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The Hill's Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to 'defund the police'

The Hill's Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to 'defund the police'
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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: 

The calls by some activists and Democrats to "defund" police departments are entering the 2020 campaign trail, with Republicans using the issue to go on the offense. 

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh tied former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE to the issue, accusing Biden of “endorsing” cuts to law enforcement. 

“As the protesters like to say, silence is agreement,” Murtaugh said. “By his silence Joe Biden is endorsing defunding the police.”

But Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said Biden did not believe in defunding the police, though he believes in reforms.

"He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain," Bates said in a statement Monday.

"Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing," he added.

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The issue is also impacting Senate and House races as well. Republican Iowa Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump faces test of power with early endorsements GOP looks to squeeze Biden, Democrats on border Blackburn introduces bill to require migrant DNA testing at border MORE called on her Democratic opponent Theresa Greenfield to “denounce defunding police” in a statement Monday. 

The term “defund the police” essentially calls to take funding away from police departments. The current push puts a specific emphasis on reallocating funds that would normally go to police departments to social programs. 

The push gained some traction in Minneapolis over the weekend where the city council voted to disband the local police department and replace it with what members have said will be a new model of public safety. The vote came after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during an arrest. 

Democratic views on the issue of defunding the police vary, with more progressives saying they support the cause. 

Republicans up and down the ballot are leaning on a law and order messaging, something the party has done in the past going back to former President Nixon’s administration. 

However, this time, the GOP appears to be using the issue to attempt to take advantage of the centrist-progressive divide among Democrats. 

--Julia Manchester 

 

 

READ MORE:

Biden campaign opposes calls to 'defund the police', by Julia Manchester.

Trump campaign accuses Biden of 'endorsing' cuts to law enforcement, by Max Greenwood.

Trump: There won't be any defunding of police, by Brett Samuels.

Trump to resume campaign rallies this month, by Morgan Chalfant.

Trump taps pollster to push back on surveys showing Biden with double-digit lead, by Max Greenwood.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Biden's campaign launched a get out the vote initiative geared toward LGBTQ voters Monday, which was announced as Pride Month is underway. Julia Manchester reports.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) is among the women under consideration to be Biden's running mate, according to Politico.

Trump’s threat to move this year's Republican National Convention out of Charlotte, N.C., in the midst of a global pandemic has those who organized previous conventions scratching their heads over just how the GOP would overcome the almost insurmountable logistical hurdles of throwing together one of the biggest events on the quadrennial calendar in just two months. Reid Wilson reports.

Trump’s campaign is spending money to defend Ohio, an unexpected development that underscores the president’s polling weakness amid the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest wracking the country. Jonathan Easley reports.

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PERSPECTIVES:

Brad Bannon: Trump's handling of two crises lowers his approval — and his reelection chances.

John Kenneth White: Is the glacier of political polarization finally cracking?

Jason Altmire: Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsTrump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida Democrats urge Biden to take executive action on assault-style firearms Vanita Gupta will fight for all as associate attorney general MORE is the perfect choice as Joe Biden’s running mate.

Jeet Heer: America is fracturing and so is The New York Times.

 

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CONGRESS & STATES:

States that moved to rapidly expand mail-in balloting amid the coronavirus pandemic are seeing some of their highest levels of voter turnout in years, even as Trump looks to clamp down on such efforts. In at least four of the eight states that held primaries Tuesday, turnout surpassed 2016 levels, with most of the votes being cast via mail, according to an analysis of election returns by The Hill. Each of those states took steps earlier this year to send absentee ballot applications to all of their registered voters. The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports.

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperOn The Trail: How marijuana went mainstream Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants MORE (D) has come under scrutiny after an ethics panel found he violated a state law barring officials from accepting gifts, opening him up to new attacks in his Senate bid to unseat Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.). Tal Axelrod reports.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents about 50,000 flight attendants at 19 airlines, is endorsing Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D) in the Democratic primary against former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath (D). The winner of the June 23 primary will go on to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' MORE (D) in November.

MONEY WATCH:

The liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century is launching a 10-week, $20 million ad campaign across Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in an effort to weaken Trump among seniors and rural voters, who make up a crucial part of his political coalition. 

 

POLL WATCH:

CNN – NATIONAL

Biden: 55% (+4)

Trump: 41% (-5)

 

NBC NEWS/WALL STREET JOURNAL – NATIONAL

Biden: 49% (+/-0)

Trump: 42% (+/-0)

 

EPIC-MRA – MICHIGAN PRESIDENTIAL

Biden: 53% (+3)

Trump: 41% (-3)

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

June 9:

Georgia primaries

Nevada primaries

North Dakota primaries

South Carolina primaries

West Virginia primaries

 

June 23:

Kentucky primaries

New York primaries

Virginia primaries

 

June 30:

Colorado primaries

Oklahoma primaries

Utah primaries

 

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

Delaware primaries

 

July 11:

Louisiana primaries

 

July 14:

Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff

Maine primaries

 

Aug. 4:

Arizona primaries

Kansas primaries

Michigan primaries

Missouri primaries

Washington primaries

 

Aug. 11:

Connecticut primaries

Minnesota primaries

Vermont primaries

Wisconsin primaries

 

Aug. 18:

Alaska primaries

Florida primaries

Wyoming primaries

 

Aug. 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

 

Aug. 24-27:

Republican National Convention

 

Sept. 1:

Massachusetts primaries

 

Sept. 8:

New Hampshire primaries

Rhode Island primaries

 

Sept. 15:

Delaware primaries

 

Sept. 29:

First presidential debate

 

Oct. 7:

Vice presidential debate

 

Oct. 15:

Second presidential debate

 

Oct. 22:

Third presidential debate