Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: April 25-May 1, 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 Day

“This year’s Democratic presidential primary was tumultuous from beginning to end—starting with a record field of two dozen major candidates and ending in the middle of a pandemic.

But its lasting legacy could be far more fundamental: The chaos of the 2020 election season could radically, even permanently, change how Americans vote.

By November, a majority of the country—and possibly the overwhelming majority—could cast their ballot by mail for the first time. In the years to come, more and more voters will pick their candidates not by selecting one favorite, but by ranking several under a system designed to give people more choices and less chance for regret. And by 2024, the final vestiges of a 200-year-old tradition—caucuses—could be gone, buried for good by the debacle in Iowa that launched this year’s nominating process.”

– Russel Berman and Elaine GodfreyThe Atlantic

“Speaking of home states, the one big question is what happens in Amash’s home state of Michigan. Clinton only lost it by 0.2 points. If 2020 is as close as 2016, then there is a shot that any small bump for Amash could affect the outcome of the election. Right now, though, Biden holds a significant lead in Michigan (8 points in a recent Fox News poll). Very few voters in recent Michigan polls have volunteered that they wanted a third party option. It’s plausible that would change with a named option like the congressman.”

– Harry Enten, CNN senior writer and analyst

Week in Review

Biden denies sexual assault allegations from 1993

Joe Biden denied allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted a former Senate aide, Tara Reade, in 1993.

In a Medium post on Friday, he discussed his pride in the Violence Against Women Act and said that women should be heard when they bring forward allegations. Biden said none of his other former staffers have corroborated Reade’s story and that there is no record of her filing a complaint against him that year, as she has said.

Biden has requested the Secretary of the Senate ask the National Archives to identify and make public any such complaint. He did not name Reade directly in the article.

New York officials cancel Democratic presidential primary

State election officials canceled the New York Democratic primary scheduled for June 23. Earlier this month, the state enacted a law authorizing the board of elections to remove candidates from ballots upon suspending or terminating their campaigns. With only Joe Biden’s name remaining, they canceled the primary.

Douglas Kellner, the Democratic co-chairman of the board, said, “At a time when the goal is to avoid unnecessary social contact, our conclusion was that there was no purpose in holding a beauty contest primary that would marginally increase the risk to both voters and poll workers.”

Bernie Sanders campaign adviser Jeff Weaver called the decision “a blow to American democracy.” He continued, “Just last week Vice President Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York state.”

Andrew Yang and several of his New York delegates filed a lawsuit against the board for removing his name from the ballot.

Biden begins vice presidential search

Joe Biden announced the team of advisers overseeing his vice presidential vetting process: former Sen. Chris Dodd (Ct.), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and former counsel Cynthia Hogan.

Several women who are reportedly in consideration to be Biden’s running mate—former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kamala Harris—are set to participate in a series to town halls hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action over the next few weeks.

Amash launches exploratory committee for Libertarian nomination

Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) announced on Tuesday that he was launching an exploratory committee for the Libertarian presidential nomination. He said, “We’re ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together. I’m excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president.”

Trump campaign, Priorities USA launch coronavirus-focused ad campaigns

The Donald Trump campaign released a digital ad in 17 states featuring Democratic governors praising Trump’s response to the pandemic.

The campaign will also begin a seven-figure nationwide ad campaign on Sunday focused on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. A second round of anti-Biden ads will be released later.

Priorities USA is airing an ad in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania attacking Trump on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The narrator says in the clip, “Donald Trump said he would put America first, and now he has. The United States leads the world in coronavirus cases.”

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Chris Carr is a Republican staffer with experience in political organizing. Carr graduated with a bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2014 Garret Graves (R-La.) U.S. House campaign, consultant
  • 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign, Nevada state director
  • 2006 John Ensign (R-Nev.) U.S. Senate campaign, campaign manager
  • 2003 Dan Kyle Louisiana insurance commissioner campaign, campaign manager
  • 2000 Donna Mayeux mayoral campaign in Baton Rouge, campaign manager
  • 1995 Quentin Dastugue (R-La.) gubernatorial campaign, campaign manager
  • 1994 Jim Gibbon (R-Nev.) gubernatorial campaign, deputy campaign manager
  • 1992 George H. W. Bush presidential campaign, Nevada state director

Other experience:

  • 2016: Republican National Committee, political director
  • 2012-2014: Engage Nevada, founder and consultant
  • 2011-2012: Republican National Committee, western regional political director
  • 2010: National Republican Congressional Committee, western regional political director
  • 2007-2008: Republican National Committee, Northwest political director
  • 2004: Nevada Victory Campaign and Nevada State Republican Party, executive director

Flashback: April 27-May 1, 2016

  • April 27, 2016: Campaign manager Jeff Weaver said Bernie Sanders would continue to run for the Democratic nomination after losing four of the five Acela Primary states the day before.
  • April 28, 2016: The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce endorsed Hillary Clinton and John Kasich.
  • April 29, 2016: Mike Pence said he was voting for Ted Cruz in the Indiana Republican primary. He added, “Let me be very clear on this race: Whoever wins the Republican nation for president of the United States, I’m going to work my heart out to get elected this fall.”
  • April 30, 2016: President Barack Obama discussed the 2016 presidential candidates during his final speech at the White Houses Correspondents’ Dinner.
  • May 1, 2016: Bernie Sanders predicted the 2016 Democratic National Convention would be contested. “[Hillary Clinton] will need superdelegates to take her over the top at the convention in Philadelphia,” he said.

Which third-party candidate received the greatest share of the vote in the past five election cycles?

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