The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Trump discuss coronavirus response; Wisconsin postpones elections

The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Trump discuss coronavirus response; Wisconsin postpones elections
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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:  

Biden, Trump talk: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination The Memo: Job numbers boost Trump and challenge Biden Chris Wallace: Jobs numbers show 'the political resilience of Donald Trump' MORE spoke with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE on Monday about the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

Neither Biden's campaign nor the White House immediately responded to requests for comment about the discussion.

The call began taking shape last week after Biden offered to speak to the president about the U.S. strategy for combating the coronavirus outbreak. Trump said he was willing to take such a call from Biden.

 

Read more on this developing story...

Biden spoke with Trump about coronavirus response, by Max Greenwood and Al Weaver

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That wasn't the only big campaign news story today...

 

Wisconsin postpones election: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) took the extraordinary step on Monday of unilaterally postponing the state's planned elections because of the coronavirus. Tuesday's elections have been pushed to June 9, assuming Evers's order holds up in court.

Republicans in the state immediately challenged the executive order, which will go before Wisconsin's Supreme Court. There are questions about whether Evers has the authority to delay an election. Evers himself has previously said that he couldn't change the election without violating state law.

At the moment, Wisconsin is the 16th state to postpone its elections. If the postponement holds, there will not be any elections held in the U.S. this month.

The top contest that was on tap for tomorrow is the Democratic primary between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan Google: Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting Biden, Trump campaigns MORE (I-Vt.). Polls show Biden with a huge lead over Sanders in Wisconsin.

Sanders had advocated for delaying the election, while Biden supported carrying on.

Another blowout loss for Sanders might have moved him closer to leaving the race, but that will be put on hold for now.

Wisconsin also had a slew of general elections on tap for tomorrow, including one for a hotly contested state Supreme Court seat. It's unclear how the state will deal with the upcoming vacancies that will result from postponing the election.

But it was fairly clear that the state was faced with an administrative disaster if it went ahead with opening the polls tomorrow, not to mention a potential health crisis.

Only a fraction of polling places were going to be open, and these were facing severe worker shortages. There were fears that the smaller number of polling places -- only about six to 10 were going to open in Milwaukee, which has a population 600,000 -- would lead to long lines and big crowds, potentially making the centers hotbeds for the spread of disease.

 

Read more:

Wisconsin governor postpones Tuesday's elections, by Jonathan Easley and Justin Wise.

Wisconsin Republicans to challenge election delay in state's top court, by John Kruzel.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Biden brought Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) onto his newly launched podcast on Monday, a move that could stoke speculation he's considering her as a potential running mate, Max reports. Biden has already committed to choosing a woman as his eventual running mate, and Whitmer is among several candidates he's said to be considering.

 

President Trump is mocking Biden for suggesting that the Democratic National Convention this summer may have to be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill's Brett Samuels reports. "Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a 'Virtual' Convention, one where he doesn't have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?" Trump had tweeted. "Also, what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?" Trump and Biden spoke later on Monday.

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PERSPECTIVES:

John Kenneth White: History's lessons for Donald Trump

Mark Penn: What the polls say about how politicians should treat the health crisis

Juan Williams: Governors lead while Trump flounders

 

POLL WATCH:

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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA – FLORIDA GENERAL

Biden: 46 percent

Trump: 40 percent



MONEY WATCH:

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has booked some $22 million in fall YouTube ad reservations, The Hill's Max Greenwood reports, the largest sum spent on advertising by any Democratic group this cycle. The ads will run in the weeks before Election Day across 14 states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

 

House Majority PAC (HMP), the top Democratic super PAC focused on House races, announced that it has booked $51 million in fall television advertisements. The ads are slated to run across 29 media markets in the final weeks before the 2020 general election in November. The investment surpasses HMP's roughly $43 million in initial ad reservations from 2018, when Democrats recaptured control of the House.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

April 10:

Alaska

 

April 17:

Wyoming

 

April 26:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary

 

April 28:

Ohio

 

ONE HOPEFUL THING

It can sometimes be difficult to determine who is considered an essential worker during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, essential workers include those working in fields like agriculture, communications, emergency services and health care. 

However, in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a special clarification for the country's young population, telling them that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are also considered essential workers. 

"You will be pleased to know that we do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers," Ardern said at a press briefing Monday. 

She did add that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy *may* be busy with their own families this year. 

"So I say to the children of New Zealand, if the Easter Bunny doesn't make it to your household we have to understand that it's a bit difficult at the moment for the bunny to perhaps be everywhere," Arden said. 

For more good news be sure to check out The Hill's Selfless Acts page, where our reporters are detailing how Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

 

We'll be back tomorrow with more campaign news!