The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate
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.
IT’S OFFICIAL: Biden picks Harris as his running mate
Joe Biden has selected Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to be his running mate, ending months of speculation over one of the most consequential decisions of his 2020 presidential bid.
Biden explained his choice in an email to supporters on Tuesday afternoon, saying that in the midst of three national crises — the coronavirus pandemic, an economic recession and civil unrest over racial injustice — he needs “someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead.”
“Kamala is that person,” he said.
The pick isn’t particularly surprising. We already knew before Tuesday that Harris was among the finalists for the vice presidential nomination, along with former national security adviser Susan Rice, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), among others.
In choosing Harris, Biden will bring into his campaign a rising star in the Democratic Party and a former primary opponent who is already a known quantity to many voters. At the same time, Biden has been under pressure to choose a woman of color as his running mate as an acknowledgment of the crucial role Black voters have played in his electoral coalition.
The announcement comes less than a week before the start of the Democratic National Convention, when Biden will formally accept the party’s nomination.
But even before Tuesday there were signs that a VP announcement was imminent. Biden had finished interviewing the finalists for the job, and the four-person team tasked with helping with the selection process had effectively disbanded.
With the announcement out of the way, the final months of campaigning are set to begin in earnest.
Next week’s DNC will take place virtually over four days and feature former President Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Prominent progressives, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), will have speaking roles, as will former Gov. John Kasich (Ohio), a Republican who opposes President Trump.
There was not room for everyone who wanted to speak, apparently:
I’ve got to be honest I kind of expected to speak.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) August 11, 2020
Maybe I endorsed against one too many incumbents.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) August 11, 2020
The Republicans have not released a speaking schedule but did lay out their tentative plans for a live-streamed convention that will be mostly devoid of in-person attendees.
There had been reports that the GOP event would be closed to the press, but the Republican National Committee said Tuesday that will not be the case. A “limited group of reporters” will be able to attend in-person. The event will also be live streamed and is expected to be broadcast live by the major networks. The Hill’s Brett Samuels has the details.
A friendly reminder…
There are primaries tonight in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin, plus primary runoffs in Georgia and South Dakota. We ran through this in yesterday’s edition of Campaign Report, but here’s a quick reminder of what races to watch:
- Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is facing a competitive primary challenge from lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux in Minnesota’s 5th District.
- Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has faced criticism for her controversial remarks and embrace of the QAnon conspiracy theory, is facing off against John Cowan in the GOP primary runoff in Georgia’s 14th District.
With less than a week to go before the Democratic convention, Biden leads Trump by 10 points nationally in the latest Monmouth University Poll. The Hill’s Niall Stanage has a great piece that examines five ways Trump could come back.
But Republicans got some good news for the first time in a while on Tuesday.
A new survey of Minnesota from Emerson Polling found that Trump is within the margin of error in the North Star state. That’s a potentially huge development if the poll is not an outlier.
The Trump campaign has been talking about potential opportunities to expand the map, but the polling has not indicated that he is within reach in targeted blue states, such as Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine and New Mexico.
The Emerson survey also found Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) with only a narrow lead over her expected challenger, former Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.).
And many political analysts had written off Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who has been trailing by a wide margin in most recent polls against Democrat Mark Kelly. However, a new Arizona Public Opinion Pulse survey finds the race has tightened to only 5 points.
Of course, Trump is still predominantly on defense. A new SurveyUSA poll of Georgia found Biden with a 2-point lead. Biden also leads by 5 points in Wisconsin, according to the latest Marquette University survey.
BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Michelle Obama has not been involved much in Biden’s campaign, but she’s been a vocal advocate this year for voting by mail, which is taking on new significance amid the coronavirus. The former first lady released a video message on Tuesday for the group she founded, When We All Vote:
“Make sure your friends, families and communities are registered, know their rights and are fully prepared to vote by mail this year or vote early in person. Let’s get more folks across the country trained with the tools, the resources and the information they’ll need to vote, because this election couldn’t be more important.”
A new study by The New York Times found that 75 percent of U.S. voters will have access to mail balloting this year.
PROGRESSIVE HOUSE CANDIDATE CONTROVERSY:
In Massachusetts’s 1st District, progressive House candidate Alex Morse is grappling with allegations that he had inappropriate relationships with college students during his time as a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts.
- Morse maintained in an interview with Hill.TV on Tuesday that the relationships were consensual.
- But progressive figures and groups, including Jamaal Bowman and the Sunrise Movement, have paused their endorsements.
- This stands to put Morse’s primary challenge of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in jeopardy.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
We’re 7 days away from the beginning of the Democratic National Convention, 14 days from the beginning of the Republican National Convention, 50 days from the first presidential debate and 85 days out from Election Day.
A royal break in tradition: Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, known to most Americans as Meghan Markle, revealed in Marie Claire’s August digital issue that she will be casting her vote in the U.S. elections in November.
“I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,” Markle said. “I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.”
This is a big deal because members of Britain’s royal family remain apolitical, and abstain from voting in elections. But things are different for Markel, who is a U.S. citizen, living in Los Angeles.
And while she didn’t specify who she’ll be voting for, we do know that Markle voiced her opposition to President Trump prior to marrying into the royal family, referring to him as “misogynistic” and “divisive.”
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