, who is at 5%, are facing renewed calls within their party to quit the race to rally around Warnock.

About 17% of respondents say they still haven’t made up their mind, a sign that the top contenders have room to grow ahead of the free-for-all November special election featuring all 21 candidates on the same ballot. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A second poll in Georgia by Monmouth University Poll confirms Donald Trump and Joe Biden remain locked in a tight race for Georgia’s electoral votes. In the two contests for U.S. Senate, the GOP maintains a lead in the regular election, but the special Senate election is now a three-person race. What once looked like a potential runoff between two Republicans could end up being a two-party contest.

Among all registered voters in Georgia, Trump is supported by 47% and Biden is supported by 46%. Another 2% say they will vote for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and 4% are undecided. These results include 42% who are certain to vote for Trump and 40% who say are certain about Biden. 

The race remains tight when different likely voter models are applied. A model based on a higher level of turnout than 2016 puts the race at 48% Trump and 46% Biden while one reflecting lower turnout produces a similar 50% Trump and 45% Biden result. These results are nearly identical to Monmouth’s July poll.

In the two Senate races, Republican incumbent David Perdue holds a 48% to 42% lead over Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s regularly scheduled U.S. Senate election. Libertarian Shane Hazel earns 4% while another 6% are undecided. Likely voter models show similar results under either high turnout (48% Perdue and 43% Ossoff) or low turnout (50% Perdue and 42% Ossoff) scenarios. Looking at coattail effects, Perdue has the support of 91% of Trump voters (92% in July). Ossoff has the backing of 85% of Biden voters (83% in July). 

The other senate seat will be decided by a special election, featuring a blanket primary with 20 listed candidates on the November ballot. This is currently a three-way race. Republican Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, has 23% support, fellow Republican Doug Collins has 22% support and Democrat Raphael Warnock has 21% support. Other candidates named in the poll are Democrats Matt Lieberman (11%) and Ed Tarver (4%) and Libertarian Brian Slowinski (3%). Monmouth University Poll

A Des Moines Register survey found a dead heat in Iowa with President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden locked in a tie just six weeks to Election Day. 

Forty-seven percent of likely voters say they would support Trump for president, and 47% say they would support Biden. Another 4% would vote for someone else and 3% are unsure. Trump leads by 21 percentage points with men, 57% to 36% over Biden. And Biden leads by 20 percentage points with women, 57% to 37% over Trump. Des Moines Register

Small shifts in the presidential and U.S. Senate races in Iowa suggests President Donald Trump may be solidifying support in what remains a tight race with Joe Biden, according to a Monmouth University Poll. 

Among all registered voters in Iowa, Trump is supported by 50% and Biden is supported by 44%. Another 2% say they will vote for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, 1% will vote for another candidate, and 2% are undecided. Trump led Biden by 48% to 45% among registered voters in August.

The race tightens when different likely voter models are applied. A model based on a higher level of turnout than 2016 puts the race at 49% Trump and 46% Biden while one reflecting lower turnout produces an identical 49% Trump and 46% Biden result. These margins are similar to August’s poll, which had Trump ahead 48% to 46% in the high turnout scenario and a tied race at 47% each in the low turnout model.

In the election for U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent Joni Ernst (47%) and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield (47%) are locked in a tight battle. Ernst had a slight 48% to 45% edge among registered voters last month. Libertarian Rick Stewart earns 1% and another 4% are undecided. The race remains close, but with a nominal lead for the Democrat, when looking at likely voters under either a high turnout (49% Greenfield and 46% Ernst) or low turnout (48% Greenfield and 47% Ernst) scenario. Last month, Ernst had 48% and Greenfield had 47% in both voter models.

Iowa voters are divided on the prospect of a quick confirmation for a new Supreme Court justice. Specifically, just under half (47%) approve of Trump trying to fill the vacancy before the election while 50% would disapprove of this. The results are similar when voters are asked about the president trying to fill the seat before the end of his term if Biden wins the election – 48% approve and 49% disapprove. Monmouth University Poll


Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Mikie Sherrill were endorsed for reelection by Democratic nominee for President Joe Biden. 

“I am honored to have Joe Biden supporting my campaign for reelection. Vice President Biden has spent his career working to strengthen America’s reputation at home and abroad, to expand access to affordable health care, and to support our first responders. He is someone who has always put helping the American people over partisan concerns. I look forward to working closely with Vice President Biden when he is elected President,” said Gottheimer. 

