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The Hill's Campaign Report: Senate map shows signs of expanding

The Hill's Campaign Report: Senate map shows signs of expanding
© 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. 

LEADING THE DAY: 

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Democrats’ path to the Senate majority has so far centered on four states: Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina. But there are signs that other seats that Republicans once considered safe may be coming into play.

A survey from the left-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) released on Monday showed Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing MORE’s (R-Iowa) lead over her main Democratic opponent Theresa Greenfield evaporating in Iowa. A Montana State University poll out Tuesday found Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone Biden recommits US to Paris climate accord MORE (R-Mont.) trailing Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBiden's identity politics do a disservice to his nominees Senate Democrat: Party's message to rural voters is 'really flawed' Ducey to lead Republican governors MORE (D) in the state’s Senate race. And two election handicappers — Sabato’s Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report — moved the South Carolina race between Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February MORE (R) and likely Democratic nominee Jaime HarrisonJaime HarrisonDemocrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair Democrats see Georgia as model for success across South Graham reports 'record-breaking' 9M haul during 2020 campaign MORE to “Likely Republican” from “Solid Republican” last week, reflecting the increasingly competitive nature of the contest.

“Graham's political skills should not be underestimated, and he’s clearly taking this race quite seriously, as he should. However, we also can't overlook the considerable resume that Harrison also brings to the race, and even South Carolina Republicans admit he is a strong candidate,” the Cook Political Report's Jessica Taylor wrote in an analysis explaining the move.

Democrats are scrambling to grow their pickup opportunities ahead of November, aware that a failure to unseat any of their four core targets in Arizona, Colorado, Maine or North Carolina would drastically complicate their path to the Senate majority. The party needs to net either three or four seats, depending on which party wins the White House in November, to gain control of the chamber. And one of the party’s senators, Doug Jones (D-Ala.), is in serious political trouble this cycle. (He narrowly won a 2017 special election against a highly controversial Republican opponent and election handicappers currently rate the Alabama Senate race as “Lean Republican.") 

Picking up seats in Iowa, Montana or South Carolina is likely to be an uphill battle for Democrats, especially in a year in which Republican incumbents are hoping to get a boost from President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE’s presence on the ballot. But the latest round of polling and election ratings is likely to provide fuel for Democrats who say that those states are still in play. 

READ MORE:

Graham’s embrace of Trump fuels competitive fight in South Carolina, by The Hill’s Jordain Carney

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Poll: Bullock leads Daines in Montana Senate race, by Max Greenwood

Poll: Ernst lead evaporates in Iowa Senate race, by Max



FROM THE TRAIL:

President Trump is off to Arizona tonight to highlight his efforts to combat the coronavirus. Arizona is a top presidential battleground, and it also has a competitive Senate race this cycle. John Bowden reports that the Biden campaign slammed Trump’s coronavirus response in the state ahead of the visit, which is Trump’s first cross-country travel since the outbreak.

A new poll showed 61 percent of Democrats believe former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE’s (D) denial of a sexual misconduct allegation by former Senate staffer Tara Reade. But 26 percent say that the Democratic Party should move to replace Biden after watching the video of his remarks, while 61 percent — the same percentage who found his denial at least somewhat credible — say Biden should remain the nominee, John Bowden reports.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE (D-Mass.) says she found Biden’s denial of sexual assault allegations by a former Senate aide “credible” and “convincing." But The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports that some Democrats are calling for a fuller investigation.

The Biden campaign launched a new digital initiative on Tuesday, titled “Sincerely, Joe Biden.” The digital series, which was first reported by CNN, will feature supporters’ letters to the presidential candidate, as well as his responses. Julia Manchester has more.

PERSPECTIVES:

Biden shows the need for a federal records act: Greta Van Susteren

Will the economic recession cost Trump the election?: Helmut Norpoth

What Biden needs to do to beat Trump: David Axelrod & David Plouffe

Viewing the election through a pandemic prism: Carl Cannon

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

Former President Obama endorsed California State Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D) Tuesday in a special election to fill former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillObamas to attend Biden inauguration Trump pardons George Papadopoulos in latest batch of pardons Former Rep. Katie Hill files lawsuit against ex-husband, Daily Mail over nude photos MORE’s (D) seat, Rebecca Klar reports.

The progressive group Democracy for America is endorsing Texas state Sen. Royce West (D) in the Senate Democratic primary runoff against Mary Jennings Hegar (D), who is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Jonathan Easley reports.

POLL WATCH:

MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY – MONTANA PRESIDENTIAL

Trump: 45 percent

Biden: 40 percent

MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY – MONTANA SENATE

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Bullock: 46 percent

Daines: 39 percent



MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

May 12:

Nebraska primaries

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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

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

July 11:

Louisiana

July 14:

Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff

August 11:

Connecticut primary

August 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

August 24-27:

Republican National Convention

One hopeful thing 

Singer Beyoncé Knowles foundation, BeyGOOD, is teaming up with her mother, Tina Lawson Knowles, to support mobile coronavirus testing in their hometown of Houston, Texas. 

Lawson Knowles’s #IDIDMYPART Mobile Testing Campaign is scheduled for Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9. The initiative is aimed at encouraging more people in the Houston community to get tested for the virus. 

"The virus is wreaking havoc on the Black community so we need a movement to prioritize our health," Knowles Lawson said in a statement. "We are all in this together. But we have to look at what is happening in our Black and Brown communities and how they are being decimated by COVID-19.”

"It is critical that we stay vigilant with social distancing, wearing a mask, and most of all getting tested. If you don't get tested then you don't know if you are a carrier of the virus. Being asymptomatic is how you infect your entire household and those around you, the very people you love. We have got to go to these free testing facilities and find out our status,” she continued. 

We’ll see you tomorrow for the latest campaign news and updates.