‘Don’t be a tough guy’: President Trump sent threatening letter to Turkish President Erdogan on day of invasion

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump admonished the president of Turkey in a surreal personal letter sent last week in which he threatened to be “responsible for destroying the Turkish economy” and said his fellow leader should not be “a tough guy” or a “fool.”

The letter was first reported by Fox News and later confirmed as accurate to ABC News by a senior administration official.

The date of the letter, Oct. 9, is the same day Turkey launched its incursion against Kurdish forces who were previously U.S. allies in northern Syria.

In the letter, Trump asks Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to slaughter thousands of people and threatens to destroy the Turkish economy.

He closes the letter by stating, “History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I’ll call you later.”

This letter was dated just three days after the White House sent out a statement announcing that the U.S. would pull forces from the region and the Turkish operation would begin. That statement made no objection to the incursion.

The president has faced bipartisan criticism for the Turkey-Syria conflict, after his decision to pull back U.S. troops ahead of a Turkish operation against U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces.

Trump has since called for a ceasefire and peace settlement. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien are headed to Turkey to meet with officials there.

Many are weighing in on the letter on social media, with some expressing incredulity at its authenticity, and others expressing concerns for the political ramifications.

“This Trump letter to Erdogan is the most damaging correspondance that could’ve been leaked ahead of VP Pence’s visit to Ankara tomorrow,” tweeted Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Turkish Research program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Now, Erdogan has no option but to delay ceasefire in Syria less he be humiliated in front of his nation as weak and bowing to America’s threat.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

Security risk versus access: DNC committee divided on whether to approve Alaska mobile voting plan

3dfoto/iStock(JUNEAU, Alaska) — Less than two months after voting to reject the “virtual” caucus plans set forth by the Iowa and Nevada Democratic parties, the Democratic National Committee panel tasked with approving all state party delegate plans is faced with the decision of whether to allow the Alaska Democratic Party to implement a mobile voting absentee ballot option for its presidential primary.

The committee was holding an executive session on Wednesday where they would again discuss the plan, a member confirmed to ABC News. Voatz, the potential vendor for Alaska — should the plan be approved — was invited to call into the meeting, its CEO and founder Nimit Sawhney told ABC News.

A vote by phone option would offer rural Alaskans across the massive state an opportunity to participate in the state’s primary process. Some have never been able to do so before, due in part to the state’s unique, mostly inaccessible terrain.

While new territory for a presidential election, the mobile voting landscape isn’t completely uncharted. It’s been successfully used by military members and overseas voters in West Virginia in 2018, and Denver in 2019.

DNC members are so divided over what to do with Alaska that the committee postponed a decision to conditionally approve the state party’s delegate plan without the mobile voting method on Friday.

Some members argued that Alaska’s small population and later primary date make it a good test pilot for this kind of technology, but others want to err on the side of caution, given Russia’s election interference in 2016 and the constant threats to that domain.

Similar plans for Iowa and Nevada were scrapped after the DNC chairman and technology teams recommended they not go forward due to security concerns.

“I think we ought to go ahead and do this,” committee member Harold Ickes said Friday. “It’s a complicated state. It’s a huge state. I don’t even know how they vote up there. But if the whole thing is a flop and a failure, this republic is not going to fall.”

In making her pitch to the committee, Casey Steinau, chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party, said that her party needed to develop a plan that addressed Alaska’s distinct challenges.

While the party has 40 polling locations reserved for its April 4 primary day, and also a method of by-mail absentee voting, a mobile voting option would most significantly impact about 12,000 rural Alaskans, and particularly natives, who live in “off the road systems” — a full 90% of the state that’s literally inaccessible by roads.

Many of the people who live there have never participated in a presidential nomination, Steinau said, because they couldn’t physically get to a caucus location. Even by forgoing the caucus and switching to a primary ahead of the 2020 cycle, weather and lack of roads still pose challenges for in-person voting and by-mail absentee voting.

However, Steinau said, “Those members do have phones.”

