Declared U.S. Presidential Field and their Vaping Positions
Vaping Post is proud to present our voting guide for the 2020 Presidential Election in the United States of America. Vaping, nicotine regulation, and tobacco harm reduction policy have undergone extensive challenges under the past two U.S. presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, one a Democrat and another a Republican. Given these challenges, we believe that it is vital to follow this election carefully.
With Democrats and Republicans vying to unseat incumbent Trump, it is crucial for the domestic and global industry to track who is leading in the polls. The current field of major presidential candidates is expected to grow. To stay up to date on the candidates, this page will be updated periodically with new candidates, position statements, and other information for the remainder of the 2020 campaign season.
The United States Presidential Election will be held on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. The Iowa Caucuses, the first step in the primary phase of Presidential Election, is Feb. 3. Soon after, primaries across the U.S. will feed into the summer where Democrats and Republicans will nominate their preferred pick for president at the party conventions. For the remainder of the election season, full results from the primary races by the state will be posted here.
– The Vaping Post team
- 13 January 2020 – Cory Booker and Marianne Williamson have dropped out of the race for the Democratic Presidential Primary.
- First 2020 update; 8 January 2020 – The election year is finally here. We would like to take the time to announce that we will be expanding our election guide to cover key regulatory and legislative developments. There will be more information regarding this update to the project in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the guide has been updated to reflect Julian Castro’s withdrawal from the 2020 race.
- 5 December 2019 – Joe Biden still leads the Democratic field. Trump also leads the Republican field. The guide has been updated to reflect the necessary changes to catch up after a brief hiatus. Michael Bloomberg has been added, as several other members of the Democratic field have dropped out in recent weeks. This includes Kamala Harris, Steve Bullock, and Joe Sestak.
- 15 November 2019 – An analysis conducted by RealClearPolitics.com found that a majority of Americans still support impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, regardless if he is found innocent or guilty of corruption charges. Polls do reveal, though, that Trump enjoys the support of most Republicans. Challengers against him will pose problems because of the possibility of Trump losing key segments of the Republican electorate during the primary phase. Other data shows that challengers to Trump are really just long-shot campaigns created to make a statement against the controversial president and de facto party leader. Most Americans, though, don’t mesh with Trump’s policies. Vaping and tobacco harm reduction aside, many Republicans have criticized the administration for overly aggressive immigration policies. Even social conservative groups have condemned family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, for example. But, the vaping industry should take note of specific issues that directly impact the health of the market. Trump did announce that he intends to speak with members of the industry to formalize a balanced regulatory policy on vaping; however, that is clear political pandering to a segment of the total electorate that could potentially cost him the election in 2020. Keep in mind; any policy that restricts or removes any amount of products negatively impacts the vaping industry. Despite the recent FDA controversies and the administration’s mixed response to the EVALI lung injury outbreak, Trump still forced rounds of new tariffs on e-cigarette components and other imports in the context of his trade war with China. His own budget proposals have also called for millions in new user fees for the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. And, most notably, Trump is responsible for appointing health leaders who falsely characterize e-cigarettes as a gateway to heroin use (e.g. Surgeon General Jerome Adams), among other falsehoods.
- 15 November 2019 – Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, enters the Democratic field with a new challenge to the still flooded fight for the party’s nomination to take on the Republicans. He is considered “establishment” and has overseen tobacco control strategies that advocated for the ban of smoking cigarettes in public areas. Joe Biden still leads the field currently, followed by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
- 15 November 2019 – Republican Mark Sanford has suspended a short-lived primary challenge against incumbent Donald Trump. Joe Walsh, Bill Weld, and Roque De La Fuente remain in the contested field against the controversial Trump. Additionally, Trump’s administration continues to have scandal after scandal. From impeachment to other accusations of corruption and unethical conduct, it still remains unclear on how Trump will respond to calls to ban e-cigarettes nationwide.
- 11 November 2019 – In recent days, reports indicate billionaire and anti-tobacco mega-donor Michael Bloomberg is supposedly considering a run for the Democratic ticket. He has not announced officially; however, we will update the list here.
