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

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

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 BidenTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge MORE has opened up a healthy lead in new Florida polls, a warning sign for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump 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 ObamaObama chief economist responds to McConnell quoting him on Senate floor: He missed 'a critical part' Amazon reports .8B in weekend sales from independent businesses on its platform Ossoff features Obama in TV ad ahead of in Georgia run-off 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 KennedyConor Lamb defeats Trump-backed challenger for reelection in Pennsylvania Van Drew fends off challenge from Kennedy after party switch Markey wins reelection in Massachusetts MORE (D-Mass.) in the Democratic Massachusetts Senate Primary held a press conference on Thursday during which they slammed incumbent Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyManchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' US national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations 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 KingFeenstra wins Iowa House race to fill Steve King's seat Democrats lead in 3 of 4 Iowa House races: poll Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones 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 VelaDemocrats try to draft Cardenas to run campaign arm after disappointing night Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida 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 RoyThe Hill's Morning Report - Too close to call Chip Roy fends off challenge from Wendy Davis to win reelection in Texas Democrats seek wave to bolster House majority 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