Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: April 18-24, 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

“The pandemic may have robbed Donald Trump of a growing economy. It may have trapped Joe Biden in his basement. But it may yet do something even worse to the Libertarian and Green party nominees: Keep them off the ballot in many of this year’s key states. …

For America’s third parties, this is nothing less than an existential crisis. Without ballot access, national pollsters won’t feel obligated to include Green and Libertarian candidates in their surveys; voters will be less aware of their nominees and platforms; journalists will be less likely to pay any attention to them; and the probability diminishes that either the Libertarians or Greens can reach the holy grail of 5 percent of the popular vote—the point at which they would finally qualify for federal campaign matching funds.”

– Bill ScherPolitico

“Since March 17 — the last big competitive primary day and the first that really ran up against the coronavirus scare — only three states have wrapped up their presidential primaries. By contrast, nine contests are now slated for June 2, which has become a sort of unexpected mini Super Tuesday. And five primaries are now taking place after June 9, which was originally the last day for states to hold their primaries without penalty.

Given the circumstances, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Democratic National Committee decides to go easy on them, but some of these primaries are really late. Connecticut’s, for example, is now scheduled for Aug. 11, which is just a week before the Democratic National Convention (which was itself rescheduled). And according to presidential primaries expert and FiveThirtyEight contributor Josh Putnam, that would be the latest contest ever in the modern era of presidential primaries.”

– Nathaniel RakichFiveThirtyEight

Week in Review

Biden outraises Trump in March, lags in cash on hand

Joe Biden raised $46.7 million in March, outraising Donald Trump’s $13.6 million and marking his best fundraising month so far. Trump leads in cash on hand with $98.5 million to Biden’s $26.4 million.

Biden and the Democratic National Committee together have $57.2 million in cash on hand, after accounting for unpaid debts, according to The New York Times. This is approximately $187 million less than Trump and the Republican National Committee have.

Trump signs executive order on immigration

Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration on Wednesday that will halt most green cards for 60 days. The order will not affect visas for temporary workers in agricultural and related industries. The order does not apply to healthcare professionals, spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, and select other groups.

General election messaging focuses on coronavirus and China

Joe Biden and his surrogates are expected to hit Donald Trump on his handling of the coronavirus using “four Cs” to structure the attacks—coverup, chaos, corporate favoritism, and caving to lobbyists—according to a campaign memo obtained by Axios.

The Trump campaign intially wanted to define Biden as a corrupt, veteran Beltway insider. It has shifted its focus to Biden’s relations with and comments about China and his ability to perform as president.

Campaigns, satellite groups air ads in battleground states

The Joe Biden campaign is airing an ad in battleground states that says Donald Trump should have sent a CDC team to China and did not properly prepare the United States for the epidemic.

America First Action released three ads in a series titled #BeijingBiden as part of a $10 million ad campaign in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The narrator in one clip says, “Now more than ever America must stop China and to stop China you have to stop Joe Biden.”

The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans and conservatives, also released an ad on Tuesday praising Biden as a bipartisan leader ready to become president. The clip is airing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Connecticut primary postponed again, moved to August 11

Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order postponing Connecticut’s primary to August 11. This is now the latest primary in the election cycle, set to take place a week before the Democratic National Convention. Connecticut’s primary had previously been postponed from April 28 to June 2.

Biden wins Wyoming Democratic caucuses

Biden won the Wyoming Democratic caucuses with 72% of the vote, the state party announced on Sunday. In-person caucus events were canceled in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and the Democratic Party encouraged voters to participate by mail. The deadline for receiving completed ballots was April 17.

Biden has an estimated 1,305 pledged delegates; 1,979 are necessary to win the nomination. He became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on April 8 after Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Each week, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Zeppa Kreager is a Democratic staffer with experience in political organizing. She previously worked in Joe Biden’s office when he was vice president. Kreager received a bachelor’s degree in political science and religion from Hood College.

Experience:

  • 2017-2019: Civic Nation, director of the Creative Alliance
  • 2015-2017: Office of the Vice President
    • 2016-2017: Director of public engagement
    • 2015-2016: Associate director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs
  • 2015: Airbnb, mobilization program coordinator
  • 2013-2015: Battleground Texas, deputy operations manager
  • 2012-2013: Presidential Inaugural Committee, crowd coordinator
  • 2011-2012: Organizing for America
    • 2012: Field organizer
    • 2011-2012: Intern

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 20-24, 2016

  • April 20, 2016: Ted Cruz criticized Donald Trump for not participating in any Republican primary debates in 41 days.
  • April 21, 2016: The Rules Committee of the Republican Party rejected a proposal to switch convention procedure from the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives to Robert’s Rules of Order. At the center of the debate was whether the convention chair should have the power to allow the nomination of additional candidates.
  • April 22, 2016: The Associated Press reported on which companies and organizations paid Hillary Clinton for speaking engagements between 2013 and 2015.
  • April 23, 2016: The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was beginning to consider potential vice presidential picks. Among the list were Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio).
  • April 24, 2016: The Cruz and Kasich campaigns issued statements announcing that they would each focus on different states to limit the number of delegates that Donald Trump could receive in upcoming primaries.

When did the Electoral College grow to its current size of 538 members?

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About the author

Emily Aubert

Emily Aubert is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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