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Kirsten Gillibrand Exits and a One-Night Debate: This Week in the 2020 Race

Happy Saturday! Here’s our weekly catch-up on the 2020 presidential campaign and the Democratic field.

Gillibrand is out, and we’re down to 20

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who was seen by some as a major presidential prospect before the race began but never quite got a foothold in the polls, ended her campaign on Wednesday.

Ms. Gillibrand — who anchored her candidacy in issues of women’s equality, with a strong emphasis on abortion rights — told our colleague Alex Burns that she didn’t see a way to win once it became clear she would fail to qualify for next month’s Democratic debate.

“I think being able to have a voice on a debate stage, when other candidates have that, is really important,” she said, “and without it, I just didn’t see our path.”

Ms. Gillibrand said she would endorse another candidate eventually but had not yet settled on one.

She was the fourth candidate to drop out in August, after former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts.

Here’s a deeper look at how Ms. Gillibrand’s campaign unraveled.

Who’s running? Keep track of the slowly shrinking presidential field here.

ImageCreditErin Schaff/The New York TimesOne night only!

The field is set for the third debate — singular this time. Only 10 candidates met the Democratic National Committee’s tightened criteria, so there will be no need for the two-night affairs we had in June and July.

This means all of the top candidates will face off directly for the first time. That’s particularly significant for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who have not yet shared a debate stage.

The debate will be held in Houston on Sept. 12, from 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern time, and will be broadcast on ABC and Univision.

In addition to Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren, the qualifiers are:

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

Julián Castro, the former housing secretary

Senator Kamala Harris of California

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

Former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur

Not everyone is happy about the culled debate field. Several candidates who missed the cut — including Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana — criticized the process, and Mr. Bennet’s campaign sent the D.N.C. a letter asking why it was “in an unprecedented rush to eliminate candidates from a volatile field.”

Our colleague Reid Epstein wrote more about the candidates’ complaints.

$12 million wasn’t enough to secure Tom Steyer’s place in the debate.

ImageCreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York TimesA roller-coaster week in polling

The week began with a Monmouth University poll showing dramatic movement in the Democratic race, with Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren at 20 percent each and Mr. Biden at 19 percent — down 13 percentage points from a Monmouth poll taken two months earlier.

But after several other polls showed a picture much more in line with the Biden-leading status quo, Monmouth’s polling director, Patrick Murray, said it was clear that his survey had been an outlier.

Two polls released Wednesday morning showed Mr. Biden at 32 percent, comfortably ahead of Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders. The first poll, from USA Today and Suffolk University, showed Ms. Warren at 14 percent and Mr. Sanders at 12; the second, from Quinnipiac University, showed Ms. Warren at 19 percent and Mr. Sanders at 15.

Ms. Harris and Mr. Buttigieg were the only other candidates to break 5 percent.

Here’s a look at the how the polling picture has come into focus.

And no, you cannot volunteer to be polled.

ImageCreditPeter Hoffman for The New York TimesTrump gets a new Republican challenger

Former Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois announced a long-shot primary challenge to President Trump on Sunday.

With the announcement, Mr. Walsh, a Tea Party conservative and talk radio host who served one term in the House of Representatives, joins William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, as primary opponents to Mr. Trump. Mark Sanford, the former governor and representative from South Carolina, is also weighing his prospects.

Mr. Walsh is taking on Mr. Trump from the right, while Mr. Weld has campaigned from closer to the center, and Mr. Sanford has a reputation as a budget hawk.

But Mr. Walsh’s campaign has gotten off to a rocky start. In the days since he officially announced his bid, he has been forced to confront his history of racism and was informed his radio show would be taken off the air.

ImageCreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York TimesA plan for people with disabilities

Ms. Harris announced a new plan on Thursday focused on strengthening protections for people with disabilities.

She promised to use executive action to ensure that federal agencies — such as the Transportation Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development — required funding recipients to prove that projects would be fully accessible before receiving money.

She said she would expand a grant program within the Education Department to cover more workplace accommodations and support more people. And she pledged to create new senior-level positions in the White House that would prioritize accessibility in policymaking, among other measures.

In other policy news:

Mr. O’Rourke unveiled a “Trade For America” plan, which would end the trade wars begun by Mr. Trump and seek to modernize the World Trade Organization so that it could effectively address currency manipulation, labor standards and other issues.

Mr. Sanders released a media reform plan to protect journalists from what he said was “billionaire influence, corporate consolidation and Donald Trump’s assault on the free press.” It seeks to halt mass layoffs of journalists in part by putting a moratorium on mergers by major media corporations and requiring them to disclose whether such mergers would involve significant job losses.

MORE ON THE 2020 RACECaucuses in Iowa Won’t Include Absentee Participation, D.N.C. SaysAug. 30, 2019Pete Buttigieg Was Rising. Then Came South Bend’s Policing Crisis.Aug. 30, 2019Joe Biden Dismisses Report That He Told False War StoryAug. 29, 2019The Education of Elizabeth WarrenAug. 25, 2019


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