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The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests

The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests
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Welcome to The Hill's Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We're Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here's what we're watching today on the campaign trail. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE is in position to stretch his delegate lead over Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Ocasio-Cortez rolls out Twitch channel to urge voting Calls grow for Democrats to ramp up spending in Texas MORE (I-Vt.) as voters in six states head to the polls tonight.

Biden is headed for a blowout victory in Mississippi, which should continue his run of stronger performances in the deep south, where black voters have lifted him to victories.

The former vice president is also leading big in polls of Missouri, where Sanders only narrowly lost to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE in 2016.

The big prize of the night is in Michigan, and polls show Biden up from anywhere between 8 to 24 points. 

There are 125 delegates up for grabs in Michigan, more than one-third of tonight's total delegate haul. A victory in the Wolverine State could give Biden an air of inevitability.

Sanders has been hunkered down in Michigan, looking for some of the magic that propelled his unlikely 2016 challenge to Clinton. That year, polls showed Sanders down by 20 points in Michigan heading into Election Day, and his stunning victory in Michigan completely reshaped how people viewed the primary contest between him and Clinton.

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Can he do it again?

It looks like an uphill battle. Biden has opened up about a 20-point lead nationally over Sanders, a massive shift of support that has unfolded over the past 8 days.

Sanders suddenly looks vulnerable even in the Western states he won big in 2016 that will vote on Tuesday night.

Polls show Biden and Sanders running about even in Washington, Idaho and North Dakota. Sanders won all those states by 40 points or more in 2016.

Check back at TheHill.com tonight for the latest results and analysis.

 

READ MORE: 

A rundown of when the polls close in six states today, by Emily Disalvo.

Five things to watch for in Tuesday's elections, by Max Greenwood.

What to expect from the six states voting on Tuesday, by Julia Manchester.

Biden ready for big wins on Tuesday, by Jonathan Easley.

Democratic donors come off the sidelines for Biden, by Amie Parnes.

Biden expands support among labor unions, by Alex Gangitano.

What happened to Bernie Sanders? by Niall Stanage.

Biden says he would veto Medicare for all legislation if he were president and it was passed by Congress, writes Marina Pitofsky.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Coronavirus concerns have spread to the campaign trail as voters look to make their voices heard at the ballot box in Tuesday's contests and next week on March 17.

Both Sanders and Biden cancelled rallies planned to be held in Cleveland amid growing concerns over the virus.

In recent days, the candidates had continued to make campaign stops and hold get out the vote events. But it's clear now that the virus is a point of concern for the candidates.

It's unclear whether this was the work of staffers or attendees, but the entrance to Biden's event in Detroit last night was stocked with hand sanitizer. 

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The outbreak could also impact voter turnout in a number of upcoming contests. The Hill's Rebecca Klar reports that Washington State officials are hoping the Washington Democratic Party's decision to conduct its primary by mail-in and drop-off ballots rather than with caucuses, as in previous election cycles, reduces the risk of spreading the virus. 

 

Meanwhile, Biden and Sanders have given a preview of how they would respond to a similar crisis as president, The Hill's Julia Manchester reports. Biden has honed in on his time as vice president, citing his experience combatting the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Sanders has used the opportunity to tout his own Medicare for All proposal, saying under his administration every American diagnosed with the virus would have access to a doctor and a vaccine.

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Biden is picking up the support of labor leaders and unions, including some that endorsed Sanders in 2016, The Hill's Alex Gangitano reports. The endorsements reflect both the unease with Sanders that some in the labor movement feel, as well as a sense that Biden has the momentum in the Democratic primary race that he'll need to clinch the nomination. 

 

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (D), a former 2020 contender, is urging Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Democratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race MORE (D-Mass.) to endorse Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, arguing that he would do the same for her if the shoe were on the other foot, The Hill's Rebecca Klar reports. Warren, who ended her campaign last week following disappointing finishes on Super Tuesday, has said that she will not endorse in the race right away, though Sanders would be a clearer ideological fit for her support. 

 

PERSPECTIVES: 

Crystal Hoyt: "The sexism in liberal politics is real"

Tim Alberta: "Michigan was once Bernie's resurrection. It could be his burial."

Ezra Klein: "What the media missed about Joe Biden's electability."

 

FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:

Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville leads former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions by a dozen points in the runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in Alabama, a new poll reveals

 

POLL WATCH: 

FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY BEPI – FLORIDA

Biden: 61 percent (+19)

Sanders: 25 percent (+9)

Gabbard: 3 percent (+2)

 

CYGNAL – ALABAMA REPUBLICAN SENATE RUNOFF

Tommy Tuberville: 51.5 percent

Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHarris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House The Memo: Team Trump looks to Pence to steady ship in VP debate MORE: 39.5 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

March 15:

-Eleventh Democratic presidential primary debate

 

March 17:

-Arizona Democratic primary

-Florida primaries

-Illinois primaries

-Ohio primaries

 

March 24:

-Georgia primaries 

 

March 29:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary

 

ONE FUN THING:

While scientists are hard at work developing a potential vaccine for the coronavirus, former presidential candidate and Sanders supporter Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson discusses speaking at People's Party Convention Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016 Marianne Williamson: Democratic convention 'like binge watching a Marriott commercial' MORE has another method in mind to deal with the outbreak. 

Williamson posted an 11 minute "coronavirus mediation" to her IGTV account on Tuesday. She wrapped the video with a deep breath and told viewers to "go wash your hands, thanks." 

Not everyone is into meditation, but, coronavirus outbreak or not, you can't go wrong with washing your hands.

 

We'll see you tomorrow with a breakdown of Super Tuesday Part 2!

In the meantime, wash your hands!