“Josh Gottheimer is a fighter, who has been tireless in his work to make healthcare more affordable, lower taxes, and support our veterans and first responders. When COVID hit, Josh worked to secure desperately-needed PPE for his District and to get New Jersey families, first responders, and small businesses the assistance they needed. And, I’m proud to support Josh,” said Biden.  

The former Vice President praised Sherrill for her military service and the work she has done in fighting to restore the SALT tax.   

“Mikie Sherrill has served our country throughout her entire career, leading the fight to keep us safe at home and abroad. In Congress, Mikie led the charge to reverse this Administration’s reckless agenda that capped SALT deductions and raised taxes on hardworking New Jerseyans across the state — and she’s just getting started. I’m proud to endorse Mikie Sherrill’s re-election,” said Vice President Biden.

“I am deeply honored to receive the endorsement of Vice President Biden. I share his commitment to service and echo his call for compassion over division. He understands the importance of leaders in Congress who will get the pandemic under control, rebuild our economy, and support families struggling under the weight of this crisis. With 40 days until November 3rd, we will work tirelessly to share that message with New Jerseyans,” said Sherrill.

Rep. Sherrill received the Vice President’s endorsement in 2018 during her first race to represent NJ-11 and he keynoted her fall campaign launch at Montclair State University

The New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJFMBA) announced their endorsement of Sen. Cory Booker as well as the Democratic incumbents in North Jersey seeking re-election to the House of representatives. 12 candidates seeking to represent New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives. Election Day is Tuesday, November 3.

The NJFMBA, which  represents more than 5,000 career firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers across New Jersey, is backing Reps. Gottheimer, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne, Jr., and Sherrill.

“Each of these endorsed candidates have shown that when times are tough they are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with New Jersey’s career firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers,” Eddie Donnelly, President of the NJFMBA said. “The onslaught of COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to first responders, and while I am hopeful that we are on a road to recovery there is no question that the road is a bumpy one. It’s critical that we know that New Jersey’s representatives in Washington, D.C. are unwavering in their support for our efforts to keep our communities safe and healthy.” Insider NJ

Rep. Josh Gottheimer has released his second ad of the election.

The ad, titled “Foreclosure,” focuses on GOP challenger Frank Pallotta’s career in the subprime loan business, making claims Pallotta’s ripped off seniors, veterans, and families to make a quick buck for himself, including stating “Pallotta is a risk Jersey can not afford to take.”

Garden State Equality, NJ’s largest LGBT rights organization, rolled out its Federal endorsements, backing all Democratic candidates running for office this cycle. The Garden State Equality Action Fund 2020 endorsements includes Joe Biden for President

Cory Booker for Senate, and the reelection of Gottheimer, Sires, Pascrell, Payne and Sherrill to the House of representative.  Press Release

Rep. Mikie Sherrill has released her second ad of the election this week as well:

The ad, entitled “Mission,” highlights the importance of coming together during the pandemic and her work to support New Jersey hospitals, small businesses, and affordable healthcare.

“When I was a Navy helicopter commander, we never chose our missions, but it was always our job to get them done. New Jersey has been hit so hard by this global pandemic. I fought hard to get more funding to New Jersey hospitals. I’m also working to make sure our businesses can stay in business and to make sure people can afford their healthcare. We all share a mission right now and we all have to do our part,” Congresswoman Sherrill says in the ad.

The New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police (NJFOP) announced endorsements of 2020 Presidential, U. S. Senate and New Jersey Congressional candidates at its September Board meeting.

NJFOP President Robert J. Fox says, “NJFOP, along with all of the other state FOP Lodges in the Nation, unanimously endorsed President Donald J. Trump for re-election in this year’s Presidential race. I encourage all of our members to vote on November 3 and support President Trump.” 

In the North Jersey Federal races, NJFOP are backing Booker for Senate and Gottheimer, Sires, Pascrell, Payne and Sherrill for the House. No endorsement was made in the 10th Congressional District. Press Release

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rik Mehta wants incumbent Cory Booker to let President Donald Trump fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I wholeheartedly support the President nominating a new justice and the Senate majority leader calling a vote to confirm a justice,” said Mehta, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration official. “He needs to do his job and vote on the President’s nominee.”

