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The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats slam Trump for threatening to hold Michigan funds

The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats slam Trump for threatening to hold Michigan funds
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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: 

Democrats and voting rights advocates are up in arms over President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE’s suggestion that he may seek to withhold federal funds from Michigan after its top elections official announced that the state would send absentee ballot applications to all of its registered voters.

In a Wednesday morning tweet, the president falsely claimed that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, had ordered the state to send ballots, and not ballot applications, to the state's registered voters and alleged that the step was done “illegally." The president threatened to withhold funding if the state did not reverse itself.

“This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted. “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

He later threatened to suspend federal funding to Nevada, which is holding its upcoming primary elections entirely by mail. In both cases, Trump said that state officials were creating the potential for widespread voter fraud. 

Michigan doesn’t have any plans to send absentee ballots directly to all of its registered voters — a point that Benson made in a response to Trump’s tweets. Rather, the state will send out applications that voters must return in order to receive an absentee ballot. A handful of Republican-led states are taking similar measures, including Iowa, West Virginia and Georgia. 

Any effort by the president to withhold federal funding from states would almost certainly face a series of legal hurdles.

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But Trump’s suggestion brought outrage from watchdog groups, voting rights advocates and Democrats, who accused the president of not only firing off a false claim on Twitter, but of actively interfering in states’ election administration duties. 

“Hey @Twitter, are you going to take down this blatant lie intended to misinform voters about election practices?” Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, tweeted. "Michigan is mailing absentee ballot APPLICATIONS, not ballots, to all registered voters. GOP election officials in Iowa, Georgia, WV are doing the same thing.”

“Just wanted to thank Senate Republicans for pre-approving all of the authoritarianism,” Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzACLU sues DHS for records on purchased cell phone data to track immigrants DHS watchdog to probe agency's tracking of Americans' phone data without a warrant Tech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing MORE (D-Hawaii) tweeted

Trump eventually deleted his initial tweet before posting a corrected tweet, noting that Michigan has sent out absentee ballot applications. 

— Max Greenwood

 

READ MORE:

Trump threatens to withhold Michigan, Nevada funding over mail-in voting, by Morgan Chalfant.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Steve Israel: Why I have to break up with Florida

Albert Hunt: Never Trump Republicans: Fringe, or force to be reckoned with?

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Trump and Republicans are running into trouble in Arizona, where polls show them trailing in both the presidential race and in a key Senate battle that could help determine the balance of power in the upper chamber. Jonathan Easley reports on the dynamics in Arizona, which is suddenly up for grabs in 2020 after decades of being a reliably red state in presidential elections.


FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

Democrats on Capitol Hill are divided on which woman Biden should choose to be his running mate. The division on the Hill is especially noticeable given it is home to the most diverse House Democratic Caucus in history. The Hill’s Scott Wong reports.

 

MONEY WATCH: 

The Republican National Committee (RNC) brought in more than $27 million in the month of April, showing the GOP’s fundraising resilience amid the coronavirus pandemic. The haul almost ties the RNC’s best monthly total in January, when they raised nearly $27.2 million. The RNC is set to report $77 million in cash on hand to the Federal Election Commission this week, when monthly financial reports are due. Max Greenwood reports.

Pro-Trump groups, America First Policies and its affiliated super PAC America First Action, raked in a combined $16.8 million in April last month. The haul, along with major fundraising hauls from the RNC, showcase the strength of the fundraising efforts backing the president in November. The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports.

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ActBlue announced on Wednesday that Democrats brought in $141 million in the month of April through the platform. The group wrote in a blog post that their latest haul was fueled by roughly 4.5 million contributions from more than 1.8 million donors, with the average donation coming in at $31.65. The news illustrates how candidates have leaned more on digital fundraising amid the pandemic. The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports.

Senate Majority PAC, the super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Trump supporters could hand Senate control to Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.), raised $10.9 million in April and has $61.8 million in cash on hand, the group said on Wednesday.

 

POLL WATCH:

QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY — NATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL

Biden: 50 percent

Trump: 39 percent

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LATINO DECISIONS  NATIONAL HISPANIC SUPPORT

Biden: 62 percent

Trump: 21 percent

 

MORNING CONSULT  NATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL

Biden: 46 percent
Trump: 41 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

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

 

Aug. 11:

Connecticut primary

 

Aug. 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

 

Aug. 24-27:

Republican National Convention



ONE HOPEFUL THING

Over the past few weeks, we’ve updated you on the progress of 100-year-old British WWII veteran Captain Tom Moore’s fundraiser for the country’s National Health Service after he walked countless laps around his garden. 

Well, today we can report that Queen Elizabeth II has officially approved a nomination from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for Captain Tom to be knighted. 

Captain Tom’s new official title is now Captain Sir Thomas Moore. 

The newly knighted captain has raised 32 million pounds for NHS Charities Together. For us Americans, that’s $40 million. 

Moore took to Twitter to express his appreciation for the honor. 

“A message from Tom; 'I am absolutely overwhelmed. Never for one moment could I have imagined I would be awarded with such a great honour. I’d like to thank Her Majesty The Queen, the Prime Minister and the Great British public. I will remain at your service,” Moore wrote. 

“This started as something small and I’ve been overwhelmed by the gratitude and love from the British public and beyond,” he continued. “We must take this opportunity to recognise our frontline heroes of the National Health Service who put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe.”

 

We’ll be back tomorrow with the latest campaign news and updates!