Despite DNC tech teams’ and committee co-chairs’ stance that there isn’t a “system available that is sufficiently secure, reliable and at scale to be used given the importance of this process,” Steinau said the risk is worth it for Alaska.

“Let’s not let perfection be the enemy of good,” she told members. “All I ask is that we be bold.”

“Theoretically, no system is 100% safe,” Voatz’s Sawhney conceded in an interview with ABC News. “But our goal here is to make the practical aspect of [hacking] very, very difficult, if not close to impossible. … Any slight detection of a threat or impropriety, the system will shut you down and tell you to use another form of voting.”

Voatz, an application available on most iPhones and Android devices, was the mobile voting vendor used by West Virginia and Denver. Once approved by the election jurisdiction, voters then go through a multi-factor authentication process, and once their identity is verified, it’s compared against the user’s voter registration. The data is securely stored on one’s device, and locked by a PIN that the user creates or a “biometric credential” like a fingerprint or face ID. Once all of this is completed, the user is ready to cast the ballot. Users get a digitized, anonymous receipt, and voters can then check their ballots and make sure their votes were accurately recorded.

“I’ll be honest, I was impressed … mainly because most companies think about security as a build-on after the fact,” said former FBI cyber special agent Andre McGregor, whose company, Shift State, was hired to give an independent assessment of the security of Voatz’s system. “They had thought of security from day one, which is just rare for any company, let alone a company that’s specifically in the voting space.”

McGregor applauded the vendor’s multi-factor authentication system, as he said that’s one of the most effective ways to thwart attacks.

Asked about the possibility of a vote being changed by a bad actor after-the-fact, Sawhney said that “there’s no practical way for them to do it, and remain undetected,” due to the blockchain technology the app uses, which is, by design, hard to manipulate once it’s been recorded. Cautioning again that “no system is 100% safe,” he said that the ability to make modifications after a ballot’s been cast is “practically as close to impossible as you can get.”

Others, however, are worried about parity and argue that election systems deemed too risky for some states shouldn’t be used in any.

“We think every vote counts and every vote matters and, so … if you’re not willing to do it for certain voters in certain states, why would it be OK to say to other voters, ‘Oh, go ahead and use it because your vote may not count as much,'” Edgardo Cortés, an adviser to the Brennan Center’s election security team, told ABC News.

He warned against any form of voting that uses the internet, saying that U.S. elections are always under threat and voting this way “just opens the door for increased risk of your election results being undermined and being impacted by these efforts to influence elections.”

“When we look at kind of the overall landscape and the threats that are out there … this really isn’t the time, I don’t think, to be attempting to use these systems that are so much more prone to this potential malicious activity from foreign actors to allow people to cast votes,” he said.

Several committee members were in agreement with the DNC tech teams’ and outside cyber security experts’ recommendation that mobile voting “not be permitted.”

Former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, who was personally impacted by the WikiLeaks email dumps in the 2016 election, said the committee should heed the tech teams’ recommendation and revisit the idea in 2024, after the 2020 election can be evaluated.

“The notion that we’re going to, at a time when the president of the United States is calling on foreign governments to interfere in our elections, we’re going to try something new — I’m all about new … but this is not the time to try to test, even in a small area,” she said.

Barry Goodman said that if Alaska does implement this plan, and there is a hack, the DNC and the Democratic Party “would look foolish.”

“We’ll sow doubt in the process nationally, despite taking the process to Alaska only,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

University of New Mexico handing out coasters that test for date rape drugs

(Courtesy University of New Mexico) The University of New Mexico is handing out coasters that will test for drugs.(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) — Students at the University of New Mexico can now pick up coasters that will alert them if any drugs are in their drinks, the school announced.

The university’s Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention said they are handing out the coasters, which test for GHB and ketamine, drugs commonly referred to as “date rape drugs.”

Students can place a drop of their drink onto a dot on the coaster, using their finger or a straw, and if a blue dot appears, it means the drinks tested positive for a detectable amount of either GHB or ketamine.