Booker signed a letter with other Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee asking Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham not to consider a Supreme Court nomination until after the winner of the 2020 presidential election is inaugurated next year. New Jersey Globe


The top challenge for elections this year won’t just be getting folks to register, but educating them on how to use the vote-by-mail system and building their confidence that every vote will be counted. The state is using multimedia and traditional platforms to reach voters and pushing out information to “vote, sign, seal and return the ballot” in various languages and through the help of a new website.  NJ Spotlight

A non-profit run by advisors to Gov. Phil Murphy launched a $1.25 million television and digital featuring Murphy at an empty baseball stadium promising to rebuild New Jersey’s economy after the pandemic.

New Direction NJ was formed as a 501c4 advocacy group after the 2017 election by Murphy allies to promote the governor’s political agenda.

The ad, “Ball Park,” addresses income disparities Murphy were exposed during the coronavirus pandemic. The ads come less than a week after Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders announced a deal to approve a millionaires tax that will be accompanied by a middle class tax rebate.

Republicans have returned to using a previously-debunked attack on a Democratic Assembly candidate in the 25th Legislative District who works full-time as a farmer at her home in Chester.

In 2019, then-Assembly candidate State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco accused Darcy Draeger of being a tax cheat because her 10.7 acre farm qualifies for the New Jersey’s Farmland Assessment.

Draeger’s farm was deemed legitimate by the Morris County Director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. But with Draeger making a second bid for the Morris County-based 25th district Assembly seat this year, Republicans have revived their issue.

“They can’t win on policy, so they try to win on division and lies,” said Draeger. “They don’t have anything to run on and they’re willing to say anything to get elected.”

The GOP has still doubled-down on their criticism of Draeger.

“Ms. Draeger can spin it however she wants. She is just gaming the system to pay less in taxes, but she wants everyone else to pay more,” said Kasey Dearden, the campaign manager for Bucco and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-25).  “Voters rejected her hypocrisy last year and will do so again.” New Jersey Globe

The National Organization for Women of New Jersey’s Political Action Committee (NOW NJ PAC) is endorsing Rupande Mehta for election to the New Jersey Senate and Darcy Draeger to the General Assembly in the upcoming special election in Legislative District 25. 

“The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reminds us of the fragile balance that women’s rights hang in,” said Anjali Mehrotra, Chair of the NOW NJ PAC. ”At the state level we need to elect progressive legislators who are committed to safeguarding reproductive rights and expanding access to care. We are confident that Ms. Mehta and Ms. Draeger will act as our partners on an aggressive legislative agenda that includes menstrual equity and removal of barriers and stigma for non-gender conforming persons and other marginalized communities.”

Hirsh Singh’s bid for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate has come to an end after a Superior Court Judge denied Singh’s challenge of the July 7 primary election.

Singh, defeated by Rik Mehta by 8,727 votes, filed for recounts shortly after the primary election results were certified in late July with individual challenges filed in each county. The cases were then consolidated into one case. New Jersey Globe

National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22 brought in 33,268 new voters or updated voter registrations, bringing the total of online registrations to 170,221 since the system went live on September 4.

Gov. Murphy signed legislation in January to allow eligible New Jerseyans to register online using a state Motor Vehicle Commission identification or the last four digits of their social security number along with a  digital signature.

About 56% of the newly-registered voters used their driver’s license and 44% opted to give their social security numbers.

The deadline to register to vote for the November general election is October 13. New Jersey Globe

A coalition of New Jersey organizations campaigning for voter approval of a Nov. 3 referendum to legalize adult-use marijuana launched a new ad today to educate the public on the cost of cannabis arrests and the need to redeploy law enforcement to protecting state residents.

NJ CAN 2020 officials say the ad campaign strives to emphasize the harms that are being caused by the state’s current cannabis laws – socially, economically, and even medically – while showcasing the potential that cannabis legalization has to help rebuild economies across the state. By legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis for adult-use, New Jersey will have the opportunity to advance the reforms the state needs, according to supporters.

The 30-second video is part of a campaign to educate New Jerseyans on the state’s current cannabis laws as voters begin to cast mail-in ballots for the general election. NJ CAN 2020

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