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The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden condemns violence, blames Trump for fomenting it l Bitter Mass. primaries reach the end l Super PAC spending set to explode

The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden condemns violence, blames Trump for fomenting it l Bitter Mass. primaries reach the end l Super PAC spending set to explode
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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:

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Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden Florida heat sends a dozen Trump rally attendees to hospital Harris more often the target of online misinformation than Pence: report MORE on Monday flew to Pittsburgh to deliver an address accusing President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE of inciting violence at racial justice protests across the country.

However, Biden was careful also to condemn riots and looting, as pressure mounts on the Democratic nominee to separate himself from the destructive elements associated with the demonstrations in cities such as Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis.

The bulk of Biden’s speech — which was given at a steel mill in front of a few reporters — focused on what he described as a nation that has been torn apart by protests because of Trump having “fomented” racial animus and violence.

“This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country,” Biden said. “He can’t stop the violence because for years he’s fomented it.”

Biden was also unequivocal in denouncing the riots and looting, as Democrats have grown fearful in recent days that Trump’s law-and-order message would catch on among suburban voters and independents who might be troubled by civil unrest in the streets.

“I want to be very clear about all of this – rioting is not protesting,” Biden said. “Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way, it divides instead of unites.”

Trump will almost certainly respond during a press conference at the White House this evening.

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The president will travel to Kenosha on Tuesday to draw attention to destruction in a city that he says is the fault of Democratic elected leaders that have allowed criminals to run roughshod.

 

The police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha has refocused the presidential campaign around racial justice and civil unrest with only 64 days to go before the election.

Blake’s shooting has instigated a renewed push for police reform on the left. But fatal shootings at protests in Portland and Kenosha have forced the campaigns to grapple with public safety around the protests.

Trump and his campaign are accusing Biden and the Democrats of allowing the protesters to destroy cities out of fear of appearing critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Biden and the Democrats say that Trump is seeking to inflame racial tensions, believing he’ll benefit politically from images of violence and destruction in the streets.

READ MORE:

Biden criticizes violence while blaming Trump for fomenting it, by Jonathan Easley.

Trump-Biden race tightens as both sides expect close race, by Alexander Bolton.

DEMOCRATS PREP FOR SHOWDOWN IN MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts voters are preparing for the commonwealth’s first statewide election with a vote-by-mail option.

According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, there could be more than 1.2 million and as much as 1.3 million Democratic ballots cast on Tuesday. On the Republican side, Galvin projected 150,000 voters would cast GOP ballots.

As of Monday morning, Massachusetts election officials said they have received more than 768,000 Democratic ballots and more than 88,000 Republican ballots.

The key races we’re watching:

Markey vs. Kennedy

Incumbent Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump strips protections for Tongass forest, opening it to logging | Interior 'propaganda' video and tweets may violate ethics laws, experts say | Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks MORE is working to fend off a primary challenge from Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyDozens of legal experts throw weight behind Supreme Court term limit bill Presidential debate proves the power of the climate movement Democrats see fundraising spike following Ginsburg death MORE III in a race that has divided Democrats up and down the eastern seaboard.

Here’s what we know: 

  • Markey leads Kennedy by 11.2 points, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average 
  • Fundraising is virtually tied — Kennedy’s campaign reported having $4.7 million in the bank after the second quarter this year, while the Markey campaign reported having $4.8 million 
  • Markey has touted his decadeslong tenure in Congress fighting for progressive caucuses, like the Green New Deal
  • Kennedy says he is pushing for new representation in Congress, arguing that Markey is not regularly present enough for his constituents in Massachusetts 
  • The race has turned ugly in recent weeks. The Kennedy campaign has accused the Markey campaign of not doing enough to tamp down on online bullying and harassment. Markey’s campaign says they have taken the steps to report online abuse from trolls and that the senator has condemned it multiple times

Neal vs. Morse

Progressives are hoping to pull off their latest in a string of primary upsets on Tuesday. Alex Morse, the 31-year-old mayor of Holyoke, Mass., is challenging House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealLawmakers offer bipartisan bill to encourage retirement savings Democrats express concerns about IRS readiness for next year's filing season On The Money: Kudlow confident that Trump can 'round up' Senate GOP behind coronavirus relief deal | US deficit spikes to record .1T MORE (D-Mass.) for his seat. He’s running on a message of generational change and a call to enact progressive policy proposals like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, all the while casting Neal as an absent representative whose decadeslong career in Washington has created too much daylight between his constituents and himself.

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But Neal is likely to prove difficult to unseat. He has a huge cash advantage over Morse, and recent polling shows him with a lead in the race.

At the same time, Morse faced a turbulent few weeks earlier this month after he was accused of using his position as a guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to pursue sexual and romantic relationships with students. He acknowledged having had consensual relationships with some students and briefly considered ending his campaign. Morse ultimately decided to remain in the race, however, after The Intercept published messages from some of the students who had made the allegations in which they discussed potential ways to undermine Morse’s congressional campaign. One student described himself as a “Neal stan” and openly acknowledged hoping to get an internship with the congressman. Neal has denied any prior knowledge or involvement.

BIDEN SCORES KEY LGBT ENDORSEMENT

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) endorsed Biden for president on Monday, marking group’s second presidential endorsement in its two decade history.

“The NGLCC is proud to endorse a champion for inclusion. We need to elect a president with a commitment to LGBTQ equality, ending racism and racial violence, promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship, and ensuring a safe and equitable society for every American. Joe Biden is that candidate,” NGLCC co-founder and president Justin Nelson said in a press release.

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano has more.

SPENDING WARS:

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A Republican strategist who worked as an adviser to a group behind 2004 attack ads on then-Democratic nominee John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOn The Trail: The fallacy of a conclusive election night McCarthy urges networks not to call presidential race until 'every polling center has closed' Seinfeld's Jason Alexander compares Trump dance video to iconic Elaine dance MORE’s military record is launching a pro-Trump super PAC that plans to spend $30 million in television advertising in key swing states, Politico reports

Meanwhile, the group Republican Voters Against Trump, which includes veterans of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, is readying millions of dollars in ads in Florida, according to The New York Times.

Also in the mix — the Progressive Turnout Project, which has a budget of $52 million this cycle, has announced a new voter contact program in which staff and volunteers will make 55 million phone calls and write 500,000 letters by hand to deliver to voters before Election Day, urging them to turn out for Biden and down ballot Democrats. And Rock the Vote, which says it has registered 400,000 new young voters this cycle, will hold its final summer “We Vote We Rise” event tonight featuring Tony Award nominee Adrienne Warren and many others.

POLLING:

A new polling analysis from NBC News finds that Biden is leading Trump among voters who cast their ballots for either Libertarian Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonBiden leads newspaper endorsements — just like Clinton New Hampshire Union Leader endorses Biden Poll: Biden notches 7-point lead ahead of Trump in New Hampshire MORE or Green Party nominee Jill Stein in 2016. That’s significant, as Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden Harris more often the target of online misinformation than Pence: report The Hill's Campaign Report: What the latest polling says about the presidential race | Supreme Court shoots down GOP attempt to block NC mail ballot extension MORE only narrowly lost Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. If about half of the voters who cast ballots in those states for third party candidates had instead voted for Clinton, she likely would have won all three.