The Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday

The Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday
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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: PRIMARY EVE IN TEXAS AND ALABAMA

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Runoff elections in Texas and Alabama on Tuesday are slated to resolve two races that have been left unsettled for months.

In Alabama, the Republican Senate runoff is on between former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE and former Auburn University coach Tommy Tuberville. While Sessions has not lost a race in his entire life, he is facing the biggest battle of his political life for his former Senate seat against Tuberville.

A poll from Montgomery’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Auburn University showed 47 percent of Republican voters in the state said they would vote for Tuberville, while 31 percent said they would back Sessions.

Additionally, Tuberville has the support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE, who has been relentless in his attacks against Sessions. Trump’s support will likely bode well for Tuberville due to Trump’s high approval rating in the deep red state.

Trump has his highest state approval rating in Alabama, where 89 percent of potential GOP primary voters said they approved of the president, according to a Morning Consult tracking poll.

The president hit Sessions in a tweet on Saturday, praising Tuberville and calling Sessions a “disaster who has let us all down.” Sessions hit back in a tweet, telling Trump that Alabama voters do not take direction from Washington.

The runoff comes after the state’s Republican primary in March resulted in Sessions and Tuberville receiving 31.6 and 33.4 percent of the vote, respectively. 

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Meanwhile, an increasingly bitter primary runoff between Democrats M.J. Hegar and Royce West has complicated the party’s path to unseating Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSkepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal Republicans uncomfortably playing defense Negotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts MORE (R-Texas) in November. Hegar, who has the backing of Senate Democratic leaders, was the favorite to win the initial primary in March. But a crowded field of contenders left her short of the 50 percent threshold needed to clinch the nomination outright, setting her up for a head-to-head matchup against West, a longtime state senator from Dallas.

The race has grown contentious in the final stretch. West has raised questions about Hegar’s party credentials and criticized her for voting in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot, has said that she cast her ballot for Carly Fiorina in the primary as a protest vote against Trump. And while Hegar sought for months to avoid attacking West, tensions burst into the open late last month when she suggested at a Democratic debate that the state lawmaker had used his office to enrich himself.

Democrats say their voters will quickly coalesce around whichever candidate wins the runoff on Tuesday. But privately, some complained that the runoff dragged on for far too long and prevented Democrats from spending resources against Cornyn for much of the summer.

Still, Democrats say that Texas is poised to come into play this year, pointing to former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) near miss in his 2018 bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Ted Cruz bashes Oprah for 'lecture' on race: 'What utter, racist BS' Senate Democrats prepare seven-figure spending spree in Texas MORE (D-Texas) and the state’s rapidly changing demographics. But Cornyn is a well-funded incumbent and is likely to prove a formidable incumbent to defeat in November.

-- Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester


FROM THE TRAIL:

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Trump outraises Biden in July, surpasses billion for the cycle Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE’s campaign slammed President Trump’s criticism of the nation’s top infectious disease doctor Antony Fauci on Monday.

"Over 135,000 Americans have lost their lives and tens of millions have lost their jobs because Donald Trump spent the last six months disastrously mismanaging the worst public health crisis in a century, the whole time failing to heed the warnings and guidance of medical experts -- particularly Dr. Fauci," said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates in a statement to reporters.

"Infections in the United States have skyrocketed, surpassing every other country in the world by far, specifically because of Trump's refusal to listen to science,” he added. 

“The president's disgusting attempt to pass the buck by blaming the top infectious disease expert in the country -- whose advice he repeatedly ignored and Joe Biden consistently implored him to take -- is yet another horrible and revealing failure of leadership as the tragic death toll continues to needlessly grow," Bates also said.

Meanwhile, Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneNew HBO documentary lets Gaetz, Massie, Buck offer their take on how to 'drain the swamp' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 Democrats blister Barr during tense hearing MORE told Axios that he plans to campaign for Trump, saying he will do anything necessary to reelect the president “short of breaking the law.” The remark comes days after the president commuted Stone’s prison sentence. The Hill’s Rebecca Klar has more.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are expanding their ground operations ahead of the fall campaign season, hiring an additional 300 staffers and bringing its total total of paid field staffers to around 1,500. The Hill’s John Bowden reports.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) issued a framework for a predominantly virtual national convention, outlining how delegates will work and vote remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. The convention is slated to take place next month in Milwaukee, but most of it will be held virtually. The Hill’s Kaelan Deese reports.

FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES: 

The Texas Supreme Court on Monday knocked down an effort by the state’s Republican Party to force an in-person convention in Houston after city officials called the event off due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rebecca has the story.

MONEY WATCH:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pumping $400,000 into an ad campaign to boost Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Virus bill unlikely to pass this week Tracey Mann wins GOP primary to replace Rep. Roger Marshall MORE (R-Kansas) ahead of Kansas’s August Senate primary. Marshall is among a handful of Republicans vying to replace retiring Rep. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Virus bill unlikely to pass this week Establishment-backed Marshall defeats Kobach in Kansas GOP Senate primary MORE (R-Kansas).

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) raised nearly $3.5 million in the second quarter of the year, making it his best fundraising quarter on record, his campaign said. He will also report $14.5 million in cash on hand. 

POLL WATCH:

CBS NEWS/YOUGOV

FLORIDA PRESIDENTIAL

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Biden: 48%

Trump: 42%

ARIZONA PRESIDENTIAL

Biden: 46%

Trump: 46%

TEXAS PRESIDENTIAL

Trump: 46%

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Biden: 45%

DALLAS MORNING NEWS – TEXAS PRESIDENTIAL

Biden: 48%

Trump: 43%

PUBLIC POLICY POLLING – MONTANA PRESIDENTIAL

Trump: 51%

Biden:  42%

SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY/YOUGOV – MISSOURI PRESIDENTIAL

Trump: 50%

Biden: 43%

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Mark Jones: 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch

Brad Bannon: Biden lets Trump be Trump

Antjuan Seawright: Black voters: We need all of them

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:    

July 14:

Alabama primary runoffs

Texas primary runoffs

Maine primaries

 

Aug. 4:

Arizona primaries

Kansas primaries

Michigan primaries

Missouri primaries

Washington primaries

 

Aug. 11:

Connecticut primaries

Minnesota primaries

Vermont primaries

Wisconsin primaries

Georgia primary runoffs

 

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