U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Trump-Clinton ‘New Reality’ Takes Hold

Trump narrows the gap with Clinton in Colorado and Virginia, and takes the lead in Iowa as the presidential race continues to tighten.

How the Nominees Are Preparing for Their First Debate

Donald Trump’s sharply improved standing in the battleground state of Colorado puts a spotlight on the shifting fortunes of the U.S. presidential election.

  • Trump also has narrowed a gap with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in Virginia, and he has pulled ahead in Iowa and Georgia, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released Thursday afternoon
    • “Iowa, Virginia and Colorado are a metaphor for what is happening in the presidential race,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said in statement
    • When the states were last polled on Aug. 17, Clinton was enjoying a post-convention bounce and a double-digit advantage in many surveys, now a “new reality” has taken hold as national and state polls suggest a much closer contest, he said
    • Key poll results:
      • Colorado: Clinton 44%, Trump 42%, Libertarian Gary Johnson 10%, Green Party’s Jill Stein 2%; on Aug. 17, Clinton led Trump 41%-33% in 4-way race
      • Virginia: Clinton 45%, Trump 39%, Johnson 8%, Stein 1%; Clinton was ahead of her GOP rival 45%-34% on Aug. 17
      • Iowa: Trump 44%, Clinton 37%, Johnson 10%, Stein 2%; on Aug 17: Clinton 41%, Trump 39%
      • Georgia: Trump 47%, Clinton 40%, Johnson 9% (Stein not on ballot)
  • Click here for more poll data
    • “This is a good testing time for Hillary’s campaign,” Paul Begala, a longtime Clinton confidant who advises a super-PAC supporting the Democratic nominee, said on latest episode of Republican strategist Mike Murphy’s podcast “Radio Free GOP”
    • Begala said private polling shows Clinton with narrow lead within margin of error
    • “This could go either way, it really could,” he said on podcast episode released yday before latest poll numbers. But, he said, “the hyperventilation I find amusing, both in the press and the punditry and in the donor world”

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  • Donald Trump in Pa. vowed to speed the government’s approval of energy infrastructure projects -- after the Obama administration moved to stall an oil pipeline in the Dakotas that has drawn protests
    • He also promised to rescind a bevy of Obama administration environmental regulations in remarks to the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh, a summit representing natural gas producers
  • Ahead of a fundraiser and planned evening rally in the Philadelphia suburbs, Trump stopped at South Philly institution Geno’s for a cheese-steak
  • Hillary Clinton had quiet day on the trail, ahead of first presidential debate on Monday
    • Video released of her appearance on ‘Between Two Ferns,’ a comedy sketch with Zach Galifianakis
    • Link to video (runtime 5:47)
  • Clinton’s tax plan, which calls for a 65% tax on the largest estates, would be “dead on arrival” in the Republican-held House, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady tells WSJ
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  • Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur unpacks strategies walking into first presidential debate Monday night at Hofstra Univ. in N.Y.
    • Clinton is preparing for an unpredictable opponent who “hangs back a lot, picks his moments” and “may be aggressive,” according to communications director Jennifer Palmieri. Her challenge: driving home her message to voters regardless of what he does, Palmieri said
    • Trump being advised by some in his orbit to put his rival on defense by questioning her judgment, intelligence, and accomplishments, as well as by confronting her over controversies surrounding the Clinton Foundation, her private e-mail server, and her paid Wall Street speeches, and by accusing Clinton and her husband of exploiting the Haiti earthquake for personal gain
    • Yet advisers also wary of him going too far and coming across as a bully
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  • Trump’s prospects weighing down Mexican peso, BofA strategists including Claudio Irigoyen and Ezequiel Aguirre write in note
    • Currency priced at 19.60/USD; modeling baded on fundamentals but not Trump’s prospects suggest price of 16.50/USD, they write
    • Peso would likely “strengthen significantly” if Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton were to win U.S. presidential election
  • Earlier from Sept. 20: Derivatives also show Canada’s loonie is becoming sensitive to the real estate mogul’s rising poll numbers.
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  • Democratic Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights movement leader who marched in Selma, says election observers should be appointed in certain states, CNN reports
  • U.S. demand for natural gas to generate electricity stands to fall by 11 percent should Donald Trump become the next president, according to Bloomberg Intelligence estimates
    • Coal would fare better under a Trump administration at the expense of gas, the top fuel for U.S. power generation, if the Republican follows through on a pledge to roll back environmental regulations
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SENATE RACES (Republicans hold 54-46 majority)