A “drug detector” built into the coaster reacts to the chemicals in the drink and produces the blue dot, according to Dr. Randall Starling, a senior research scientist at the office.

Amber Greene, a marketing assistant in the office, told ABC News that there are about 200 coasters left.

A few students have personally come to the office to pick them up, while other coasters were sent to fraternities and sororities on campus.

“We’re always doing prevention work to try to keep students safe when they’re out drinking,” Greene said.

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Actor Ron Ely’s adult son killed by police after apparently stabbing his mother

iStock/MicroStockHub(SANTA BARBARA, CA) — Cameron Ely, the 30-year-old son of actor Ron Ely, was shot dead by police on Tuesday night at Ely’s home in Santa Barbara, California.


According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a 911 call and found Ely’s wife, 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely, stabbed to death. The suspect was identified as the couple’s son, Cameron Ely. When deputies found him outside the home, they determined that he posed a threat, and four deputies shot him, fatally wounding him.


Ron Ely, best known for his starring role in TV’s Tarzan, was not injured. Autopsies on the victim and suspect are pending.


In addition to his role in Tarzan, which ran from 1966-68, Ely also appeared on such TV shows as Fantasy Island, Wonder Woman and the 1980s revival of Sea Hunt. He hosted the game show Face the Music and, in 1980 and 1981, replaced Bert Parks as the host of the Miss America pageant. He retired from acting in 2001, but then returned in 2014 with a role in a TV movie.


In the ’90s, Ely also published two mystery novels,  Night Shadows and East Beach.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

Top Democrats walk out of White House Syria meeting saying Trump insulted them

OlegAlbinsky/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Top Democrats on Wednesday walked out of a White House meeting on Syria between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders when Democrats say Trump started insulting them, calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “third-rate politician” and suggesting she should like ISIS because the terrorist group includes some former communists.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking to reporters afterward alongside Pelosi in the White House driveway, said, “He was insulting, particularly to the speaker. She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third-rate politician. He said that there are communists involved and you guys might like that. This was not a dialogue. It was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts.”

Pelosi said the president was “shaken” because the House had just voted overwhelmingly, 354-60, on a non-binding resolution criticizing the president’s decision to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria.

On returning to the Capitol, Pelosi continued her criticism.

“I think it’s a very sad commentary on the president of the United States that he doesn’t have enough confidence in what he’s doing to listen to other points of view – especially the overwhelming vote of the House of Representatives and have some level of respect for that,” Pelosi said. “It shook him up, melted him down and he behaved accordingly.”

“Very sad,” she said. “It was very sad,” she said.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, also in the meeting, said the subject of Trump’s possible impeachment didn’t come up, but this was the first face-to-face meeting between Pelosi and Trump since she announced that the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry, which earlier in the day he called “absolutely crazy.”

As she has before, Pelosi said she prayed for the president, but this time she went a step further.

“I pray for his safety and that of his family, now we have to pray for his health because this was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president,” Pelosi said, later adding “I’m not saying mentally, I’m just talking about handling…just handling the truth.”

She also said she recalled Trump calling her a “third-grade politician.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans in the closed-door meeting had a very different version of what happened.

“I see a pattern of behavior with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She storms out of another meeting trying to make it unproductive. The other Democrats stayed and actually had a very productive meeting with the general from the Joint Chiefs, with the secretary of defense,” McCarthy said.

He argued the meeting with Trump became more productive after the she left the room.

“I’ve been in a lot of meetings where individuals get heated with one another. I do not believe in that process, that you should get up and you walk away. The other Democrats did not walk away. They stayed in the room, and you know what happened when Speaker Pelosi left the room? McCarthy said. “They seemed pretty much calmer. It seemed much more productive. It seemed as though when the speaker was in the room, she was there for one reason and one reason only, and that’s really unbecoming of a speaker.”

In May, President Trump reportedly walked out of a bipartisan meeting at the White House involving members of Congressional leadership.

Earlier, Pelosi had tweeted that a classified full House briefing on Syria scheduled for Thursday afternoon had been canceled.

