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The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders endorses Biden for president

 The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders endorses Biden for president
© Greg Nash

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:  

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years This week: Senate stuck in limbo MORE (I-Vt.) formally endorsed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE during a virtual event today. The event, which was billed as an online coronavirus event, comes less than a week after Sanders dropped out of the race. 

Sanders's endorsement marks an attempt to unify the Democratic Party, which has been fractured between its progressive and moderate wings since the 2016 presidential race. 

Sanders and his supporters, who regarded the senator's presidential campaign as a movement, have been skeptical of the party establishment, pointing to the reluctance of Democratic leaders to support progressive measures like "Medicare for All."

The party's establishment wing, including Biden, have pushed for preserving and building upon the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. 

And while these divisions are still present in the party, Sanders's message on Monday demonstrates the universal priority among Democrats to defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE in November. 

"We need you in the White House. I will do all that I can to see that that happens, Joe," Sanders said. "Today, I am asking all Americans -- I'm asking every Democrat, I'm asking every independent, I'm asking a lot of Republicans -- to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse." 

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Notably, Sanders's endorsement of Biden came earlier than his endorsement of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate to vote Tuesday on Biden's secretary of State pick Portman planned exit sets off Ohio free-for-all Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick MORE in 2016, signaling the urgency of the 2020 general election. 

Sanders did not endorse the 2016 Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, until roughly two weeks before the party's convention in July.

While Sanders's endorsement of Biden will likely quell fears that Democrats will not be united in time for November's general election, not all of Sanders's backers supported the decision. 

"With the utmost respect for Bernie Sanders, who is an incredible human being & a genuine inspiration, I don't endorse Joe Biden," Sanders's former national press secretary Briahna Gray  "I supported Bernie Sanders because he backed ideas like #MedicareForAll, cancelling ALL student debt, & a wealth tax. Biden supports none of those." 

--Julia Manchester 

 

READ MORE:

Sanders endorses Biden for president, By Julia Manchester

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

President Trump is facing a changing political tide as he scrambles to get a hold on the coronavirus outbreak, The Hill's Niall Stanage reports. Recent polls have shown public approval of his handling of the crisis ticking downward, and his overall approval ratings have followed a similar trajectory, reversing the gains he made at the beginning of the crisis. At the same time, Sanders's exit from the Democratic presidential race has spared Biden a long and potentially damaging nominating contest, allowing the former vice president to begin a general election bid against Trump. 

 

Biden scored an easy victory in the Alaska Democratic presidential primary over the weekend, notching 55.3 percent of the vote to Sanders's 44.7 percent, The Hill's Tal Axelrod and Lauren Vella report. The win came days after Sanders dropped out of the primary race. But Alaska conducted its nominating contest entirely by mail, meaning many votes were still cast for Sanders despite his recent decision to suspend his campaign.

 

Trump's reelection campaign on Monday filed a defamation lawsuit against a Wisconsin television station for running an ad cut by the liberal super PAC Priorities USA alleging the president called the coronavirus a "hoax." Jonathan Easley reports.

 

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Brad Bannon: Sanders leaves a lasting legacy

Blake Rutherford: Democrats must adapt to win

 

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FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

The coronavirus pandemic could carry profound consequences for governors in tight reelection bids this year, The Hill's Rebecca Klar reports. The outbreak comes with both opportunities and risks for state executives, giving them the chance to show their leadership chops in the face of a national crisis, but also the pressures of confronting a rare challenge that hasn't been seen in generations. 

 

Sanders's exit from the race effectively established Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee. But the former vice president still hasn't reached out to one of the Vermont senator's most outspoken allies: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years Meghan McCain responds to Katie Couric: 'I don't need to be deprogrammed' Skepticism reigns as Biden, McConnell begin new era MORE (D-N.Y.). Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times in an interview that she hasn't heard from Biden or his campaign. She said that she still plans to support the Democratic nominee, but she described political unity as a "process" that needs to include voices from different wings of the party. "I've always said that I will support the Democratic nominee. But unity is a process, and figuring out what that looks like is part of this whole conversation that I think Bernie and [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren (D-Mass.) and other folks are a part of as well," she told the Times.

 

Phil Arballo (D), who is challenging Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesUndoing Trump will take more than executive orders GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer placed on administrative leave: reports Pelosi raises alarm after Trump loyalist installed as top NSA lawyer MORE (R) in California's 22nd district, is putting five-figures behind a new digital ad attacking Nunes over the government's response to the coronavirus. Watch the ad here.

 

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MONEY WATCH:

President Trump's reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $212 million in the first three months of 2020, The Hill's Justin Wise reports, leaving Trump's team with more than $240 million in cash on hand at the end of the quarter. The first quarter total suggests that Trump and the RNC experienced a slight dip in fundraising amid the coronavirus pandemic. After raising $86 million in February, they raised about $63 million in March. Still, the fundraising total for the quarter represents a 36 percent increase from the final quarter of 2019. 

 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee's (NRSC) independent expenditure arm placed television ad buys in Iowa, Colorado, Montana, Arizona and Michigan, according to Medium Buying.

 

POLL WATCH:

FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES/0PTIMUS ANALYTICS – NATIONAL

Biden: 52.8 percent

Trump: 43.3 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

April 17:

Wyoming

 

April 28:

Ohio

 

May 2:

Kansas Democratic primary

 

May 12:

Nebraska primaries

 

May 19:

Oregon primaries

 

May 22:

Hawaii Democratic primary

 

June 2:

Connecticut primaries

Delaware primaries

District of Columbia primaries

Indiana primaries

Maryland primaries

Montana primaries

New Mexico primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries

South Dakota primaries

 

June 6

US Virgin Islands primaries

 

June 9:

Georgia primaries

West Virginia primaries

 

June 20:

Louisiana primaries

 

June 23:

Kentucky primaries

New York primaries

 

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

 

August 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

 

August 24-27:

Republican National Convention

 

ONE HOPEFUL THING

Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer Statue was illuminated in a doctor's coat on Sunday and displayed messages of thanks to first responders on Easter Sunday. 

The display was just one of a few hopeful messages seen around the world this Easter weekend. 

In Milan, Italy, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli sang "Amazing Grace" in front of the city's Duomo Cathedral. While the church may have been empty, the video was viewed more than 27 million times on YouTube alone. 

"On the day we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I'm honored and happy to answer 'si,' " the singer said. "Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth's pulsing heart."

You can watch the concert, titled "Music for Hope" here.

 

We'll see you again tomorrow with the latest campaign news.