GOP state politicians call on Big Ten commissioner to allow football season

Republican state legislative leaders from several Big Ten states are asking conference commissioner Kevin Warren to reconsider his decision to postpone the football season, reports CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster.

“After hearing from many concerned students, parents and coaches, we have been encouraged to convey our support for their wishes and our responsibility to defend the students’ long-term academic and career interests,” the letter read. “Recent actions taken by other conferences across the country to start football and other fall sports have placed the Big Ten, its members and students at a disadvantage.”

The letter was signed by Republicans from Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all battleground states in the 2020 election. It echoed recent calls from President Trump for the Big Ten to start its season. The president spoke with Warren last week, but there’s been no significant movement toward starting the season. On Sunday, Mr. Trump suggested that governors in Illinois, Maryland and Michigan didn’t support playing this season.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN

This will be Joe Biden’s busiest travel week of his general election campaign yet, as he travels to Pennsylvania twice and Michigan once.

With 56 days to go until Election Day, Biden held no public events today and remained at his Delaware home. On Wednesday, Biden travels to Warren, Michigan, to speak about manufacturing and jobs. This will be his first trip to the critical battleground state since right before social distancing took hold in March.

Biden’s last major in-person rally was in Detroit on March 9 when now-running mate Kamala Harris endorsed him. Biden now travels with a small footprint, according to CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson, who is following the Democratic nominee this week.

Around four campaign aides and a small digital production team fly with Biden on his jet while a group of limited national press tag along in a follow plane. Dozens of Secret Service flank Biden, and this added layer of physical protection also ensures at least some social distancing for the 77-year-old former vice president.

President Trump continues to question Biden’s age and ability to be commander-in-chief, but on the trail — in actions both planned and seemingly impromptu — Biden aims to show voters that his age is not a concern. He sprints up plane steps, jogs to his black SUV and barely breaks a sweat in the waning summer heat. Asked by Harrisburg’s ABC 27 on Monday about Mr. Trump’s criticism of his fitness, Biden replied, “Look at how he steps and look at how I step. Watch how I run up ramps and how he stumbles down ramps, okay?” He then added, “I promise you I would not be running unless I was in really good health.”

TRUMP-PENCE CAMPAIGN

With reports that the Trump campaign is facing a cash crunch and has lost its money advantage to Joe Biden, President Trump has promised to pump his own funds into the campaign if the need arises.

“We have much more money that we had last time going into the last two months, I think double and triple,” Mr. Trump said before departing Washington for a trip to North Carolina. “If we needed any more, I’d put it up personally like I did in the primaries last time,” he added.

On a call with reporters, campaign manager Bill Stepien conceded that he is “carefully managing” the team’s budget, according to CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar. “I consider it to be among the most, if not the most important task for any campaign manager,” Stepien said, adding that one of his first undertakings as a campaign manager was recreating the budget. But Stepien also brushed aside the reports of a cash shortfall and said from now until November 3, team Trump will have more to spend than it did during the same period in 2016. “We’re very comfortable and confident in where we’re spending and how much we’re going to have down the stretch,” Stepien said.

He also said “early investments that the campaign and the RNC made in the field will not only pay dividends during periods of absentee and early voting” but also on Election Day. With less than 60 days to go, the Trump campaign is also launching a new ad campaign today called “The Great American Comeback” and will air ads starting today in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

Later this month, the first presidential debate will take place. Stepien is already preparing by watching tapes of Biden’s previous debates. He sized up Biden as “really good” at debating and added that he’s not surprised to see a lifelong politician perform well on that kind of stage. “He’s a politician, he gives speeches, he’s really good at doing it,” Stepien said, adding that Biden won all of his VP debates in 2008 and 2012. “Joe Biden is not formidable anywhere else, but he is formidable on the debate stage,” Stepien said.

He went on to claim that Joe Biden on the debate stage scares Democrats not because he might have a gaffe but “because of the radical ideas” the Democratic nominee has adopted “are so scary and so unpopular.”

The Trump campaign also unveiled a new radio ad Tuesday aimed at Black voters, reports CBS News correspondent Nikole Killion. It will run in eleven urban markets including Detroit, Flint, Raleigh and Charlotte, according to Stepien. The multi-state buy also includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida. The ad contrasts the president’s record with former Biden’s on issues like criminal justice reform and the economy.

It’s narrated by former football star Herschel Walker and Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones, both of whom spoke at the Republican National Convention. “I’ve known Donald Trump for 37 years. He keeps right on fighting to improve the lives of Black Americans,” Walker says. Jones, a Democrat adds, “I’m a lifelong Democrat and I’m part of a large and growing segment of the Black community who are independent thinkers and we believe that Donald Trump is the president that America needs to lead us forward.”

