The Hill's Campaign Report: States divided over when to reopen amid pandemic

The Hill's Campaign Report: States divided over when to reopen amid 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.




The political divide over how and when to reopen the U.S. economy is deepening across the country, with Republican southern governors becoming the first to move to reopen their states’ businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The governors of Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas have already began lifting restrictions, citing the need for their states’ economies to get back on track amid rising unemployment numbers across the country.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has led one of the most aggressive reopening efforts, calling on parts of the economy across the state, including close-contact businesses like nail salons, barbershops and massage studios, to open as soon as Friday.

However, Kemp has faced backlash for the move, including from the leader of his own party, President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE. Trump’s public break from Kemp on the issue led to Georgia GOP Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsSabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP Loeffler knocks WNBA players for wearing shirts backing Democratic challenger WNBA players wear 'Vote Warnock' shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger MORE to side with the president over his own state’s governor.

“The president wants the country open. I want the country open. The governor wants the country open. The problem is how do you do it? And I think that's the problem with leadership,” Collins said on “Fox & Friends.”

But there’s a backstory to Collins’s latest statement: remember, he is running for Senate against Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Sabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP Loeffler knocks WNBA players for wearing shirts backing Democratic challenger MORE, a Republican whom Kemp appointed to the seat vacated by retired Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonSabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP WNBA players wear 'Vote Warnock' shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger Trump and Biden tied in Georgia: poll MORE (R). Loeffler has remained supportive of Kemp.


“Senator Loeffler, like Governor Kemp, is working to make sure we reopen our economy and get back to work in a safe and healthy way,” Loeffler’s spokesman said in a statement to The Hill.

Meanwhile, Democrats have continued hitting the Republican governors looking reopen their economies in the very-near future.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Harris, Ocasio-Cortez push climate equity bill with Green New Deal roots Young minority voters show overwhelming support for Biden: poll MORE (N.Y.) tweeted on Thursday that GOP governors like Kemp “are sending vulnerable workers to die w/ false claims of safety.”

Expect to see escalation in the political fight to reopen as the crisis in the U.S. continues.

– Julia Manchester



Trump is moving to shore up his political base amid growing criticism of his handling of the coronavirus crisis. The president has made several efforts in recent days to bolster his most fervent supporters, led by his new moves to restrict immigration. Niall Stanage reports.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), whose response to the coronavirus has been widely popular in her home state, says she’ll do whatever she can to help Biden win the White House, whether she’s his running mate or not. Julia Manchester reports.



Madison Gesiotto: What will Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic MORE voters decide in the election this year?

David Schultz: How the coronavirus could impact the election this year



Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most prominent backers of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said that she will vote for Biden in November, The Hill’s Aris Folley reports.



Reuters/Ipsos: Biden leads in three critical battleground states.

Biden: 54 percent
Trump: 38 percent

FOX NEWS – Pennsylvania
Biden: 50 percent
Trump: 42 percent


FOX NEWS – Michigan
Biden: 49 percent
Trump: 41 percent



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

April 28:

May 2:
Kansas Democratic primary

May 12:
Nebraska primaries


May 19:
Oregon primaries

May 22:
Hawaii Democratic primary

June 2:
Delaware primaries
District of Columbia primaries
Indiana primaries
Maryland primaries
Montana primaries
New Mexico primaries
Pennsylvania primaries
Rhode Island primaries
South Dakota primaries

June 9:
Georgia primaries
West Virginia primaries

June 23:
Kentucky primaries
New York primaries

July 7:
New Jersey primaries

July 11:

July 14:
Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff

August 11:
Connecticut primary

August 17-20:
Democratic National Convention

August 24-27:
Republican National Convention


Two hopeful things

Sports fans have had a tough month with the cancellation of live sporting events and being forced to watch games past on televisions.

But never fear, the NFL’s virtual draft airs tonight!

ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2020 draft starting tonight through Saturday.

The draft orders for the first round can be found here.

The draft was originally slated to be held in Las Vegas, but due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will instead announce the names of the first 2020 round picks from his home in New York.

And for music fans: The Rolling Stones released a new single today titled “Living in a Ghost Town.” According to the group’s lead singer Mick Jagger, the Stones recorded the music before the pandemic as part of a whole upcoming album.

“The Stones were in the studio recording new material before the lockdown & one song — Living In A Ghost Town — we thought would resonate through the times we’re living in,” Jagger said in a tweet on Thursday.



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 of the day.