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The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's Tampa rally hits digital snags

The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's Tampa rally hits digital snags
© 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: 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE’s virtual rally Thursday night did not go off without a number of glitches, showcasing some of the difficulties of the new reality of campaigning. 

The Biden campaign worked to bring some semblance of normalcy to supporters and viewers by featuring a DJ to play pump-up music toward the beginning of an event, as well as a high school senior from Tampa’s own Jesuit high school. 

However, things went south during addresses from Florida Democratic Reps. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristFlorida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Anna Paulina Luna wins Florida GOP primary in bid to unseat Charlie Crist The feds should not spend taxpayer dollars in states that have legalized weed MORE and Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorProgress toward managing rising seas US to exit Paris accord whether Trump or Biden wins Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks MORE, as well as State Sen. Janet Cruz (D). The feed appeared pixelated, and at one point during the rally, the feed went to black with no audio coming through. 

The Tampa Bay Times’s Kirby Wilson described the speakers’ feeds as “visibly delayed as if they were transmitting from Afghanistan, not Tampa Bay.” 

As for Biden’s appearance, he also had to work through the technical difficulties. He did not appear sure he was on camera when the feed came to him. 

“Just me?” Biden asked, wearing his signature aviators. “Now?” 

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He then took off the sunglasses and proceeded to speak for a little less than 10 minutes about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Florida, and criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE’s response to the crisis. 

Biden’s virtual swing through the Sunshine State was supposed to mark his first official stop on the digital campaign trail, targeting specific states and cities. Headlines coming out of the rally pointed out its glitches, adding to the growing conversation of how to run a completely digital campaign in the age of coronavirus. 

However, Biden’s events in Florida on Thursday were not all riddled with technical glitches. The former vice president started the swing with a virtual roundtable with African-American lawmakers in Jacksonville, Fla., touching upon important issues of the day, including the fallout over the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February. 

Additionally, Biden took part in a number of local television news interviews on Spectrum News in Tampa Bay, as well as ABC’s Orlando affiliate, WFTV. 

Florida will be a crucial state to watch in November, with its 29 electoral votes up for grabs. Biden is leading in a number of statewide polls in the state, with the Real Clear Politics Polling Average showing Biden leading by 3.2 points. 

--Julia Manchester 

 

READ MORE:

Biden faces hard lift in winning over hard left, by Jonathan Easley.

Hispanic caucus endorses Washington Latina House candidate, by Rafael Bernal.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Biden took direct aim at President Trump on Friday, accusing him in a livestream address of deepening the economic turmoil that emerged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Jonathan reports. “It’s an economic disaster, worse than any we’ve seen in decades, and it’s all made worse because it didn’t have to be this way,” Biden said.

Biden said on Thursday that Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsDemings on Florida: 'We're excited about what we're seeing' but 'taking absolutely nothing for granted' Why it's time for a majority female Cabinet Sunday shows preview: The final push to Election Day MORE (D-Fla.) is on his list of potential running mates, Julia reports. “She is one of a group of close to a dozen really qualified and talented women who are, are on the list," Biden told WFTV in Orlando. "We are just beginning the process." 

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Josh Barro: Here’s where the jobs crisis is hitting hardest.

Sarah Nesbitt & Sage Carson: Democrats must call for an investigation into Reade allegations.

 

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

Citizen-led ballot initiatives are struggling to stay alive amid the coronavirus pandemic as stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures have thrown cold water on signature-gathering efforts at a critical time in their campaigns, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports. Some initiatives are throwing in the towel for 2020, resigned to the fact that it will be nearly impossible to collect the constituent signatures they need to get on the ballot. But other groups are taking their fights to court, asking judges to allow them more time to gather signatures.

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MONEY WATCH:

Unite the Country, the super PAC backing Biden’s presidential bid, is launching a $10 million effort to boost the former vice president ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August, Max reports.

 

POLL WATCH:

HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES – PRESIDENTIAL IN SENATE BATTLEGROUNDS

Biden: 50 percent

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Trump: 41 percent

EMERSON COLLEGE – MASSACHUSETTS SENATE PRIMARY

Kennedy: 58 percent

Markey: 42 percent

UMASS LOWELL – MASSACHUSETTS SENATE PRIMARY

Kennedy: 44 percent

Markey: 42 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

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

 

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 

Yesterday we told you about how Nike was donating a shoe designed for medical first responders, and today we’re telling you about another company looking to make a difference for our health care heroes. 

Japanese casual attire company UNIQLO announced on Friday that it was donating 20,000 units of AIRism innerwear to the Montefiore Health System and NYC Health + Hospitals. 

AIRism innerwear are designed to be comfortable enough for doctors, nurses and other first responders throughout their long shifts. 

Additionally, UNIQLO’s parent company, Fast Retailing, donated 10 million masks to high-priority medical facilities around the globe in March. 

We’ll see you on Monday for the latest campaign news and updates!