Mr. Trump won 8% of the Black vote in 2016 and campaign officials have pointed to recent polls that indicate rising support for the president following the convention. Last month a CBS News Battleground Tracker poll showed Biden leading the president among likely Black voters 90% to 6%. “These radio ads are another example of the continued investment President Trump’s campaign is making to engage directly with the Black community,” said RNC senior communications adviser Paris Dennard.

LISTEN TO THIS

“THE DEBRIEF”

In this week’s episode of “The Debrief with Major Garrett,” CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett explores the impact of the coronavirus on the trillion-dollar travel industry and how hotel, airlines, cruises, and the rest of the industry is evolving going forward.

The new episode, “Planes, Trains, and COVID-19” features interviews with CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg, United Airlines vice president of international networks and alliances Patrick Quayle, and Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, and many others.

“The only hope the travel industry has is that in certain areas, certain geographic areas, that leisure travel can make a slow comeback, but it’s predicated on so many different factors being all aligned that it’s going to be slower than anybody thought,” Greenberg said.

NEWSMAKERS

KANYE WEST

Mississippi is the 12th state where voters will see artist Kanye West’s name on the ballot this November, after the state’s Board of Election Commissioners approved his filing on Tuesday.

CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro reports that West filed 1,219 signatures in the “Show Me State” last Friday, surpassing the 1,000 signatures required. That same day, he also filed in Kentucky and had his petition approved.

West’s run for president has hit a number of snags. Of the states he has filed in, 10 states have rejected his filing. His campaign is currently challenging rejections in four states: Wisconsin, Ohio, West Virginia and Arizona — where his attorneys appealed a lower court’s decision to the state’s supreme court.

He’s also expected to appeal his rejection in Virginia. West filed his first campaign finance report over the weekend, and it shows he made a $6.76 million loan from his personal funds to his campaign. From July 15 to August 31, the campaign spent $5.86 million in total, including $1.28 million to the Republican-leaning Atlas Strategy Group consulting firm and $2.69 million to the Millennial Strategies consulting group. Among Millennial Strategies’ past clients are Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign and various Democratic committees and candidates in New York.

The report also listed $3,900 to Chucktown Bar and Grill to help host and attract signature gatherers in South Carolina. Cedric Smalls, owner of Chucktown, told Navarro the money was welcome. “That money really helped out my staff tremendous. For me, as owner of a venue, the publicity helped out. This time in COVID… any extra is a boost,” he said.

STATE-BY-STATE

MICHIGAN

Michigan GOP Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is indicating the state legislature may pass a law to allow clerks in Michigan to begin processing ballots before Election Day, according to CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster.

“It wouldn’t surprise me that we get enough support to do something before the general election and then evaluate it afterward,” Shirkey told the Associated Press’ David Eggert. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has been urging the state legislature to pass a bill to allow ballots to be processed before Election Day. Without that change, Benson has warned it could take until Thursday or Friday before all votes are counted in Michigan.

Clerks have also said it would save election workers from an exhausting Election Day. Eighteen states allow officials to process ballots, beyond just signature matching, before Election Day. Election officials in other key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, are also calling for the ability to process absentee ballots before Election Day to help speed results.

NEVADA

President Trump heads back to Nevada this weekend, where recent polling has suggested Biden’s lead could be narrowing, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin.

Though the state has handed victories to Democrats for years in statewide contests, some worry about trends prompted by the pandemic, including crippling unemployment that could drive some of their working-class base out of the state.

The campaign’s visit could also buoy the down-ballot bids for GOP House candidates like Dan Rodimer, who recently touted the president’s endorsement in his challenge of incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Susie Lee.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, Trump is endangering Nevadans’ health and safety with in-person rallies in a desperate bid to spin his ineffective management of the coronavirus crisis and dangerous economic policies, which have left working families behind at every turn,” the Democratic state party’s chairman William McCurdy II said in a statement Tuesday.

Asked about the possibility the event could run afoul of the state’s cap on mass gatherings, as a previous Trump campaign event did in August, a Trump campaign spokesperson said the event would provide masks, hand sanitizer, and temperature checks for all attendees.

OHIO

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose continued to push for absentee ballot envelopes to be postage paid at a press conference Tuesday morning.

LaRose said there will be a decision on this issue on September 14 from the Ohio Controlling Board. He noted that including postage paid absentee ballot envelopes does not “have any particular partisan impact,” and LaRose believes adding postage paid to absentee ballot envelopes will encourage voters to send in their absentee ballots quicker. “We want them to send it in sooner,” he said. “We don’t want these to sit on people’s kitchen tables or counters for days and days on end.”