“I am deeply concerned that the White House has canceled an all-Member classified briefing on the dangerous situation the President has caused in Syria, denying the Congress its right to be informed as it makes decisions about our national security,” she said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement blasting Pelosi.

“The President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising,” Grisham said. “She had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues.  While Democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Late Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement blasting Pelosi.


“The President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising,” Grisham said. “She had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues.  While Democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country.”

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett says fan punched him in the face after taking picture

Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images(CLEVELAND) — Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett said a fan punched him in the face on Wednesday.

In a pair of tweets, the former first overall draft pick said that the person hopped out of their car to take a picture with him. Garrett says he lowered his window, only for the person to give him a “pillow tap.”

Garrett joked on twitter that if the fan had “put your legs into it might have actually made me flinch.”

The Browns issued a statement saying the team was aware of the incident, and that “the appropriate law enforcement authorities have been notified.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

Speaker at DOJ hate crimes event directly rebukes Attorney General William Barr

YinYang/iStock(WASHINGTON) — In a ceremony at the Department of Justice on Wednesday marking the 10th anniversary of a landmark anti-hate crime law, a speaker read off a letter that directly targeted Attorney General William Barr, accusing him of “hypocrisy” related to the department’s stance on legal protections for transgender people.

Appearing as a representative for the family of Matthew Shepard, a gay student who was murdered in Wyoming in October 1998, Cynthia Deitle read a letter from the family excoriating Barr for not “disagreeing with the administration” and what they described as its promotion of hate. The law is named after Shepard and James Byrd, who also was murdered in a hate crime.

“We find it interesting and hypocritical that he would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son and Mr. Byrd, while, at the same time, asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalized firing of transgender employees,” said Deitle, who serves as the programs and operations director of the foundation named after Shepard. “Mr. Barr, you cannot have it both ways. If you believe that employers should have the right to terminate transgender employees, just because they are transgender, then you believe they are lesser than and not worthy of protection.”

Deitle continued: “If so, you need not invite us to future events at the Department of Justice that are billed as celebrating the law that protects these same individuals from hate crimes. Either you believe in equality for all or you don’t. We do not honor our son by kowtowing to hypocrisy.”

While Barr himself was not in attendance, sitting next to Deitle was Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. He did not react to Deitle’s comments.

Earlier in the program, Dreiband touted the department’s handling of hate crimes cases, saying it remains a “top priority” for the administration.

“Since January 2017 alone, the Department of Justice has charged more than 70 defendants for committing crimes motivated by hate,” Dreiband said.

In response to the letter, a Justice Department spokeswoman said it “mischaracterizes the department’s position” related to protections for transgender people.

In a recent argument before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said the administration does not believe Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars sex-based employment discrimination, has a legal application to transgender people.

“As the head of the Department of Justice, he can take a stand as a member of this administration to disavow and condemn any person who fuels the fires of hate with their words and actions,” Deitle said, reading from the letter. “He must lead and demonstrate his refusal to accept hate in all its manifestations. He must demonstrate courage, even if it means disagreeing with the administration. So far, he has done none of these deeds.”

At the conclusion of Deitle’s remarks, a large portion of the audience in the Justice Department’s Great Hall offered a sustained round of applause, including some who stood up and cheered.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

Trump says he thought family of UK teen wanted meeting with diplomat’s wife

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — After the parents of Harry Dunn, a British teenager killed when the wife of an American diplomat crashed into his motorcycle, turned down a meeting with Anne Sacoolas at the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that he thought they wanted to meet her.

“I thought they were — based on what I thought — that they wanted to meet,” he said in the Oval Office. “But now they only want to meet in the U.K. and that’s up to them.”

Trump met with Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, the 19-year-old’s parents, on Tuesday and offered them a meeting with Sacoolas, who was waiting in another room, according to a family representative.

“We weren’t ready to meet her, it would have been too rushed,” Tim Dunn said, according to the Press Association. “It’s not what we wanted; we wanted a meeting with her in the U.K.”

