The Hill's Campaign Report: Campaigns scale back amid coronavirus threat

The Hill's Campaign Report: Campaigns scale back amid coronavirus threat

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:

It is a strange time on the campaign trail, as candidates, operatives and voters dramatically scale back their activities in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE notched three more resounding victories on Tuesday night, routing Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Connecticut in final presidential primary of year Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris MORE (I-Vt.) in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

Because several states decided to postpone their primaries, the next scheduled elections aren't until April 4.

Biden has opened up a commanding -- and nearly insurmountable -- lead in delegates. Sanders is "assessing" his way forward, campaign manager Faiz Shakir said on Tuesday.

But for all intents and purposes, the Democratic presidential race has been settled in favor of Biden.

Sanders has dramatically scaled back his campaign, rolling back fundraising efforts, suspending digital advertising and speaking to supporters about what needs to be done to address the coronavirus, rather than drawing contrasts with Biden.

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The Vermont senator lashed out at reporters asking about his political future on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

"I'm dealing with a f------ global crisis. Right now, right now I'm trying to do my best to make sure that we don't have an economic meltdown and that people don't die. Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?" Sanders said to CNN's Manu Raju.

There are still scores of House and Senate primaries that need to be settled. Many of these candidates have drawn back their campaigning as well. It's unclear whether upcoming states will continue to allow voters to cast ballots in person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance saying that everyone should avoid crowds, which is in direct conflict with Election Day activities that draw hundreds into packed rooms and long lines at public facilities across the country.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is urging states not to postpone their elections, but rather to expand mail-in and absentee voting, while extending ballot box hours in an effort to diminish crowds and lines.

-- Jonathan Easley

 

READ MORE: 

Niall Stanage: Biden subdues Sanders amid virus upheaval

Jonathan Easley: Five takeaways from Tuesday's elections

Max Greenwood: Tuesday primary turnout slumps amid coronavirus anxiety

Tal Axelrod: McSally campaign to suspend TV ads, canvassing amid pandemic

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldVermont governor, running for reelection, won't campaign or raise money The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party MORE (R) is ending his longshot primary challenge to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE. Jonathan has the details

 

Axios issued an apology Wednesday after incorrectly reporting that Sanders suspended his presidential campaign. Tal has more.

 

PERSPECTIVES: 

Abby Vesoulis: Will coronavirus turn Andrew YangAndrew YangCalifornia Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate Yang on Democratic convention: 'I kind of expected to speak' MORE's $1,000 payments into a reality?

Susan Crabtree: With Biden's wins, the coronavirus election is here

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FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:

Senate and House candidates across the country are transforming their campaigns into digital spaces as the threat of coronavirus throws the art of retail politics into uncharted territory. A number of campaigns have taken to holding tele-town halls and Facebook Lives after suspending in-person activities. However, the changes have also led to questions about how the candidates will promote their campaign as the coronavirus consumes the news cycle, and how they will raise money in an unsteady economy, by Julia Manchester and Juliegrace Brufke.

 

Alabama is postponing its GOP Senate runoff scheduled for later this month to July 14 amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Tal and Reid Wilson report.

 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation Wednesday that would allow local elections to be postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak, Tal reports.

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Progressive challenger Marie Newman narrowly defeated Rep. Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiBottom line How a progressive populist appears to have toppled Engel House to pass sweeping police reform legislation MORE (D-Ill.) in the primary in Illinois's 3rd Congressional District in one of the country's most-watched House contests. Lipinski was one of the last remaining anti-abortion Democrats on the national scene.

 

POLL WATCH:

ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION – GEORGIA PRIMARY

Biden: 66 percent

Sanders: 22 percent

Gabbard: 1 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

April 4:

Alaska Democratic primary

Hawaii Democratic primary

Wyoming Democratic caucuses

April 7:

Wisconsin Democratic primary


April 26:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary


April 28:

Connecticut primaries

Delaware primaries

New York primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries

 

ONE HELPFUL THING

The coronavirus outbreak has made it incredibly difficult for people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly to take trips to the grocery store because they are so much more at risk than younger people with stronger immune systems. 

Thankfully, grocery stores in a number of countries have put aside certain hours for those who are most vulnerable to the virus to come in and shop. 

 

Here's a look from Australia, where the trend started at Woolworth:

 

One Twitter user said Finnish grocery stores were also implementing the idea

 

The Hill's Justine Coleman reports that the government of Jersey City, N.J., posted on Facebook Monday that it planned to discuss designating certain hours for only elderly residents, those with disabilities and pregnant residents, extending from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. starting Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Lorain, Ohio, Mayor Jack Bradley said some stores in the city will open early for senior residents to pick up essentials, local station Fox8 reported.

 

We'll be back tomorrow with the latest from the campaign trail.