Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: April 4-10, 2020

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


Notable Quotes of the Week

“One timeline in play is how long it will take before infections subside. Another is the political calendar. The two are entwined. In this new era of social distancing, Trump can’t hold rallies as a way to mobilize his base and diminish his rivals. But he’s embraced the bully pulpit, and in his hands—and at this jarring moment in the nation’s history—it’s potentially more valuable than routine campaigning.”

– Peter NicholasThe Atlantic

“The [Sanders] campaign made three fateful, incorrect assumptions. The one that fell apart the fastest: that Sanders’s landslide losses with black voters would not be repeated, because he finally had time to introduce himself and because Biden, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris would be competing for their support. Booker and Harris did not make it to South Carolina, the first primary dominated by black voters, and Sanders never made inroads beyond the younger black voters who he’d won in 2016. Five years after chastising Democrats for not ‘engaging’ in Mississippi, he would cancel his one 2020 rally in the state to campaign in Michigan.”

– David WeigelThe Washington Post

Week in Review

Sanders ends presidential campaign

Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign on Wednesday. He said in a video statement to supporters, “I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth. We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.”

Sanders said he would remain on upcoming primary ballots to win more delegates to influence the party platform at the Democratic National Convention.

With a plurality of pledged delegatesJoe Biden has become the presumptive Democratic nominee. To officially win the nomination, a candidate needs to secure 1,991 pledged delegates.

Satellite groups launch coronavirus-focused ad campaigns 

Priorities USA released seven digital ads on Wednesday that criticize Donald Trump for his response to the pandemic. They include news clips, medical professionals, and statements from Trump. Win the West also released a digital ad targeting Trump that contrasts his statements with immunologist Anthony Fauci.

The Republican National Committee is airing a seven-figure ad campaign from April 13 through May 4 praising Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. One clip features two Democratic governors—Gavin Newsom (Calif.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.)—discussing Trump’s responsiveness.

The Democratic National Committee also announced it was spending $22 million on YouTube ads in 14 battleground states. The ads are set to begin airing in September.

Wisconsin presidential primary takes place as originally scheduled, results held until April 13

After several court decisions, Wisconsin held its primary on Tuesday as originally scheduled. On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order postponing in-person voting until June 9. The U.S. Supreme Court also stayed a district court order that had extended the absentee voting deadline. Absentee ballots must have been postmarked by April 7. Election results will not be made public until April 13, the deadline for those ballots to be received.

Read more about changes to Wisconsin’s election procedures here.

New Jersey, Georgia primaries postponed to summer

Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Wednesday postponing the New Jersey statewide primary from June 2 to July 7.

Georgia’s statewide and presidential primaries were postponed until June 9. The state had previously postponed its presidential primary to May 19, the original date of the statewide primary.

Biden proposes lowering Medicare eligibility age, offering student loan forgiveness

Joe Biden published two new healthcare and student loan debt policy proposals in a Medium post on Thursday.

The first would lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60. Biden said, “This would make Medicare available to a set of Americans who work hard and retire before they turn 65, or who would prefer to leave their employer plans, the public option, or other plans they access through the Affordable Care Act before they retire.”

The second would “forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000, with appropriate phase-outs to avoid a cliff.”

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Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Brandon English is a Democratic staffer with experience in political communication and organizing. He graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and modern culture and media in 2006.


  • 2018-2019: GPS IMPACT, senior advisor
  • 2006-2015: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
    • 2015: Deputy executive director
    • 2011-2014: Digital director
    • 2009-2010: Deputy new media director
    • 2007-2008: Online communications manager
    • 2006: Online projects manager

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 6-10, 2016

  • April 6, 2016: Donald Trump held a rally on Long Island with 15,000 attendees.
  • April 7, 2016: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that he planned to vote for Donald Trump in the New York state primary but would not formally endorse him.
  • April 8, 2016: Bernie Sanders announced that he would visit Vatican City four days before the New York state primary.
  • April 9, 2016: Bernie Sanders won the Wyoming caucuses with 55.7 percent of the vote, defeating Hillary Clinton by 11 points.
  • April 10, 2016: For the first time since November 2015, Donald Trump did not participate in a single Sunday morning interview on television.

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