Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Some candidates haven’t even formally announced their decision to run yet, but President Trump's re-election campaign is already gathering ammunition to use against his opponents and mapping out the regions where he is weakest.

Between the lines: The Democratic campaigns are getting all the attention right now, but the Trump team is following them closely, sending trackers and watching all of the candidates for liberal base-pleasing proposals — like packing the Supreme Court — that they can use to make the eventual nominee look extreme.

Details: The Republican National Committee, which is taking the lead on opposition research ahead of 2020 in coordination with the campaign, has been funding a network of trackers in all the early states. It's already out filming Democratic candidates, trying to catch their mistakes — especially in smaller, more rural settings away from the eyes of the national media.

  • “We started gathering research on 2020 candidates in spring of 2018,” Mike Reed, the RNC’s deputy chief of staff for communications, told me. 
  • The RNC is “going to make whoever the nominee is radioactive well before they get the nomination,” a former campaign official told Axios. “That’s Trump’s strategy. Stay at 45-46% [in the polls] and just make the other guy radioactive.”

And the campaign plans to highlight the Democratic candidates' far-left proposals in a way that that would "look poorly on the entire Democratic brand,” a Trump 2020 campaign adviser said — such as court packingabolishing the electoral college and reparations. "Even Bernie's not for reparations,” the source added.

The campaign is also zeroing in on which states they need to go after the hardest, which will ultimately depend on which Democrat becomes the frontrunner.

  • “The issue for Trump last time was, frankly, he spoke to working class voters and Hillary didn’t … So if you take that out of the equation, something like getting 60 thousand votes in Michigan becomes a lot harder,” the former campaign official said.

A Republican operative close to the campaign told Axios the team is most worried about Michigan and Wisconsin — states where they think it will be hard to replicate their 2016 win.

  • The campaign is less worried about Pennsylvania, the source said, given that Clinton campaigned heavily across the state and “won just about as many votes in Philly as she could get,” but Trump still came out on top.
  • They aren’t too concerned about Ohio, Florida or Georgia either. "We sent Trump there to campaign hard for the 2018 governors' races as a testing ground,” the source said. “Each state had really strong Dem candidates who garnered a lot of voter energy, but the Republicans, who weren’t the strongest candidates, still won.”

Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary for the Trump campaign, gave us this statement:  "We plan to win where the President won before, and expand the map even further.  There are a number of states where President Trump nearly won and we intend to focus a lot of attention there.”

Go deeper

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Cuomo asks for “independent” investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he would authorize and "voluntarily cooperate" with an independent investigation run by New York's attorney general into claims he sexually harassed several women.

The state of play: The statement comes after a day of competing statements from Cuomo and AG Letitcia James over who would oversee an independent investigation into the governor.

Cuomo scandal snares Dems on #MeToo

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images   

The searing sexual harassment allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are trouble for Democrats far beyond Albany and New York.

Why it matters: They hammered Donald Trump after the "Access Hollywood" tape. Pilloried Brett Kavanaugh over Christine Blasey Ford. Defended President Biden when he was accused of inappropriate touching. Now, Democrats have to show whether they walk the "#MeToo" talk.