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The Hill’s Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters

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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: 

The battleground state of Arizona appears to be shifting into Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s corner. 

A new Monmouth University survey shows the former vice president leading President Trump 48 to 44 percent. On top of that, a Kaiser Family Foundation and Cook Political Report poll showed Biden with a five point lead in the state, prompting Cook to shift the state’s status from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic.” 

The latest polling should raise red flags for the Trump campaign. President Trump won Arizona by roughly four points in 2016, and a win for Biden four years later could simplify his path to the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the presidency.

For example, if Biden took Arizona, he could theoretically lose other battleground states like Wisconsin or Michigan, but still garner enough electoral votes to win the White House. He would just need to carry the other states that former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took in 2016. 

So what’s driving Biden’s lead in Arizona? 

Well, it starts with the critical Latino voting bloc. Biden leads Trump with Latino voters 63 percent to 33 percent, though Clinton won the state’s Latino vote by around the same margin and still lost the state to Trump.

But, Biden also holds a significant lead in Maricopa County, home to the greater Phoenix area, which Clinton lost by 3 points. 

He also has a wide lead in the four counties that Clinton won in 2016 — Apache, Coconino, Pima and Santa Cruz.  Trump has a strong advantage in the other 10 counties he carried four years ago. 

The shift towards Biden in the state also bodes well for down-ballot Democrats as well. Arizona is home to one of the country’s most contested Senate races this cycle: Democrat Mark Kelly versus incumbent GOP Sen. Martha McSally. Kelly holds a 6-point lead over McSally, 50 to 44, according to the Monmouth poll.

RUSSIA REDUX

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that Russian agents are trying to undermine Biden the run-up to the November election.

“The intelligence community’s assessment is that Russia continues to try to influence our election, primarily through what we would call malign foreign influence,” Wray said during testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee.

“We certainly have seen very active efforts by the Russians to influence our elections in 2020 through what I would call more the malign influence side of things — social media, use of proxies, state media, online journals, etc. — in an effort to both sow divisiveness and discord … and primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as an anti-Russian establishment.”

Last month, William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned that Russia was once again attempting to interfere in the election by promoting attacks against Biden over his “role in the Obama Administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia.”

The intelligence community has also determined that China and Iran are seeking to interfere in the election by undermining Trump.  

PARK AVE VS. SCRANTON

Biden views his race against Trump as “Park Avenue versus Scranton,” according to his presidential campaign.

“We’ve got a president in Donald Trump who can only see as far on Wall Street and who looks down on working people,” Kate Beddingfield, deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden campaign, added on a call with reporters Thursday. 

The remarks come as the campaign prepares for a CNN drive-in town hall this evening, marking the first political town hall hosted by the network due to coronavirus precautions and restrictions. The event will take place at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa., and will be moderated by anchor Anderson Cooper. Thirty-five cars will be allowed in the parking lot, and roughly 100 people will be present, according to the network. 

The location of tonight’s town hall is 6 miles from Biden’s hometown of Scranton. It comes two days after Trump took part in an ABC News town hall in Philadelphia. 

FORMER SANDERS AIDES TARGET LATINO VOTERS 

Nuestro PAC is touting Biden’s presidential bid in a new ad dubbed “If I Were President” on Thursday. 

The PAC is putting six figures behind the roughly three-minute spot. 

The ad features footage of multiple generations of Latinos across the country and clips of Biden speaking to members of the community about his platform. 

You can watch the full ad here.

Nuestro PAC is the largest pac aimed at turning out Latino voters. It was founded by Chuck Rocha, who was previously in charge of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) Latino outreach. 

This comes as a number of polls show Biden leading Trump with the Latino vote, but underperforming with the group compared to former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

Biden will likely carry the Latino vote, but that does not mean that Trump won’t benefit if Biden underperforms with Latino voters. 

The Trump campaign is out with its own Spanish-language ad, accusing Biden of supporting a pro-China agenda they say has “hurt Hispanic families, including our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico who saw their jobs and major industries sent to China under his failed policies.”

BLOOMBERG CASH

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is pulling out his wallet for Biden, pledging to plow $100 million into the battleground state of Florida, where polls show a tight race.

The first outlay is going to Priorities USA, the largest Democratic super PAC backing Biden, which will use Bloomberg’s $5.4 million donation to buy a week of air time across Florida’s 10 media markets beginning on Friday.  

GRAHAM IN TROUBLE?

South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison raised $1 million in the 24 hours since a poll was released finding him tied with incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R). 

Graham has won reelection by double-digit margins since he was first elected in 2002, but Harrison has emerged as a formidable challenger, raising truckloads of cash and closing the gap in recent polls. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Christopher Wray Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Martha McSally

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