The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats seize on crises in battle for state legislatures

The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats seize on crises in battle for state legislatures
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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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Democrats are looking to seize upon the coronavirus pandemic and issues surrounding racial injustice as they seek to build another blue wave at the state legislature level in November. 

Candidates and strategists are optimistic that the party’s reaction to the pandemic and protests over racial injustice will make them a favorable option in November. 

“The campaign environment as dictated by the national party leaders is very determinative in terms of turnout,” said Kurt Fritts, a Democratic strategist specializing in state legislative races. “Folks are reacting to Trump, and not in a good way. So as a consequence, you’ve got very high Democratic turnout.” 

Democrats, who successfully campaigned on health care in 2018, are using the message two years later amid the pandemic, while advocating for police reform and addressing the social justice issues impacting minority voters.

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) president Jessica Post told The Hill that a number of the committee’s donors were “outraged” at the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has in turn driven fundraising, according to the DLCC. 

Democrats are also shifting their focus to the national conversation and protests over race in the U.S. 

Florida State House Rep. Shevrin Jones (D), who is running for state Senate in the 25th district, said candidates need to be prepared to present a game plan on how they will combat racial injustice in the U.S. 

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“If candidates are not willing to address the issue head on, and have the uncomfortable conversation, they might lose in this climate,” Jones told The Hill. 

The Hill spoke with Democratic state legislature candidates Kayser Enneking, who is running for Florida’s 21st state House district, and Brandy Chambers, who is running in Texas’ 21st state House district, about the work they’re doing to address these issues ahead of November, 

Enneking has participated in a number of protests demanding racial justice, while campaigning on health care equality. Chambers has focused her efforts on police accountability, bail reform, and imprisonment for non-violent offenses. 

Be sure to head to The Hill tomorrow for the full story. 

--Julia Manchester 

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Texas Republicans are on edge as polls show Trump and Biden running neck and neck in the Lone Star State with less than five months to go before Election Day. Jonathan Easley reports.

The chaotic primaries in Georgia last week are stirring concerns among Democrats that voter suppression could emerge as a major issue in November. The primaries were marked by malfunctioning voting machines, absentee ballot requests that were never fulfilled and long lines at polling places that kept some voters waiting in close quarters for hours. Some Democrats fear that Republicans could look to Georgia as a potential roadmap for how to complicate and suppress voting, especially in the minority communities that Democrats rely on for political support. The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Michael O’Hanlon: Biden needs to learn an urgent lesson from 2004.

David Siders: Outside of Washington, Republicans see Trump headed for a big victory.

 

CONGRESS & STATES:

Progressive candidates haven’t found the success at the federal level that they had hoped for in 2020. But in city and state governments across the country, the left flank of the Democratic Party has racked up a series of wins. These progressives aren’t a monolith; some identify as democratic socialists while others are content to simply call themselves progressives. But there’s one common thread: Almost all of them are younger than the incumbents that they’ve ousted, a sign that millennials are starting to reshape the Democratic Party. The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports.

An ethics controversy is rattling former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGOP campaign director: 'There's no doubt that Republicans will control the Senate' Susan Collins challenger open to nixing Senate filibuster Democrats struggle to harness enthusiasm of Gen Z voters MORE’s (D) closely watched Senate bid as he prepares to face off against a progressive primary opponent later this month. Max Greenwood reports.

GOP voters moved to oust first-term Rep. Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanFive things we learned from this year's primaries The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - First lady casts Trump as fighter for the 'forgotten' Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers introduce resolution condemning QAnon | US Cyber Command leader vows to 'defend forward' in protecting nation from cyberattacks MORE (R-Va.) on Saturday in a drive-thru district convention, handing the nomination to Bob Good, a former county supervisor and Liberty University official who ran to Riggleman’s right. Riggleman infuriated conservatives after officiating a same-sex wedding last year. Good’s nomination, however, could put Virginia’s Republican-leaning 5th District into play for Democrats, who are planning to contest the seat. The Hill’s Zack Budryk and Juliegrace Brufke report.

 

MONEY WATCH:

The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised nearly $81 million in May, marking their best monthly fundraising haul of the cycle. The haul signals that Democratic fundraising is rebounding after it took a hit in April. That month, the Biden campaign and the DNC raised a combined $60.5 million. Max reports.

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The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) saw their best single day of online fundraising on the president’s birthday on Sunday, raking in some $14 million. The previous daily record was set in October 2016 when the two entities brought in $10 million. Julia reports.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is launching a $1 million ad campaign urging the GOP-controlled Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which would pump additional funds into states struggling to meet their budgets amid the coronavirus shutdown. Lauren Vella reports.

A coalition of liberal groups, including Rock the Vote, Voto Latino Foundation, and March For Our Lives, will hold a star-studded event on Thursday aiming to register 200,000 new voters ahead of November. The event will feature performances and talks by Katy Perry, the Black Eyed Peas, as well as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon No new taxes for the ultra rich — fix bad tax policy instead MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDHS opens probe into allegations at Georgia ICE facility Democratic lawmakers call for an investigation into allegations of medical neglect at Georgia ICE facility Black Voters Matter Fund deploying voter outreach caravans in 12 states to drive turnout MORE (D-N.J.), among others. 

 

POLL WATCH:

A new survey from Gallup finds that Americans' pride in the U.S. has hit the lowest point ever recorded amid the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest over the police killing of George Floyd.

TALK BUSINESS & POLITICS/HENDRIX COLLEGE – ARKANSAS PRESIDENTIAL

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Trump: 47%

Biden: 45%

 

DES MOINES REGISTER/MEDIACOM – IOWA SENATE

Greenfield: 46%

Ernst: 43%

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

June 23:

Kentucky primaries

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

Delaware primary

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