Charlotte Charles, Dunn’s mother, said she “initially” thought the meeting at the White House on Tuesday was being held to sweep her son’s death under the rug.

“We’ve said all along that we are willing to meet her, we are still willing to meet her,” she said in an interview on CBS This Morning. “But it needs to be on U.K. soil.”

Dunn, 19, was riding his motorcycle along a roadway in the village of Croughton, England, on the night of Aug. 27, when a car traveling in the opposite direction on the wrong side of the road hit him head-on, killing him. Sacoolas, 42, who is married to an American diplomat, admitted that she was responsible for the crash, but fled the U.K. to the U.S. after apparently claiming diplomatic immunity, which protects diplomats and their family members from prosecution or lawsuits under the host nation’s laws.

Her attorney, Amy Jeffress, has said her client wants to meet with the family to apologize and take responsibility. Dunn’s parents told ABC News that they would only meet with her if she returned to the U.K. to face the consequences of her actions.

On Wednesday, Trump suggested that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made a public plea for Sacoolas to return to the U.K., asked Trump would organize the meeting between Sacoolas and the Dunn family.

“I offered to bring the person in question in and they weren’t ready for it, but I did offer,” Trump said. “I spoke with Boris, he asked me if I’d do that, and I did it.”

Dunn’s parents traveled to Washington on Tuesday, after receiving a call from the White House to say that they would be meeting with a senior official regarding their case.

“We had no idea,” said Charlotte Charles. “Certainly didn’t think for a second it would be President Trump.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

Jada Pinkett Smith in talks to join the ‘The Matrix 4’

Lionsgate/Eric Charbonneau(LOS ANGELES) — Jada Pinkett Smith may be the next actor to board the highly anticipated sequel to The Matrix.

According to Deadline, Pinkett Smith is currently in negotiations to reprise her role in the The Matrix 4 as Niobe, the no-nonsense martial artist from Zion who appeared in both The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.

If confirmed, she’d join Neil Patrick Harris, Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the latter of whom’s rumored to play a young Morpheus.

The new potential role for Jada comes after the actress starred alongside Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman in the action-thriller Angel Has Fallen. In addition to film, Pinkett Smith serves as a co-host to her wildly popular Facebook Watch talk show, Red Table Talk, alongside her daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 16 Oct 2019

Biden, most 2020 Democrats see red in 3rd quarter money race

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Former Vice President Joe Biden outspent the amount he raised, about $6 million less than what he brought in last quarter, according to third quarter fundraising reports — a key indicator of a campaign’s viability to last in the grueling primary and a concerning financial turn for the veteran politician.

Biden is the only top-tier candidate in the red, ending the third quarter with only $9 million in the bank — a troubling sign after spending $2 million more than he raised. His campaign spent a total of $17.7 million during the past three months, despite raising a lackluster $15.7 million — nearly doubling his burn rate from the second quarter to 112% in the third.

Most alarming for Biden, who still maintains among the top tier in polling, is the relatively small size of his war chest compared to some of the other top-tier contenders, mainly Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who come out of the third quarter with $33.7 million and $25.7 million on hand, respectively.

The third fundraising quarter, which spans the months of July to September, drastically split the increasingly competitive Democratic field between a small cohort of top fundraisers flushed with cash, including Sanders, Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and those who are seeing a relative cash flow shortage, among them, Biden and more than 10 other Democrats.

Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg enjoy a financial edge to outspend their Democratic rivals in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, among the 19 Democratic contenders still in the race.

With only four short months before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses, the focus on expensive early-state investments — between boots on the ground, advertisements, and field organizing — will only accelerate in the coming months, with pressure to continue an aggressive campaign operation leading into the nominating process mounting.

The high spending rates – and dips into savings – come as campaigns are increasingly jumping into the on-air ad battle, ramping up their digital operations and expanding staffing on the ground.

Much of the Biden campaign’s spending this quarter was on staffing — nearly $7 million. The campaign also spent more than $2 million on online and television advertising and nearly $1 million on private jets.