- 6 November 2019 – One poll suggests that a majority of voters believe that Trump will be reelected in 2020. This is one poll, however, meaning that most others in recent weeks predict a loss. Impeachment proceedings against Trump are also underway as Democrats continue to probe allegations of corruption and tit for tat foreign policy with Ukraine. Many Republicans say they support Trump in the impeachment fight, despite a majority of Americans supporting the impeachment of Trump due to allegations of corruption. At the time of this update, Trump is also expected to release his administration’s official rules banning non-tobacco flavored e-liquids nationwide. We will break this story as the official order is released by the FDA.
- 6 November 2019 – The Republican primary field grows as Roque De La Fuente, a perennial candidate and Lantix businessman from San Diego, is one of the few to qualify for multiple state ballots against Trump. La Fuente has business holdings in Mexico, the United States, the Dominican Republican, and Uruguay.
- 1 November 2019 – Beto O’Rourke, a Texas candidate for the Democratic nomination, announced the suspension of his campaign. The field continues to shrink as Republicans challenging Trump remain hellbent on unseating him. Sources at the White House expect the president to be impeached in the coming weeks. For those who are outside the U.S., the impeachment process requires a legitimate trial before the Senate where the body judges the president as if it were a traditional criminal proceeding. Trump is accused of corruption and breaking federal law in an effort to obtain dirt on political opponents like Democrat Joe Biden. Biden continues to lead the Democrats in public polling.
- 28 October 2019 – The list has been updated to reflect that Democrat Tim Ryan of Ohio has dropped out of the race. Current political data shows Biden leading the field and Trump leading the Republicans. It also should be noted that political strategists believe that Trump could opt-out of seeking reelection due to a series of controversies including the noteworthy impeachment inquiry that could put the president in criminal trouble. Republicans challenging Trump are likely to carry with them GOP voters who oppose the president. It should also be noted that there are public opinion surveys showing that pro-vaping Trump voters will likely vote against the president given his position and actions against the industry.
- 24 September 2019 – We have updated this guide to reflect the suspension of Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, and his bid to win the Democratic primary.
- 9 September 2019 – We have updated the guide to reflect that Mark Sanford, a former Republican governor from South Carolina, has entered into the Republican race against incumbent Trump.
- 4 September 2019 – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ended her bid for the Democratic Party nomination for the American presidency. She announced this on August 28.
- 26 August 2019 – We have updated the guide to reflect the latest campaign dropouts from the Democratic ticket. These include Washington governor Jay Inslee and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton. We also added Joe Walsh, a former Republican member of Congress representing the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. He is also a conservative political pundit and radio host.
- 19 August 2019 – According to the most recent RealClearPolitics average on public polling, Joe Biden still maintains a commanding lead over the Democratic field. Following behind Biden is Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
- 19 August 2019 – John Hickenlooper, the former Governor of Colorado, withdrew from U.S. Democratic Party presidential primary. He announced his withdrawal on August 15.
- 4 August 2019 – Mike Gravel, the latest dropout from the U.S. Democratic Party presidential primary, has been removed. All other records are current.
- 4 August 2019 – Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator of the state of Alaska from 1969 to 1981, announced that he is withdrawing from the race due the fact that he was unable to generate the necessary support. He additionally cited his campaign’s blocking from the debate stage by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
- 30 July 2019 – As of today, the following candidates, their affiliations, and our assessments of their positions are still current with no changes.
- 19 July 2019 – We again updated our records to reflect that former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district announced his candidacy. Sestak entered the race with a June 23 announcement.
- 19 July 2019 – We updated our records to reflect that investor and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer has announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential field. Steyer officially announced on July 9.
- 19 July 2019 – Our records have been updated to reflect that Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) suspended his bid for the 2020 Democratic Party Presidential nomination. Swalwell announced the suspension of his campaign on July 8.
