Counting the days to Election Day 2020

Legislative Watch: Almost to the election finish line; House ag committee members in key races; China progressing in deal; 301 ruling appeal; USMEF honors red meat leaders.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

October 30, 2020

4 Min Read
Voting booths
Getty Images

The 2020 election is in four days with the latest polling showing Joe Biden favored to beat President Trump, the Senate is up for grabs and the Democrats are favored to maintain control of the House of Representatives. But everyone remembers 2016 when Hillary Clinton was favored, and Trump won. It is who wins the electoral college that counts, not the popular vote.

The key is the toss-up states in this year's presidential race. Those being Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

As we head into Tuesday's election, the Real Clear Politics' polls on voter attitude show:

Direction of the country — 31.3% believe the country is headed in the right direction versus 61.5% headed in the wrong direction.
• Trump — 41.6% favorable versus 55% non-favorable
• Biden — 50% percent favorable versus 44% percent non-favorable

• Trump — 44.4% approve versus 53.1% disapprove
• Congress — 17.7% approve versus 73% disapprove

This year has seen record levels of absentee and early voting with over 80 million ballots already cast as of yesterday. This represents 58% of the total votes cast in 2016. Some states are allowed to count these ballots before the polls close, while other states cannot begin counting them until the polls are closed. It could be days before various elections are determined.

Be sure to vote!

Key House ag committee races
There are a number of House Agriculture Committee members in close races.

The key race for agriculture is Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, who is in a very tight race. Peterson's district is the most Republican district represented by a Democrat. President Trump carried the district in 2016 by 31%. Peterson has served as either chairman or ranking member of the committee since 2007. He is being challenged by former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach.

Other key races include Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Anthony Brindini (D-NY), TJ Cox (D-CA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).

China's Phase One commitment update
U.S. Trade Representative and the USDA released an interim report last Friday on the progress China has made toward its commitments to the Phase One Agreement. China has met approximately 71% of its agricultural purchase commitment for 2020 according to the report. China has purchased $23.6 billion of U.S. farm products so far in 2020 and has implemented at least 50 of the 57 commitments it made to lower regulatory barriers for agricultural goods, according to the report.

The report includes actual sales and contracts for future delivery which have not been completed. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, actual exports through September for agricultural goods is $12.7 billion.

In a press release, the USDA and USTR highlight that U.S. pork exports to China reached a record in the first five months of 2020 at $1.5 billion. Beef exports through August are up 118% compared to the same period in 2019.

U.S. appeals WTO ruling on 301 tariffs
As expected, the United States appealed the World Trade Organization's September ruling in favor of China's case on U.S. Section 301 tariffs. No action is expected anytime soon because the WTO's appellate body does not have enough judges because the United States has refused to confirm any new judges.


USMEF to honor Bomer Lauritsen and Wortham
The U.S. Meat Export Federation will be honoring two individuals who have contributed to the success of the USMEF mission to enhance red meat demand for exports and advance trade relations throughout the world.

Sharon Bomer Lauritsen will receive the Michael J. Mansfield Award that recognizes individuals who have advanced trade relations throughout the world. Bomer Lauritsen recently retired after 29 years of service in the federal government. Prior to retirement, she served as U.S. trade representative for agricultural affairs and commodity policy where she led U.S. agriculture negotiations with Canada, China, European Union, Japan, Mexico and South Korea.

Richard Wortham will receive the USMEF Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual for leadership and lifetime contributions toward the achievement of USMEF's mission to enhance demand for U.S. red meat exports. Wortham has worked at the Texas Beef Council for 30 years, serving as executive vice president for the past 24 years.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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