Veterans launch pro-law enforcement super PAC with battlegrounds ad buys
The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump and Biden vie for Minnesota | Early voting begins in four states | Blue state GOP governors back Susan Collins
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:
It's been almost half a century since a Republican presidential candidate carried Minnesota. But the North Star State is emerging as an unlikely battleground in 2020.
President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are paying competing visits to the state on Friday as early voting there gets underway. The Trump campaign has already committed some $14 million to flipping Minnesota for Republicans. And Jason Lewis, the top Republican challenging Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) for her seat, predicted that a so-called "silent majority" would propel the GOP to victory in the state this year.
"I think the silent majority is much greater, obviously due to the cancel culture and this fear out there, frankly, among many conservatives," Lewis told The Hill's Jonathan Easley in an interview on Thursday.
"If you're a Trump guy living close to St. Paul, you'll be damned if you're going to put a sign out there for it ... people don't want to deal with the hassle until they pull that curtain [to vote]," he added.
Turning Minnesota red, however, is a tall order for Republicans.
Polling from the ABC News and The Washington Post released this week found Biden with a staggering 17-point lead over Trump in the state. A New York Times/Siena College survey released earlier this month showed Trump trailing by 9 points. And the FiveThirtyEight polling average of the state gives Biden an 8.8-point advantage in the race. It's also hard to argue with history; Minnesota last went red in a presidential election in 1972, when former President Richard Nixon won reelection in a landslide. But Biden's visit to the state Friday suggests that he's not taking it for granted.
Voting has begun...
Voters in Minnesota, Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming began casting their ballots for the November elections on Friday as the early voting periods got underway in those states.
A new round of battleground polls from The New York Times and Siena College has some mostly bad news for Trump and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who might be the most vulnerable GOP senator up for reelection this year.
Two blue state GOP governors, Larry Hogan in Maryland and Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, endorsed Collins on Friday.
The president has talked about Maine as having the potential to flip into the GOP column, but the NYT-Siena poll is not registering that, finding Biden ahead by 17 points. Trump will visit Maine and New Hampshire, another state that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, next week.
The poll also found Biden with a strong 9-point lead in Arizona, which has not gone for the Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.
Trump and Biden are deadlocked in North Carolina, which routinely polls as the closest of the six core battleground states up for grabs.
Priorities USA, the top super PAC backing Biden's presidential bid, and its affiliated groups pulled in about $15.7 million in August and another $32.9 million in the first 18 days of September. With 12 days left in September, the group and its affiliated entities boast a combined third-quarter total of $66.4 million, besting its own Q3 total in 2016 by about $18.4 million, the super PAC said on Friday.
From Priorities Chair Guy Cecil:
"We're going to see a lot of states decided by a few votes in the most important election of our lives. Our supporters are taking the challenge seriously and ensuring we have the resources we need to fight for a Joe Biden and Kamala Harris victory. While fundraising is going well, this election is going to be close and the other side isn't letting up. Priorities will continue to hold Donald Trump accountable and run the strategic campaigns we need to supplement the Biden campaign's efforts."
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), meanwhile, brought in $26.9 million in August and headed into September with $41 million in cash on hand, the group announced on Friday. That marks the DSCC's best single month of fundraising in its history and more than double the $13.1 million it raised in July.
An exclusive from Max this morning ... Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Friday, cutting ads in support of the longtime incumbent as she faces the most serious reelection fight of her political career. The ads are part of a $450,000 ad blitz by the Republican Jewish Coalition and come a week after the group launched another spot in which former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, threw his support behind Collins's reelection.
The Hogan and Baker endorsements are particularly unique, given their statuses as Republican governors in deep-blue states and the fact that they rarely endorse in races outside of their home states.