The Hill’s Campaign Report: Physician candidates lean on medical experience amid coronavirus campaigning


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. 



Democratic physicians running for Congress are using their medical expertise to ramp up attacks against President Trump and Republicans over their response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The lines of attack come as positive coronavirus cases rise in various states including Florida, Texas and Arizona. 

“Quite honestly, I feel like there’s never been a moment where it’s been more critical for us to have physicians and scientists at the table,” said Hiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room doctor running to challenge Rep. David Schweikert (R) in Arizona’s 6th District. 

“What concerns me the most is that right now, there is not a comprehensive strategy or plan in place that clearly leads us out of this crisis,” she added. 

Tipirneni and a number of other Democratic physicians and scientists are being supported by 314 Action, a group dedicated to elected left-leaning scientists to office. 

“This pandemic has just exposed so much that’s wrong and why we need physicians in office to think about health care beyond just a campaign slogan,” the group’s founder and president, Shaughnessy Naughton, told The Hill. 

314 Action has already endorsed 20 doctors this cycle, including eight at the federal level and 12 at the state and local levels. Additionally, 314 Action has backed six other medical professionals, including one nurse at the federal level, as well as five nurses and one physician’s assistant at the state and local levels. 

“We are hearing from folks that are [thinking about running for office beyond 2020],” she said. “Physicians are thinking about running and organizing their communities because this pandemic has exposed so much that’s wrong.”

There are also Republican physicians running for office, but they’ve had to play defense due to criticism of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. 

“We’re all working on the same thing and that is to try to keep people as safe as possible, to limit their exposure and their risk, but to know that the virus is still here, it’s still around and we need to reopen the economy,” said ophthalmologist and Iowa state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R), who is running to replace Rep. Dave Loebsack (D) in the state’s 2nd District. 

However, the president’s disapproval rating on the pandemic has seemingly affected down ballot races, with Democrats lead Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, 49 percent to 40.7 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight average.

–Julia Manchester 

READ MORE: Doctors boost Democrats’ hopes to keep House


Former Vice President Joe Biden is preparing an advertising onslaught, announcing on Tuesday that he will spend more than $15 million in the next week alone. The spending announcement is the latest sign that the presidential ad war is beginning in earnest as Biden begins closing his once-massive cash gap with the Trump campaign. The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports.

Biden said that there are four Black women on his short list of potential running mates, though he did not commit to choosing one of them for the Democratic ticket. Biden has faced mounting pressure in recent months to choose a woman of color as his running mate. In an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Monday, he acknowledged the outsize role that Black women have played in his political success. “Black women have supported me my whole career,” Biden told Reid. “I have been loyal, and they have been loyal to me — and so it’s important that my administration, I promise you, will look like America.” The Hill’s Zack Budryk has more.

The former vice president hit Trump at a speech rolling out his “Build Back Better” economic recovery plan on Tuesday, accusing Trump of quitting on the American people. “For all his bluster about his expertise on the economy, he’s unable to explain how he’ll actually help working families hit the hardest,” Biden told an audience in New Castle, Del. “You know, he’s quit on you, and he’s quit on this country, but this election is not just about him. It’s about us. It’s about you. It’s about what we’ll do, what a president’s supposed to do.” Julia reports.

President Trump is turning to so-called “tele-rallies” to reach voters as soaring coronavirus caseloads in parts of the country have rendered his signature in-person gatherings impractical, if not outright dangerous. Over the weekend, the president held the first such virtual rallies targeted at supporters in critical battleground states like Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina and Michigan. While Trump has pushed for a return to normalcy despite the ongoing pandemic, the shift toward more virtual campaigning amounts to a tacit acknowledgment of the risks of in-person politicking. The Hill’s Brett Samuel reports.


Former state Rep. Dale Crafts (R) won the Republican primary in Maine’s 2nd congressional district, setting him up to challenge Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) in November. Craft beat out two other Republicans for the nomination, including Adrienne Bennett, a former press secretary to former Gov. Paul LePage (R), and Eric Brakey, a former state senator. The Hill’s Abigail Mihaly reports.




Biden: 52%

Trump: 40%



Jessica Tarlov: A ‘law-and-order’ campaign does not meet the moment

Jeremy Bash and Michael Steed: Deepfakes threaten the 2020 election

Brad BannonBiden swings left while Trump turns right


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

Tags 2020 elections ad spending Campaign Report Coronavirus COVID Dale Crafts Dave Loebsack David Schweikert Donald Trump Fundraising Hiral Tipirneni Joe Biden Mariannette Miller-Meeks Pandemic

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