Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: March 7-13, 2020


Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.        

Notable Quotes of the Week

“But it’s clear that if [Bernie Sanders] doesn’t pick up more delegates from Biden in the Midwest, he’ll likely find it difficult to find much support elsewhere. The former vice president is poised to pick up huge delegate advantages in the remaining Southern states, like Georgia and Louisiana, due to his strength among African American voters. Florida, another big electoral prize, is projected to be a Biden win.

Though many of Sanders’ supporters say he should stay in the race. After all, there are still over 1,000 delegates up for grabs and soon more progressive states like New York will have the opportunity to weigh in.”

– Alexandra HutzlerNewsweek

“You could make a strong argument that the only thing that matters to the president’s reelection now is getting the response [to the coronavirus pandemic] correct. No rally is going to save you if you are judged as having failed as the president.”

– Scott Jennings, former political aide to President George W. Bush

Week in Review

Biden wins Michigan and three other states, Sanders wins North Dakota

Six states and the Democrats Abroad held events for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

  • Joe Biden won Democratic primaries in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri. Across all six primaries on Tuesday, he is projected to win at least 195 pledged delegates.
  • Bernie Sanders won North Dakota and is projected to receive at least 126 delegates from Tuesday’s primaries.
  • Washington is still too close to call with 87% of precincts reporting. Biden leads Sanders by 2.0%.
  • Democrats Abroad, which concluded its global primary on Tuesday, is expected to release its results on Mar. 23.
  • Donald Trump now has a cumulative total of 1,104 delegates. To win the Republican nomination, a candidate needs 1,276 delegates. No other Republican presidential candidate won any delegates on Tuesday.

The map below shows the projected winners of the Democratic primaries.

The following chart shows the Democratic delegate allocation over time.

Biden and Sanders meet in first head-to-head debate

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will participate in the eleventh Democratic presidential primary debate on Sunday.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced on Thursday that the debate would take place in Washington, D.C., rather than Phoenix, Arizona, due to concerns about the coronavirus and cross-country travel. The DNC also said that Ilia Calderón would replace Jorge Ramos as a moderator because Ramos had contact with an individual with coronavirus.

There will be no live audience at the debate.

Coronavirus keeps candidates off the campaign trail

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders canceled their respective rallies in Cleveland on Tuesday night for public health and safety. It was the first time concerns about the coronavirus led to canceled campaign rallies this election cycle.

Both candidates have told their campaign staff to work remotely. The campaigns will focus on digital outreach and virtual meetings rather than in-person events in the coming weeks.

Biden gave a speech about the coronavirus and his plan to address the outbreak on Thursday. He called for free testing, development of a vaccine, paid sick leave, and aid for affected communities, among other policies.

Sanders also gave a speech about the coronavirus, saying there should be a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, guaranteed unemployment insurance, and free access to treatment.

Tulsi Gabbard addressed the pandemic in a video on Twitter, where she said free tests should be made available and cruise ships should not be permitted to dock in any state. She also called for a temporary universal payment of $1,000 to every adult American.

Former 2020 presidential candidates back Biden

Former 2020 presidential presidential candidates Cory BookerJohn DelaneyKamala HarrisDeval Patrick, and Andrew Yang endorsed Joe Biden this week.

Former Barack Obama aide and Beto O’Rourke campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, is also joining Biden’s operation as campaign manager. She replaces Greg Schultz, who is remaining with the campaign in another role.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Katrina Pierson is a Republican staffer with experience in political communications. She previously worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Pierson graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2006.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, national spokeswoman

Other experience:

  • 2013-present: Pierson Consulting Group, president and CEO
  • 2017-2018: America First Policies, spokesperson
  • 2016-2017: Donald Trump Transition Committee, senior advisor
  • 2014-2015: Tea Party Leadership Fund, spokesperson
  • 2014-2015: Texas Tribune, TribTalk columnist
  • 2014-2015: ShePAC, advisory board member
  • 2012-2015: WFAA-TV, opinion commentator
  • 2011-2013: America’s Web Radio, talk show host
  • 2011-2012: ASG Technologies, director of corporate affairs
  • 2009-2011: Baylor Health Care System, practice administrator
  • 2008: InVentiv Health, pharmaceuticals

What We’re Reading

Flashback: March 9-13, 2016

  • March 9, 2016: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated in Miami, Florida. The event was hosted by Univision and The Washington Post.
  • March 10, 2016: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump participated in a Republican primary debate on CNN.
  • March 11, 2016: Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump, and the National Review backed Ted Cruz.
  • March 12, 2016: Marco Rubio won the Republican convention in Washington, D.C., while Ted Cruz was the winner of Wyoming’s county conventions.
  • March 13, 2016: Hillary Clinton said she supported capital punishment in limited cases during a CNN town hall.

Which of the following states are tied for the fewest delegates at this year’s Democratic National Convention?

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