- 19 July 2019 – 2020 Presidential Election Voting Guide Released.
|Candidate||Vaping friendly||Current position||Reason|
|Joe Biden||No||Former Vice President of the United States||From what we can tell, Biden has not spoken publicly on his position on vaping or tobacco harm reduction.|
|Pete Buttigieg||Most Likely Against||Mayor of of South Bend, Indiana||While he has not made any declaratory statements on vaping or the "youth vaping epidemic," Buttigieg has overseen the passage of various Smokefree Ordinances in his home town of South Bend which include vapor aerosol.|
|Bernie Sanders||Most Likely Against||U.S. Senator for Vermont||Sanders has reportedly been in support of vaping and tobacco harm reduction but has also questioned the legalization of cigarettes and nicotine products more recently.|
|Amy Klobuchar||No||U.S. Senator for Minnesota||Klobuchar is on record several times announcing opposition to vaping's health promotion claims and she has always viewed vaping as "big tobacco."|
|Elizabeth Warren||No||U.S. Senator for Massachusetts||Warren is not a friend to the vaping industry or tobacco harm reduction field. Her most recent example of this opposition can be seen with her signing of a U.S. Senate inquiry letter demanding documents revealing Juul Labs' so-called marketing tactics to minors.|
|Tulsi Gabbard||Most Likely Against||U.S. Rep. for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district||Gabbard has remained relatively quiet on the issue. But, she is on record for support marijuana legalization efforts and has made this effort a tenant of her campaign. Given this focus on cannabis, she could side against nicotine.|
|John Delaney||Unknown||Former U.S. Rep. for Maryland's 6th congressional district||Delaney has remained very silent on the issue. This is also evidence of his non-impactful campaign.|
|Wayne Messam||No||Mayor of Miramar, Florida||Messam, before he was elected to the office of Mayor and served on Mirmar's city commission, supported a sales ban on e-cigarettes to minors. While the legislation was industry friendly, the legislation's structure sourced the idea that vapes are intentionally marketed to minors.|
|Andrew Yang||Unknown||Tech executive||Yang is not on record for supporting or opposing e-cigarettes or tobacco harm reduction. We can only speculate, though, that Yang may approach the issue from the prespective of a tech executive.|
|Michael Bennet||No||U.S. Senator for Colorado||Bennet has a legislative record for supporting industry-opposed e-cigarette restrictions and other tobacco measures that significantly skew the market unintentionally in support for large tobacco firms.|
|Tom Steyer||No||Investor||Tom Steyer, while being a billionaire, has funded several progressive movements over the years. Most notably, Steyer helped bankroll the passage of California's Proposition 56 in 2016. This ballot measure added a cigarette tax and taxes on vapes to fund state-funded tobacco research; however, the campaign utilized messaging that suggests a tobacco epidemic among youth.|
|Deval Patrick||Most Likely Against||Former Governor of Massachusetts||While little is know about Patrick's specific position on e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction, it should be noted that his history includes overseeing state agencies that regulated cigarettes and supported tobacco control legislation.|
|Michael Bloomberg||No||Billionaire and philanthropist||Bloomberg announced his run for president in light of a recent funding push tied to his nonprofit groups to advocate for flavor bans and new age restrictions. He is also a known advocate for tobacco control and a Democratic Party super donor.|
|Candidate||Vaping friendly||Current position||Reason|
|Donald Trump||No||President of the United States, Incumbent||As president, Trump has appointed regulatory leaders who are anti-vaping and oppose tobacco harm reduction. Notably, former FDA Comissioner Scott Gottileb, a Trump appointee, declared youth vaping a public health epidemic. Trump is also responsible for appointing Surgeon General Jerome Adams who falsely compared vaping to heroin use. He is also expected to ban most vaping flavors nationwide.|
|Bill Weld||Most Likely||Former Governor of Masschusetts; Former 2016 Vice Presidential nominee for Libertarian Party||Weld served as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party. During the 2016 race, the Gary Johnson-Weld platform reflected the Libertarians' pro-vaping and tobacco harm reduction positions.|
|Joe Walsh||Unknown||Conservative Radio Host; Former U.S. Rep. for Illinois' 8th congressional district||Walsh is one of the latest Republican politicians announce a political challenge against Donald Trump. We have yet to see any indication about his position on issues like vaping and tobacco harm reduction. He has a history of aligning with many positions the incumbent maintains, just without the bellicose conduct.|
|Roque De La Fuente||Unknown||Businessman||La Fuente's position on tobacco harm reduction is unknown. Though we are speculating, it is likely that he will have a pragmatic position on the topic.|
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