The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden hit campaign trail in Florida

The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden hit campaign trail in Florida
© Getty Images

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: Florida, Florida, Florida

ADVERTISEMENT

All eyes are on battleground Florida, with President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE and Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE kicking off one of the last weeks before Election Day in the swing state. 

Biden spoke to senior citizens at the Southwest Focal Point Community Center, where he delivered his vision for the group under a Biden administration. 

The former vice president honed in on issues that particularly affect seniors, including Medicare and Social Security. 

He particularly went after Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Florida and its senior community hard. 

"You deserve respect and peace of mind, but you’re not getting it because to Donald Trump, you’re expendable. You’re forgettable. You’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors. That’s how he sees you,” Biden said. 

Recent polling shows Biden on top in the Sunshine State. A News Nation/Emerson College survey released on Monday showed Biden leading Trump 50 percent to 47 percent. The Real Clear Politics polling average shows Biden leading the president by 3.7 points. Polls show Biden opening up an advantage among the oldest group of voters, who broke for Trump in the last election.

ADVERTISEMENT

But President Trump is not giving up on the state, which he narrowly won in 2016. 

Trump made a stop in the state’s I-4 corridor last night, speaking to a large crowd of supporters at an outdoor rally in Sanford on Monday. 

The event was the premier of Trump’s comeback tour, marking his return to the campaign trail after contracting the coronavirus. 

"Now they say I'm immune. I feel so powerful. I'll walk in there. I'll kiss everyone in that audience,” Trump told the crowd. “I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss.”

The president also took the opportunity to hit Biden over his plan to combat the coronavirus, which has hit the state hard. 

“Biden would terminate our recovery, delay the vaccine, prolong the pandemic and annihilate Florida’s economy with a draconian, unscientific lockdown,” Trump said. 

The two events could not have contrasted more with each other — Biden wore his mask for his entire address to the socially distanced room, while Trump spoke without his face mask to a large crowd, many of whom weren’t socially distanced or wearing masks either. Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan DeSantis orders Florida official to investigate Facebook for 'alleged election interference' America isn't first — it's far behind — and studies point to Republicans MORE was also seen high-fiving people at the rally and not wearing a mask. 

It’s unclear what effect the coronavirus messaging will ultimately have on Election Day in the state, but Democrats are banking on Biden’s cautious and science-driven approach in the state, which was long considered a major U.S. hotspot. 

However, polling shows that Trump is still holding is own in the state, narrowly trailing Biden, leading many to question how voters view his handling and messaging on the virus. 

FROM THE STATES:

Here’s a trend we’ve seen throughout the 2020 campaign cycle: The nonpartisan election analysts at the Cook Political Report have moved another handful of races toward the Democrats.

This time, it’s Senate races in three red states — Texas, Alaska and Georgia. Races in Texas and Alaska have moved from “likely Republican” to “leans Republican,” while Georgia's special election was shifted from "lean Republican" to "toss-up."

Sens. John CornynJohn CornynAbbott bows to Trump pressure on Texas election audit Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook Democrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight MORE (R-Texas), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization More Republicans call on Biden to designate Taliban as terrorist group Overnight Energy: Judge blocks permits for Alaska oil project MORE (R-Alaska) and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerWarnock picks up major abortion rights group's endorsement in reelection bid Trump endorses Hershel Walker for Georgia Senate seat Herschel Walker's entrance shakes up Georgia Senate race MORE (R-Ga.) are all involved in tight contests in a tough environment for Republicans.

Elsewhere, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump-backed challenger to Cheney decried him as 'racist,' 'xenophobic' in 2016: report State Department spokesperson tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers fret over wild week of deadlines MORE (R-S.C.) got some good news in a Morning Consult poll released Tuesday that found him leading Democrat Jaime Harrison by 6 points. Other polls have shown a tighter race.

Harrison raised an astonishing $57 million in the third quarter, more than any candidate for Senate has raised in history. Graham is hoping to get a boost as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is conducting confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett this week.

Across the state line, a Monmouth University poll of North Carolina finds Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime How to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) MORE (R-N.C.) trailing Democrat Cal Cunningham by 4 points.

That race has been rocked in recent weeks after it was revealed that Cunnigham had an extramarital affair. Tillis, meanwhile, is recovering from the coronavirus.

The terrain also looks tough for Republicans in Kansas, where Reid Wilson is reporting that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is jumping in with ads on behalf of Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallOvernight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Manchin, Barrasso announce bill to revegetate forests after devastating fires GOP senators seek to block dishonorable discharges for unvaccinated troops MORE (R), the Republican nominee running to replace the retiring Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R).

ADVERTISEMENT

Marshall is up against state Sen. Barbara Bollier (D), a former Republican, who raised $13.5 million in the last quarter — more than both major candidates combined to raise when Roberts ran for and won reelection in 2014. 

SUPREME COURT:

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett sidestepped questions from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday about the Affordable Care Act, abortion and the 2020 election.

Democrats — including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisNavarro rips 'dimwit' Trump Jr. on 'The View' for COVID-19 and obesity tweet Do progressives prefer Trump to compromise? Biden, Harris push big lie about Border Patrol MORE (D-Calif.), Biden’s running mate — are warning that Barrett was nominated in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett insisted that she would not allow her personal views to steer her legal decisions but repeatedly refused to answer questions about her view of legal precedents on the hot-button issues.

“I do want to be forthright and answer every question so far as I can,” Barrett said. “I think on that question I’m going to invoke Justice Kagan’s [answer], which I think is perfectly put. When she was in her confirmation hearing, she was not going to grade precedent, or give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Barrett was referring to Justice Elena KaganElena KaganNorth Carolina voting rights ruling offers a model of anti-racist jurisprudence To infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? Texas, abortion and the tyranny of the shadow docket MORE, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Obama in 2010.

The nominee did say at one point that she’s “not hostile” toward the ACA.

Meanwhile, Biden gave some insight into his views on the issue of court-packing after weeks of refusing to answer questions about whether he supports adding justices to the Supreme Court.

“I’m not a fan of court packing, but I don’t want to get off on that whole issue. I want to keep focused,” Biden told WKRC. “The president would like nothing better than to fight about whether or not I would in fact pack the court or not pack the court, et cetera. The focus is, why is he doing what he’s doing now?”

Progressives are eager to see Democrats respond by adding their own justices to the Supreme Court if they win the White House and Senate. Notably, Biden didn’t take it off the table.