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The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden campaigns rein in spending during pandemic

The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden campaigns rein in spending during pandemic
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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.

LEADING THE DAY:

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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE are pinching pennies amid the coronavirus pandemic — well, sort of.

The most recent batch of Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings released late Wednesday show that Biden’s campaign spending plummeted from nearly $32.5 million in March to less than $13 million in April. Trump’s campaign also spent less than it did in March; he dropped about $7.7 million last month. For context, Biden and Trump’s combined April spending was about $14 million less than what Trump and Clinton spent in the same month in 2016.

There are a couple reasons for the spending reductions. The coronavirus pandemic forced presidential politicking to move almost entirely online in mid-March, meaning that the candidates haven’t incurred the kind of expenses that come with more traditional campaigning, which often entails frequent travel and expensive venues for rallies and other events. But at a time when economic uncertainty has at least somewhat disrupted the flow of donations to the campaigns, Biden and Trump also appear to be holding tight to their money in an effort to build up their war chests ahead of the expectedly expensive fall campaign season.

While the candidates themselves appear to be scaling back spending, some super PACs are hitting the gas. Pacronym, a liberal super PAC affiliated with the political nonprofit Acronym, spent more than $2.3 million in April, it’s highest outlay of the year so far and its largest month-over-month increase of 2020 to date. Likewise, Priorities USA Action, the largest Democratic super PAC, saw its spending tick up to nearly $5 million last month, making April its biggest month for spending so far this year. And America First Action, a super PAC backing Trump, dropped more than $8 million in April. By comparison, the group spent less than $2.2 million across the first three months of the year, according to its federal filings.

The reduced spending also gives Biden and Trump a chance to put more money into the bank before the presidential race starts to heat up later this summer and in the fall. Biden reported having $57.1 million on hand at the end of April, more than twice as much as he had at the end of March. Trump saw a more modest increase in his cash on hand, though he still holds a massive financial advantage over Biden; he reported having roughly $107.7 million in the bank at the end of April, according to his campaign’s most recent federal filings.

--Max Greenwood

 

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READ MORE:

Trump, Biden conserve cash ahead of fall battle, by Max.

Biden asks Klobuchar to undergo vetting as potential running mate, by Max.

Demings says she's on Biden's VP short list, by Jonathan Easley.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

John McCormack: How Republicans won back a California House seat.

Ezra Klein: Why are liberals more afraid of coronavirus than Republicans?

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Biden is taking a page from Trump by conducting a public tryout with some of the top potential running mates on his list of vice presidential candidates. One Democrat has even dubbed the process “The Biden Reality Show.” The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports.

Trump says China wants Biden to win in November so Beijing can "continue to rip-off the United States, as they have done for decades." John Bowden reports.

 

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

Republicans are pulling their support from a California House candidate after a report revealed a litany of social media posts on his personal account in recent years, including posts that accused prominent Democrats of murder and demeaned Muslims. Tal Axelrod reports.

Puerto Rico's Democratic Party scheduled the territory's presidential primary for July 12, while noting it would have preferred to "adopt an alternate method" for selecting delegates given concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Rafael Bernal reports.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams unveiled a slate of Senate endorsements Thursday as she uses her burgeoning national profile to boost candidates in competitive contests outside of her home state. Tal reports.

 

MONEY WATCH:

New York Stock Exchange CEO Jeff Sprecher, who is married to Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerTeam Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Loeffler to continue to self-isolate after conflicting COVID-19 test results Top aide: Biden expected to visit Georgia in push to boost Ossoff, Warnock MORE (R-Ga.), donated $1 million last month to America First Action, the largest outside group supporting Trump’s reelection. Jonathan Easley reports

 

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POLL WATCH:

PUBLIC POLICY POLLING – KENTUCKY PRESIDENTIAL

Trump: 55 percent

Biden: 39 percent

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

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May 22:

Hawaii Democratic primary

 

June 2:

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:

Delaware primaries

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

The world’s top health experts are taking over your favorite celebrities’ Instagrams as part of an effort from a global organization campaigning to end poverty and preventable disease.

The effort, dubbed “Pass the Mic” by the One Campaign, kicked off on Thursday, with Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci urges Americans to conduct 'risk-benefit assessment' before holiday travel Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Fauci: 'We're in a very difficult situation at all levels' but 'help is on the way' MORE taking over actress Julia Roberts’s Instagram account.

“Oh, this is such a thrill,” Roberts during a sit down with Fauci. "This is a thrill for me because there are very few experts of anything in the world and you truly have emerged as a personal hero for me. Just to have this little corner of your time for us is such a joy."

Fauci took the time to explain why social distancing has worked, and that now is not the time become to lax about it.

"We have a moral responsibility for people in the developing world," Facui told Roberts. "They should not suffer more just because of where they happened to have been born or where they happen to live. The world, including the developing world, is going to get by this when we get good therapies and a good vaccine."

Other participating celebrities apart of “Pass the Mic” include Shailene Woodley, Yemi Alade, Connie Britton, Millie Bobby Brown, Danai Gurira, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rita Wilson and Robin Wright.