The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida

The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida
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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. 



Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE has opened up a healthy lead in new Florida polls, a warning sign for President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE’s campaign with the election only three months away.

A new Quinnipiac University survey finds Trump trailing Biden by 13 points in Florida after a previous survey from April found Biden ahead by only 4 points.

Biden leads by 20 points or more on the two big issues of the day — response to the coronavirus and addressing racial inequality. The president holds only a 3-point advantage over Biden on the economy, which is his biggest talking point.

A St. Pete Polls survey released on Thursday found the race to be closer, but Biden’s advantage is still outside the margin of error. Biden leads 50 to 44 in that poll. The Democrat holds a 14-point lead among the independents that powered Trump’s 2016 victory.

The new polls are alarming for Republicans for a number of reasons.

Florida, the nation’s largest swing state, is the quintessential battleground state. The outcome is usually only determined by a point or two in the general election, so polls showing Biden with a big lead underscore Trump’s weakness at the moment.

Trump narrowly won Florida in 2016, and there is almost no path back to the White House for him if he loses there in 2020.


The president has seen his support in Florida crater despite his campaign spending heavily there. The Trump campaign has plowed a staggering $40 million into Florida, with GOP outside groups spending another $16.1 million.

Trump’s response to the coronavirus is clearly weighing him down in a state that has become a hotspot for the spread of the disease.

The Quinnipiac poll found that 70 percent of Florida voters described the spread of coronavirus as “out of control.”

Thirty-seven percent of voters approve of Trump’s handling of the virus, compared to 59 percent who disapprove. That is close to Trump’s overall job approval rating, which sits at 40 percent positive and 58 percent negative.

Republicans plan to hold a scaled back convention in Jacksonville, Fla., next month. Sixty-two percent of voters overall said it would be unsafe to hold the convention there, although 69 percent of Republicans believe it will be safe.

— Jonathan Easley


Biden holds 13-point lead over Trump in Florida: poll, by The Hill's Marty Johnson

Poll: Biden leads Trump by 6 points in Florida, by Max Greenwood

Presidential ad wars bring 2020 battleground into focus, by The Hill's Reid Wilson

Internal Democratic poll shows tight race in key Texas House district, by Julia Manchester



Trump has ramped up his efforts to portray himself as a hard-line law-and-order president Wednesday — but it’s a gambit that has not worked so far. The Hill's Niall Stanage reports.

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhy is Joe Biden dodging the public and the press? Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Pentagon issues report revealing ex-White House doctor 'belittled' subordinates, violated alcohol policies MORE sat with Biden for a conversation on Thursday about the state of the U.S.. Obama criticized the federal response to the coronavirus, saying the U.S. is not dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as “smartly” as other countries with similar resources. The Hill's Rebecca Klar reports.

Obama also said he believes Biden will be an effective manager of the crisis if he’s elected in November. The Biden campaign cut part of the conversation into a new ad, and Trump is blasting backThe Hill's J. Edward Moreno reports


Several members from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) who are backing Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker Government spending bill to include bipartisan energy provisions MORE (D-Mass.) in the Democratic Massachusetts Senate Primary held a press conference on Thursday during which they slammed incumbent Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case Senators question Bezos, Amazon about cameras placed in delivery vans OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE’s (D-Mass.) 2013 vote on a Homeland Security budget bill.

The bill contained a directive to expand the number of beds in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers and private prisons to 34,000.

“These are the kids of votes that Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingRep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future House votes to kick Greene off committees over embrace of conspiracy theories MORE in Iowa takes. Somebody who’s running as a progressive voting the way that Steve King does? That should tell you something,” Texas Rep. Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaLobbying world COVID-19 is wild card as Pelosi faces tricky Speaker vote Sunday Democrats try to draft Cardenas to run campaign arm after disappointing night MORE (D) said during the conference.

Markey’s campaign manager John Walsh fired back in a statement shortly after the press conference, saying Kennedy voted in favor of the Omnibus funding bill for the fiscal year of 2014, which included language to maintain a level of 34,000 detention beds through September of 2014.


Kennedy’s Latinx outreach director Ramon Soto responded to Markey’s campaign, saying they had “mischaracterized” Kennedy’s vote, which took place in an effort to prevent a government shutdown.

“The Markey Campaign has deliberately mischaracterized Kennedy’s vote to end the threat of a federal shutdown in order to try and salvage a news story that reflects a devastating lack of empathy for ICE detainees by Senator Markey,” Soto said. “Kennedy voted to eliminate the bed mandate entirely and, when that amendment failed, he voted against the larger bill. Ed Markey went against President Obama and Democratic Leadership to stand with ICE and vote -- intentionally -- for the bed quota.” 

Kennedy and Markey will face off against each other in the primary on Sept. 1.


Glenn C. Altschuler: Are Republican governors living in a parallel universe?

James Roosevelt Jr. and Henry Scott Wallace: A 21st century New Deal



Everytown for Gun Safety announced a $15 million digital ad program on Thursday, with reservations in eight key battleground states. The program will invest $1.25 million in digital ads in Arizona, $5 million in Florida, $500,000 in Georgia, $1.25 million in Iowa, $1 million in Minnesota, $1.5 million in North Carolina, $1 million in Pennsylvania, and $3.5 million in Texas. The ads are set to air on a number of platforms, including Pandora, YouTube, Hulu and Univision. The Hill's Tal Axelrod reports



Biden: 51%

Trump: 38%


Biden: 50%

Trump: 44%


Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoySome Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats House passes sweeping protections for LGBTQ people GOP's Chip Roy vows to fight Equality Act in court MORE: 46%

Wendy Davis: 45%



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