Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: March 28-April 3, 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

“With the coronavirus injecting upheaval into a primary contest that was finally starting to appear more settled, the earliest Biden, the delegate leader, could now win the nomination is on the night of the June 2 primaries, if he nabs about 60% of the outstanding delegates.

In order for Sanders to clinch the nomination under that same timeframe he would need to net roughly 83% of the remaining delegates—a much higher portion of the delegate pool than the 39% he’s collected thus far.”

– Rick Klein and MaryAlice Parks, ABC News

“When you’ve got governors with stratospheric approval ratings for their handling of the crisis and ratings that are 20 and 30 points higher than the president’s and you have governors from states like California and New York and Illinois leading the crisis response — all big-name, major-league governors — you’re going to see that leadership reflected in polls for the presidency in future election years. This is the kind of stuff that gets forged and built into your resume.”

– Doug Herman, Democratic strategist

Week in Review

More states postpone primaries in response to the coronavirus

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

  • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo postponed the state’s presidential primary from April 23 to June 23.
  • Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 197 into law, rescheduling the state’s March 17 primary for April 28.
  • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation postponing the state’s primary from April 28 to June 2.
  • KansasThe Kansas Democratic Party announced its party-administered presidential primary, scheduled for May 2, would be conducted entirely by mail.
  • West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice announced on Wednesday that West Virginia’s primary will be postponed from May 12 to June 9.
  • Puerto Rico: After being initially postponed from March 29 to April 26, the Democratic primary was postponed a second time to an unspecified date.
  • Wisconsin: Federal judge William Conley ordered the final day to receive absentee ballots be extended from April 7 to April 13. The primary remains scheduled for April 7.

Democratic National Convention postponed until August

The Democratic Party postponed its presidential nominating convention to the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Organizers pushed back the event, which was originally scheduled for July 13-16, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“After a great deal of scenario planning and giving thought to how it is this event can have the greatest impact in the electoral process and the greatest impact in terms of what we can bring to Milwaukee, we felt the best decision, not knowing all the answers, was to delay this,” said convention chief executive Joe Solmonese. “More than anything we continue to monitor the public health landscape.”

Coronavirus task forces projects at least 100,000 deaths

Donald Trump and the White House’s coronavirus task force discussed testing, mortality rates, and supply chain issues for masks, ventilators, and other medical supplies in briefings this week.

Trump said more than 1 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus. Social distancing guidelines, which were set to expire on Monday, have been extended until April 30.

The task force also estimated 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus compared to 2.2 million without any countermeasures. Trump also tested negative for the coronavirus for a second time.

The administration said on Tuesday that it would not reopen for a special enrollment period.

Protect Our Care, America First Action, and Biden release campaign ads

The Democratic-aligned group, Protect Our Care, made a five-figure ad buy in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that criticizes Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus.

The pro-Trump America First Action is spending $10 million to target Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin with television and digital ads and a mail campaign.

Biden released a new digital ad that will play on Facebook and Instagram in battleground states. Calling medical professionals fighting coronavirus soldiers, Biden says in the clip, “As President, I wouldn’t send an American soldier anywhere in the world without all the equipment and protection they need.”

Unite the Country, American Bridge partner to back Biden’s campaign

Unite the Country—a super PAC formed in 2019 to support Joe Biden’s presidential campaign—and Democratic opposition research group American Bridge are partnering on research, polling, fundraising, and digital and television ads.

Their joint goal is to raise $175 million to support Biden. Combined, they have already raised more than $70 million this election cycle. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm are co-chairing the partnership.

Trump campaign, RNC prepare to fight procedural changes to general election

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are preparing for litigation to prevent major procedural changes to the general election in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Trump advisers say they are open to certain changes, such as automatically sending absentee ballot applications to voters over age 65. But they’re opposed to other moves Democrats are pushing, such as sending every voter a ballot regardless of whether they ask for one, which Republicans argue would open the door to fraud,” Politico reported.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Kimberly Guilfoyle is a Republican staffer with experience as a journalist and media personality. Guilfoyle received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1994.


  • 2018-2019: America First Action, vice chairwoman
  • 2006-2018: Fox News
    • Outnumbered host
    • The Five co-host
    • The Lineup host
    • Legal analyst
  • 2004-2006: Court TV, Both Sides co-host
  • 2004-2006: CNN, legal analyst
  • 2000-2004: City of San Francisco, assistant district attorney

What We’re Reading

Flashback: March 30-April 3, 2016

  • March 30, 2016: The National Border Patrol Council endorsed Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary.
  • March 31, 2016: Donald Trump met with Reince Priebus, then the chair of the Republican National Committee, to discuss convention rules.
  • April 1, 2016: The first Libertarian Party debate, featuring Gary Johnson, John McAfee, and Austin Petersen, aired on Fox Business News.
  • April 2, 2016: Reuters reported that the State Department suspended its plans for an internal investigation of how classified information was handled on Hillary Clinton’s private email server at the request of the FBI.
  • April 3, 2016: Approximately 2,000 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated outside of CNN’s Los Angeles bureau to protest against media bias.

What is the highest number of rounds of balloting in presidential convention history?