The Hill’s Campaign Report: New York congressional candidates set to make LGBTQ history
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:
New York congressional candidates Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres are on the brink of becoming the first openly LGBTQ Black and Afro-Latino members of Congress.
The strong possibility of Jones and Torres serving in the House of Representatives has galvanized the LGBTQ community during Pride Month, as well as Americans of color, as nationwide protests over racial injustice continue to take place.
“The affirmation from nearly 50 percent of Democrats in my district is, I think, really powerful,” Jones, who is running to replace retiring Rep. Nita Lowey (D) in the 17th District, told The Hill.
“I spent a lot of my life questioning whether I could live as an openly gay person, and so now to be one of the most openly gay, Black people in media right now, it’s quite a change of pace.”
Torres, who would replace outgoing Rep. José Serrano (D) in the 15th District, noted the significance of having two black men serving in New York’s congressional delegation 50 years after Stonewall.
New York holds special significance for LGBTQ Americans as the home of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar that police raided in 1969, leading to days of riots and eventually the modern gay rights movement in the U.S.
“It is shocking that New York City, which is the birthplace of Stonewall, has no LGBTQ representation in the congressional delegation,” Torres said.
However, thousands of votes are still being counted in the two districts. As of Election Night, Jones held 43 percent of the vote in the state’s 17th District, while his closest opponent in the seven-person contest, Adam Schleifer, had 20 percent. In the 15th District, Torres held 30 percent of the vote, while his closest opponent in the 12-person race, Michael Blake, stood at 19 percent.
Jones will likely face Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman in the general election if they both win their primaries, while Torres would face Orlando Molina (R). Both districts lean overwhelmingly Democratic.
LGBTQ organizations are hopeful that potential wins from Torres and Jones would galvanize their voters ahead of the general election in November.
“It is illustrative of what we’ve done in other races, and what we’re going to do moving into November,” Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said. “LGBTQ voters, pro-equality voters, all over the country are energized and mobilized to vote in this election.”
Both Torres and Jones say they will campaign for Vice President Joe Biden ahead of November, calling President Trump an “existential threat.”
“I’m going to be out there doing whatever I can to get him elected,” Jones said. “I think what he needs to do is unite the left flank of the party behind him because we cannot afford to have disaffected not going out to support him.”
NY Democrats set to make LGBTQ House history, by Julia
Hickenlooper leads Colorado primary rival Romanoff by 30 points: poll, by The Hill’s Tal Axelrod
Pence defends Trump campaign events, citing freedom of speech and assembly, by The Hill’s Brett Samuels
Trump’s job disapproval reaches all-time high in new poll, by Max Greenwood
Biden opens 13-point lead over Trump in Kaiser Family Foundation poll, by Max
FROM THE TRAIL:
With the president’s poll numbers continuing to spiral downward, Trump’s world is reaching a boiling point. His allies are urging him to change his tone as he struggles to head off criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and recent protests over racial injustice; key figures in the campaign are pointing fingers over who’s to blame for the president’s declining support; and some are questioning whether Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale is in over his head.
“He needs to show empathy, which he hasn’t, and project strength by doing what Reagan, Thatcher and Churchill did with strong speeches. Not macho bullshit, but thoughtful solutions to serious problems,” Ed Rollins, the chairman of the Great America PAC, said. “This is about the future, not what the Democrats did in the past.” Jonathan Easley and Brett report.
Biden said on Thursday that, if he’s elected president, he would make face masks mandatory to combat the spread of the coronavirus. “The one thing we do know, these masks make a gigantic difference,” he said during an appearance on a Pittsburgh television station. “I would insist that everybody in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen, it would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks.” The Hill’s Marty Johnson reports.
Democrats are warning their voters against growing complacent as numerous state and national level polls show Biden leading Trump. Biden has a larger lead than former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did in 2016 at this point in the campaign. However, Democrats are still on guard about the prospect of a Trump comeback. The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports.
CONGRESS AND THE STATES:
The Brady PAC, which advocates for gun control reforms, is raising money for Charles Booker’s Senate campaign in Kentucky. Booker, a progressive, is locked in a tight race against former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, who has support from Washington Democrats.
The Brady PAC’s fundraiser will go toward the Booker campaign’s voter protection efforts, allowing them to bring on field staff and lawyers to monitor ballot counting. Final results should be in on June 30.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) will once again lose its quorum after longtime Commissioner Caroline Hunter announced that she would resign from the campaign watchdog agency.
Hunter, a Republican who was appointed to the FEC in 2008, said in her resignation letter that the commission would “benefit greatly from new faces and fresh perspectives.” Hunter’s resignation comes just a month after the FEC regained its quorum following the Senate confirmation of Republican commissioner Trey Trainor. Without Hunter, however, the FEC will only have three commissioners, leaving it one vote short of a quorum. Hunter’s resignation was first reported by Politico’s Daniel Lippman.
Damon Linker: Can Trump run against himself?
Cynthia Richie Terrell: We’re still not giving women equal opportunity to run and win.
Jared McDonald, Melissa Deckman, Mileah Kromer and Anne Moses: A Gen Z awakening.
Biden: 52% (+2)
Trump: 44% (+1)
Biden: 51% (+8)
Trump: 38% (-3)
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
New Jersey primaries
Alabama primary runoffs
Texas primary runoffs
Georgia primary runoffs
Democratic National Convention
Republican National Convention
New Hampshire primaries
Rhode Island primaries
First presidential debate
Vice presidential debate
Second presidential debate
Third presidential debate
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.