If the controlling board approves pre-paid postage on September 14, LaRose said the deadline is logistically tight, but said his office will provide first-class postage to Ohio’s county board of elections.

“At this point, it is too late for printing envelopes,” he said. LaRose announced that his office is also redesigning how their office reports results on election night. In addition to tabulating and releasing results, LaRose explained his office will also release the number of outstanding absentee ballots.

Voting rights groups also sent a letter to LaRose urging him to add more ballot drop boxes in each county, reports CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman. LaRose is limiting each county to one ballot drop box, and he previously said that he believes he does not have the legal authority to add more drop boxes. In the letter, voting rights groups, including Common Cause Ohio and All Voting Is Local, pushed LaRose to reverse his directive on limiting drop boxes, to work with Ohio’s county board of elections to examine multiple drop box locations and to publish guidance on how to use and locate drop boxes.

The groups also ask LaRose to standardize “instructions for elections officials to process absentee ballot applications promptly and uniformly.”

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvanians have reported that they’ve received robocalls spewing misinformation about mail-in voting, according to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar.

CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak reports the calls falsely stated that voters who cast ballots by mail will have their personal information shared with law enforcement agencies and credit card companies, according to a press release from Boockvar’s office.

“Pennsylvanians must be vigilant against such lies, which are nothing less than an attempt to suppress their vote and should only rely on verified official sources of election information,” Boockvar said in a statement.

Law enforcement is investigating and will prosecute if the law was broken, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in the release. In another battleground state, Michigan, the secretary of state and attorney general gave a similar warning nearly two weeks ago about a robocall to a Detroit resident that used “racially-charged stereotypes to deter voting by mail,” according to a release.

VOTING INTEGRITY

DEFINING TERMS

The coronavirus pandemic has ensured that Election Day 2020 will be like none before. Keeping up with so many new changes can be difficult, so CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte compiled a dictionary of some of the new terms you’ll be hearing this election season.

To help clarify voting in 2020, CBS News spoke to New Mexico’s Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver about need-to-know Election Day jargon. Toulouse Oliver is the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the nation’s oldest, nonpartisan professional organization for public officials that is largely focused on election and voting issues.

No matter what part of the voting process you have a question about, Toulouse Oliver stressed two things: Every state operates differently and rules are changing, so it’s vital to check with your state to stay informed on election matters and to vote as early as you can to ensure your ballot is counted.

All the terms you need to know are here.

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE SENATE

Republicans in New Hampshire will choose their candidate Tuesday to take on Democratic incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson.

Shaheen is facing two non-competitive candidates in the Democratic primary and will likely advance to the general election in November. Retired Brigadier General Don Bolduc and attorney and military veteran Bryant “Corky” Messner are the leading contenders in the Republican primary.

Popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu ruled out a Senate run early on in 2019, and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski teased jumping into the race for many months but ultimately did not run.

President Trump endorsed Messner in June via tweet. Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire by less than one percentage point in 2016, so the Trump campaign has made the state a target this cycle, holding three rallies in the state since last summer. Recent polling shows that down the ballot, Shaheen leads her GOP challengers.

IN THE HOUSE

It was another busy ad day for the House battlefield, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. The National Republican Congressional Committee dropped eight new ads today, five of them in districts that incumbent Democrats hold.

A majority of them are centered around campaign financetaxes and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Their ad in New Mexico’s 2nd targets Democrat Xochitl Torres Small for taking $175,000 from “radical environmentalist” groups — though Small has been one of a few Democrats to publicly be against the Green New Deal, which she uses herself in an ad.

Republican Nancy Mace, who is facing Democrat Joe Cunningham in South Carolina’s 1st, also released an ad Tuesday, focused on the protests and civil unrest.

“From Portland to Charleston, America is under attack. Joe Biden has stood silent, and so has Joe Cunningham,” Mace says in the ad.

The Democrat-backed House Majority PAC dropped seven ads Tuesday, four of them in districts Democrats are hoping to flip this cycle. The topics range from a candidate’s record as sheriff to healthcare. Their ad in Texas’ 21st, Congressman Chip Roy’s seat, talks about Gold Star Families and a past vote Roy took against tax relief for these families of fallen soldiers. Roy has been attacked for this vote before, and explained his vote was against language on home schooling and education being stripped from the final bill.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also released three ads today in California’s 21st, Nebraska’s 2nd and Iowa’s 3rd.