The Hill’s Campaign Report: The political heavyweights in Tuesday’s primary fights
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:
Two political giants are headed for a tougher-than-expected primary night.
In Colorado, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is facing off against former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic nominating contest to take on Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in November. Hickenlooper was persuaded to enter the Senate race after ending his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and immediately became the candidate to beat.
But a series of gaffes and an ethics controversy put him in the crosshairs of Romanoff and Republicans, who have attacked him relentlessly as a flawed and ethically compromised choice for the Senate seat. He’s still favored to win, and recent polling shows him with a commanding double-digit lead over Romanoff. Still, an upset in the primary fight would send shock waves through the political world by dealing a crushing defeat to a candidate whom Democratic leaders have touted as one of their top Senate recruits.
In Utah, another former governor, Jon Huntsman, is looking to fend off a challenge from Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary. Huntsman is a political heavyweight in Utah, where he served as governor from 2005 until 2009, when he left to serve as ambassador to China under the Obama administration. Most recently, he served as President Trump’s ambassador to Russia.
Despite his long résumé of public service and near-universal name ID in Utah, Huntsman is running neck and neck with Cox, with one recent poll showing the two candidates statistically tied. Cox has also been endorsed by Utah’s current Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and is in the unique position of heading up the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, giving him crucial leadership credentials in a crisis situation.
The Colorado Senate primary and Utah gubernatorial primary aren’t the only contests in the spotlight on Tuesday. A crowded field of Republicans are vying for the chance to take on Rep. Kendra Horn (D) in Oklahoma’s 5th District, though that primary appears likely to go to a runoff scheduled for August. There’s also a Republican primary in Utah’s 4th District to choose a general election challenger for Rep. Ben McAdams (D), who only narrowly edged out former Rep. Mia Love (R) in 2018 and is likely to face a competitive reelection.
Check back with The Hill tonight for more primary coverage as it unfolds.
Max Greenwood: Hickenlooper seeks to shake ethics woes in Tuesday primary
FROM THE TRAIL:
Joe Biden slammed President Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday as a number of southern states see cases skyrocket. “We need real plans, real guidelines with uniform nationwide standards to help us chart our economic reopening,” the former vice president told reporters during an address in Wilmington, Del. Julia Manchester reports.
Democrats are pushing the Biden campaign to expand their map ahead of November in an effort to give the former vice president more paths to victory. This comes as a number of polls show Biden leading in states, like Texas and Georgia, where Republicans have historically had an advantage. The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports.
The Republican National Committee said that its convention in August will fully comply with health regulations in Jacksonville, Fla. A spokesperson said organizers are planning to take health precautions including conducting temperature checks, making available personal protective equipment, “aggressive” sanitizing protocols and available COVID-19 testing. The Hill’s Rebecca Klar reports.
CONGRESS AND THE STATES
Former Marine combat pilot Amy McGrath fended off a challenge from progressive state Rep. Charles Booker in the Democratic Senate primary in Kentucky, overcoming an unexpectedly tough nominating contest to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in November. The results came a full week after primary day in Kentucky, with a high volume of absentee ballots holding up the counting process. The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports.
Marine veteran and former police officer Josh Hicks won the Democratic primary in Kentucky’s 6th District on Tuesday, setting him up to face off against Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) in November. The Hill’s Abigail Mihaly reports.
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South Carolina’s Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison released a new ad on Tuesday hitting back at his opponent, incumbent South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R). The ad, a six-figure TV and digital spot set to debut Tuesday in all four South Carolina media markets, is the first negative ad of Harris’s general election bid. Max Greenwood reports.
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
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