But Biden’s campaign dismissed alarm bells about him trailing far behind his competitors, instead affirming their confidence in the former Delaware senator’s ability to “go long.”

“I think we have the resources we need to run our race,” Biden deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, told reporters in the spin room at Tuesday night’s debate. “It’s more important how you spend the money than how you raise it. We have the resources we need to continue to run our race. We’ve always said that we think this race is going to be a dogfight, that it’s going to go long. We’re building an operation that is going to be sustained.”

“So we are 100% confident that we have what we need to run our race,” she added.

Even the former vice president struck an optimistic tone with reporters in Iowa Wednesday about his fundraising haul

“Our fundraising is building. We have raised a lot of money online, and we have raised money off line, as well,” he said. “We feel confident we will be ready.”

Leading the pack in fundraising this quarter are Sanders and Warren, whose campaigns are buttressed by massive grassroots armies after both raked in $25.3 million and $24.7 million respectively. The two progressive stalwarts also maintained lower burn rates compared to the rest of their Democratic rivals – a clear sign of their ability to amass sizable war chests, despite the fiercely competitive race over a year before election day.

Third quarter campaign finance records show Warren and Sanders’ campaigns spent $7.5 million and $7 million respectively on staffing and $3.8 million each on digital media production and online ad placement.

And Warren’s spending is expected to only increase in coming months.

Late last month, the Massachusetts senator announced an eight-figure plan to invest in television and online ads targeting early primary and caucus states including Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina heading into the fall.

Warren’s campaign has yet to air her first television ad, but according to the ad service firm Advertising Analytics, the campaign has already reserved nearly $5 million worth of television airtime in the early months of 2020.

“I think it’s telling that candidates like Warren have lower burn rates, since she has been rising in the polls and therefore might not feel the urgency that candidates like Biden feel, who are watching their poll numbers fall,” said Sarah Bryner, a research director at the Center for Responsive Politics

Buttigieg, who fell short of his impressive $24.9 million second quarter fundraising haul this quarter, also burned through most of the $19 million he raised, marking a burn rate of 97%, a big jump from just 35% in the second quarter. The 38-year old mayor, still amassed $23.4 million in his bank, which will afford him more flexibility to invest heavily in the early states in the critical months ahead.

Buttigieg has been building up an aggressive ad campaign in recent weeks, topping other Democratic candidates on online advertising as well as dropping six-figure television ad blitz in early primary states.

Andrew Yang, the eccentric tech entrepreneur, who is notable for his freedom dividend proposal, more than tripled his fundraising in the third quarter, bringing in $10 million, and managed to maintain a distinguishable low burn rate below 44%, ending the quarter with a relatively strong cash on hand of $6.3 million among lower-polling candidates.

Beyond the top candidates, Biden is not alone in falling behind in the money race.

Another prominent Democrat who burned through much more than she raised this quarter, is California Sen. Kamala Harris, who spent $14.6 million while only raising $11.8 million – producing a burn rate of 125%. Harris, who started her presidential campaign months earlier than Biden, maintained a burn rate of below 65% in the previous two quarters. She ends with $10.5 million cash on hand.

After Harris, the rest of the Democrats who appeared on Tuesday night’s debate stage finished out the third quarter with less than $7 million in the bank – and nearly all of them are spending far faster than they are bringing in, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and billionaire Tom Steyer.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, author Marianne Williamson and former Congressman Joe Sestak, D-Penn., covered their spending with the amount raised but the three have very little cash in the bank — Castro for example only has $672,333 — to support their campaign for the long haul.

Between the third and fourth quarter filing deadline at the end of the year, some expect the field to narrow – as the limits of cash-strapped campaigns put more pressure on an already winnowing primary.

“I suspect that what is happening right now is that the candidates are sensing that the field will winnow quickly, and now is their best chance to remain relevant,” Bryner said. “Once the field narrows, the fundraising pool will open up for those candidates who remain, and I think that candidates are depending on that.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden, most 2020 Democrats see red in 3rd quarter money race

Posted On 16 Oct 2019