Campaign

The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic

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. 

 

LEADING THE DAY:  

Wisconsin voters are leaving their homes to go to the polls today as the state charges ahead with its slate of primary and general elections despite the coronavirus pandemic and 11th-hour legal and political efforts to postpone.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to defeat Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential primary, moving him closer to the nomination and potentially moving Sanders closer to the exit.

There's also a hotly contested state Supreme Court seat up for grabs on Tuesday.

But those storylines are secondary compared to the behind-the-scenes wrangling that has gone on in the hours leading up to the election.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order late Monday postponing the election until June. That order was overturned by the state Supreme Court. Evers had previously said he did not have the power to change the election, and the court agreed.

Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled that Wisconsin voters should have another week to get their absentee ballots in by mail. But that order was challenged by Republicans, and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it, ruling that all mail-in ballots must have been received by Tuesday to be counted.

Voters faced long lines at the reduced number of polling outlets across the state, and the state is suffering from a severe shortage of polling workers. In addition, the state elections commission is under pressure to count the nearly 900,000 absentee ballots that have been returned so far, more than the entire amount cast in the 2016 election.

More broadly, election experts noted that states need to be proactive if they're going to be making changes to their elections. Last-minute legal and political fights lead to chaos and confusion for voters, as Wisconsin is finding out today.

-- Jonathan Easley

 

READ MORE

Wisconsin experiences long lines at limited voting locations amid pandemic, by Marty Johnson

Wisconsin lieutenant governor calls election a 's--- show,' by Rebecca Klar

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Biden praised Sanders Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show for having a "significant" influence on American politics and said he hopes his primary rival will play a role in his own campaign if should he be the Democratic nominee. From Jonathan Easley

 

Julia Manchester and Amie Parnes report on how the coronavirus pandemic is upending politics across the country, including in Florida -- home to 29 electoral votes and consistently one of the most important states in the presidential contest. 

 

The nation's response to the coronavirus crisis is being complicated by political polarization in general and the divisiveness of President Trump in particular, Niall Stanage writes.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Geoffrey Skelley: Is the economy still the most important thing for Trump's reelection?

Ian Millhiser: The Supreme Court's decision disenfranchises thousands of Wisconsin voters

Adam Brandon: All-mail voting is bad for election integrity

 

ENDORSEMENTS WATCH:

Civil rights icon John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Ohio progressive Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) endorsed Biden on Tuesday.

 

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) holds a significant lead over Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) in the race for her Senate seat, a new poll found.

 

MONEY WATCH:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saw his highest ever fundraising quarter in the first three months of 2020, bringing in some $7.45 million, his campaign announced on Tuesday. He ended the quarter with $14.85 million in cash on hand. McConnell has so far raised about $25.6 million for the 2020 election cycle.

 

Meanwhile, McConnell's top Democratic challenger Amy McGrath raked in about $12.8 million in the same period.

 

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) brought in more than $4 million in the first quarter of 2020. Republican John James, who's challenging Peters for his seat, raised even more: about $4.8 million. 

 

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

WORKING A DOUBLE: Yesterday, we brought you the news that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially deemed the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers in an effort to lift the spirits of young New Zealanders. 

Today, we're highlighting Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's efforts as his country works to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to his duties as Ireland's Taoiseach, Varadkar will start working one shift a week as a doctor. 

Varadkar, who practiced medicine before getting into politics, registered as a medical practitioner with Ireland's Health Service Executive. 

"Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way," Varadkar's spokesperson told Irish broadcaster RTE. 

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 the latest campaign coverage.

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