The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance

The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance
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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:

 

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LEADING THE DAY: 

With less than two months to go until Election Day, Florida isn’t offering many clues as to which way it will go in the presidential race.

An NBC News/Marist College poll released on Tuesday showed the race for Florida in a dead heat, with both President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll GOP set to release controversial Biden report Can Donald Trump maintain new momentum until this November? MORE notching 48 percent among likely voters. Among registered voters, the result wasn’t much different; Trump garnered 48 percent support to Biden’s 47 percent — comfortably within the poll’s 4.5 percentage point margin of error. Those results largely track with the findings of a Quinnipiac University poll of the state released last week that showed Biden leading Trump 48-45 percent. 

Over the summer, it appeared as if Biden might actually have the edge in the Sunshine State. At the beginning of August, the former vice president held a nearly 6-point edge over Trump in the FiveThirtyEight polling average. Today, it stands at just 2.7 percentage points.

That’s more in line with what political strategists and pollsters on both sides of the aisle say it should be. Florida has a reputation for ultra-close elections. Trump carried the state by just about 1 point in 2016 and former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocratic Senate campaign arm outraises GOP by M in August A federal court may have declared immigration arrests unconstitutional Blunt says vote on Trump court nominee different than 2016 because White House, Senate in 'political agreement' MORE beat Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP set to release controversial Biden report McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Will Republicans' rank hypocrisy hinder their rush to replace Ginsburg? MORE there in 2012 by less than that. That’s not to mention the state’s 2018 Senate race, which was decided by only about 10,000 votes.

But there are some warning signs for Biden…

A poll from the firm Bendixen & Amandi International and the Miami Herald released on Wednesday showed Biden leading Trump in Miami-Dade County, the largest in the state, by 17 points. While that’s a sizable lead, it’s almost half the size of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Democratic super PAC to hit Trump in battleground states over coronavirus deaths Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE’s 30-point margin of victory there in 2016. Another survey from the Democratic firm Equis Research released last week showed Biden underperforming Clinton’s 2016 margins among Hispanic voters in Florida. 

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Both campaigns are ramping up in the state…

On Tuesday, Trump paid his first visit to South Florida since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, stopping off in Jupiter where he announced that he was extending the moratorium on offshore oil drilling along Florida’s Gulf Coast and would extend the ban to include the state’s Atlantic Coast.

And later this week, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSocial Security and Medicare are on the ballot this November Harris honors Ginsburg, visits Supreme Court The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump and Biden vie for Minnesota | Early voting begins in four states | Blue state GOP governors back Susan Collins MORE (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, is expected to make a stop in Miami along with her husband, Doug Emhoff.  

 

TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPENDING:

Is the Trump campaign facing a cash crunch? As impossible as that sounds for a campaign that has coupled with the Republican National Committee to raise more than $1 billion this cycle, the president on Tuesday confirmed reports that he’d be willing to contribute $100 million of his own money if needed.

“If I have to, I will,” Trump said. “Whatever it takes, we have to win.”

However, the president said he didn’t think it was necessary because they campaign has way more money than it did when he won in 2016.

Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said Tuesday that he’s “carefully managing the budget” and that money will not be a problem down the stretch.

But the questions linger as the Biden campaign invests heavily in television advertising, while the Trump campaign has had a spottier presence on the airwaves.

When Stepien took over the campaign in late July, he briefly took the ads off the air entirely as he reassessed former campaign manager Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE’s spending strategy. Parscale spent heavily on advertising early on, which failed to give Trump any bump in the polls. 

Now the campaign says it is focused on running ads in the states where early voting will begin soon.

“We’re comfortable and confident in where we’re spending, how much we’re spending and how much we’ll have down the stretch,” Stepien said. 

 

Meanwhile, in the House…

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reserved $2.6 million in ads in a number of media markets home to competitive House races. 

Here’s a breakdown of the reservations, which were first reported by Politico.

GA-06 and GA-07: $771,000

IA-01: $35,000

IN-05: $90,000

NM-02: $30,000

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NY-02: $650,000

NY-22 (Binghamton): $130,000

NY-22 (Syracuse): $130,000

NY-22 (Utica): $80,000

TX-21 and TX-23: $1,029,000

 

You can read more about the reservations here.

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On the Republican side, two former rivals are putting aside their differences to get behind a Republican looking to flip their old district. 

Former House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorThe Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district Bottom line MORE and former Rep. Dave Brat will work together on GOP candidate Nick Freitas’s general election finance committee in his race to unseat Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerTrump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report Virginians wait up to four hours to cast early voting ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE in the commonwealth’s 7th congressional district. 

Cantor and Brat make an unexpected team. Remember, Brat, a Tea Party insurgent candidate, unseated Cantor, a longtime darling of the GOP establishment, in Virginia’s Republican primary in 2014. 

READ MORE: Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district, by Julia Manchester 

And with two months to go until Election Day, voters are preparing to cast their vote in person or by mail. Many undecided voters are also still in the process of deciding who they will vote for. 

But, The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports that there is a very unlikely, but possible chance House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAs families deal with coronavirus, new federal dollars should follow the student Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates Hypocrisy rules on both sides over replacing Justice Ginsburg MORE could win the presidency in 2020. 

Reid breaks down all of the possible scenarios here.

However, Pelosi spokesman asked to respond to the longest of long-shot scenarios, said the Speaker is confident Biden will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.