  • FUNDRAISING: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte began Sept. with $34.1m cash-on-hand compared with $11.9m for National Republican Senatorial Cmte, according to FEC filings
    • NRSC spent $18.4m in Aug., including $10m on independent expenditures in key Senate races; DSCC spent $5.8m
    • Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, favored to win re-election, sent $200k in campaign funds to DSCC
  • AK: Democratic ex-Sen. Mark Begich won’t wage write-in campaign for seat Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is defending, Alaska Dispatch News reported
    • Begich unseated by Republican Dan Sullivan in 2014
  • FL: Republican Sen. Marco Rubio leads Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy 43%-34% with 17% undecided, according to Suffolk University poll of 500 likely voters conducted Sept. 19-21 (+/- 4.4 ppts)
    • Rubio and Murphy are “no closer to mutually agreeing to more debates” other than on Oct. 17 in Orlando and Oct. 26 in Davie, Miami Herald reported
  • IA: DSCC sent maximum $46.8k donation to Democrat Patty Judge’s campaign last month, according to FEC report
    • Judge, a former Lt. Gov., seeking to unseat Judiciary Cmte chairman Chuck Grassley, who is favored to win seventh term
  • IN: Republican Rep. Todd Young’s campaign released TV ad tying Democratic ex-Sen. Evan Bayh to Washington mansions and lobbyists, and saying Hoosiers who live near his modest Indianapolis condo “have never seen him”
    • Bayh, Young in close race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats, who sent $100k in campaign funds to NRSC in Aug.
  • MO: End Citizens United, which supports more campaign finance regulation, in TV ad notes Republican Sen. Roy Blunt’s family ties to lobbying, says he’s “all too willing to play ball with lobbyists and special interests”
    • Blunt opposed by Mo. Sec. of State Jason Kander in race that’s tightened in past few weeks
  • NH: As GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte campaigns for second term, “you wouldn’t always know she’s a Republican,” Associated Press reported in profile of race vs. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan
    • Ayotte touts work on anti-opioid law and support for Obama’s Clean Power Plan, downplays GOP affiliation in state where Clinton favored over Trump
    • Mass. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will campaign for Hassan this weekend, AP reported
  • OH: Republican Sen. Rob Portman released TV ad narrated by champion golfer Jack Nicklaus, an Ohioan who says “my friend” Portman has good record on manufacturing and military issues
    • Portman favored to win second term over Democrat Ted Strickland, a former governor and congressman
  • PA: Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super-PAC, released TV ad attacking Republican Sen. Pat Toomey for wanting to zero out corporate taxes and for supporting tax reductions for “Big Oil” and “Wall Street” interests
    • NRSC TV ad refers to “Shady Katie McGinty” and says Democratic nominee awarded grants to two groups where her husband worked while she was Pa. Sec. of Environmental Protection
    • Ad cites 2007 story that notes McGinty’s husband did consulting work for Pa. Environmental Council but leaders said he “was never involved in its grant-writing process”

HOUSE RACES (Republicans hold 246-186 majority)

  • CA-10: Republican Rep. Jeff Denham’s campaign released Spanish-language TV ad featuring Modesto teacher and touting endorsement by California Teachers Assn
    • Denham opposed by Democratic farmer Michael Eggman in rematch of 2014 race Denham won 56%-44%; Central Valley district voted 51%-47% for Obama in 2012 and is >40% Hispanic
  • MN-03: Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte TV ad links GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen to Trump, saying they both oppose gender pay equity and federal funding for Planned Parenthood
    • Ad cites Paulsen’s procedural votes in 2015 against Democratic pay-equity bills and his 2009 vote against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which sought to make it easier for women to sue for pay discrimination; Paulsen has said the 2009 law didn’t address issue and resulted in more litigation
    • Paulsen voted in Sept. 2015 to bar funding for Planned Parenthood; most Republicans say the money should be redirected to community health centers
    • Paulsen opposed by Democratic state Sen. Terri Bonoff in suburban Twin Cities district about evenly divided between Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 election
  • NE-02: Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford opposed by Republican Don Bacon in Omaha-based, mildly Republican-leaning district as Clinton competes for its electoral vote, Bloomberg’s Jillian Goodman reported
    • Though Bacon’s Aug. polling had Trump leading Clinton by 6 ppts in NE-02, he’s “nevertheless attempted to distance himself from Trump”
    • Ashford often bucks Democratic leaders on floor votes, including yday when he backed GOP bills related to judicial review of regulations and Iranian assets
    • NOTE: Nebraska and Maine award most presidential electoral votes by district and don’t use winner-take-all system
  • PA-08: Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte in 15-second TV ad links Republican Brian Fitzpatrick to Trump, says Fitzpatrick “is not Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick,” GOP candidate’s brother retiring from swing suburban Philadelphia district
    • Democratic nominee is state Rep. Steve Santarsiero
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