Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: June 13-19, 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 might argue our digital age is immune to history’s lessons, or suggest that Biden’s low-key campaign is little match for his opponent’s ability to drive news cycles. Those still scarred by Hillary Clinton’s surprising defeat might additionally desire that Biden offer the bold agenda voters perceived her front-running campaign lacked. Bold stances invite critique, however. Bold stances also mean nothing until one takes power. The lesson offered by Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt is that quiet amid cacophony is what it takes to win the presidency during dire times. Avoiding hysteria or potentially divisive details of possible recovery plans will also enable maximum freedom of action once in office.”

– Jeffrey Engel, director of Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History

“David Becker, director of the [Center for Election Innovation and Research], said in such an unprecedented election climate, it’s difficult to predict how the COVID-19 setbacks will hurt or help both candidates’ ground games.

Voter-registration drives may not be as instrumental as the changing nature of voting itself, how voters respond to expanded mail-in options spurred by COVID-19 social-distancing efforts, and the anticipated high voter enthusiasm for participating in this presidential election with so many contentious news events shaping it, he said.

Becker pointed to Georgia’s June 9 primary, which was postponed from March. Absentee ballots were sent to every voter, with 1.1 million returned. Total Democratic turnout surpassed the previous record of 1.06 million in the 2008 primary, when Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in a landslide.”

– Susan CrabtreeRealClearPolitics national political correspondent

Week in Review

Trump returns to campaign rally circuit on June 20 in Tulsa

Donald Trump rescheduled his first campaign rally in months from Jun. 19—the annual holiday, often referred to as Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States—to Jun. 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The city was the site of a racially motivated massacre in 1921. Trump said he was moving the rally at the request of his black friends and supporters.

More than 50 Trump campaign surrogates will attend the rally, including Sens. Jim Inhofe (Okla.), James Lankford (Okla.), and Tom Cotton (Ark.). Multiple camera crews will also be at the event, which Axios described as “a giant commercial for Trump’s re-election campaign, an answer to protests outside the White House and a trial run for Republican National Convention events in Jacksonville this August.”

An Oklahoma judge denied an emergency motion to block the rally unless the Trump campaign used social distancing guidelines at the event. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said guests at the rally will receive a temperature check, hand sanitizer, and masks before entering the venue. He also said 1 million tickets had been requested for the event; the venue’s capacity is 19,000 people.

Biden enters second round of veep vetting, Klobuchar withdraws

The Associated Press reported that Joe Biden’s vetting of potential vice presidential nominees has entered its second round with as few as six candidates still on the list. Among them are Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) and former national security adviser Susan Rice.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) removed herself from consideration on Thursday night. She said, “This is a historic moment, and America must seize on this moment. And I truly believe as, I actually told the vice president last night when I called him, that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.”

Biden, Democrats launch general election ad campaigns

The Democratic National Committee launched a television and digital ad campaign against Donald Trump on Tuesday that focuses on employment, healthcare, race relations, and immigration. The clip, “Descent,” is the first television ad the DNC has run in four years.

Joe Biden is also launching a $15 million ad campaign featuring digital, radio, and print ads in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. In two different clips, Biden speaks about racial injustice and the middle class. The campaign includes $1 million in Spanish-language ads in Florida and Arizona.

Biden and Democrats raise $81 million in May, Trump hits online fundraising record high

The Joe Biden campaign announced it raised $81 million with two associated Democratic committees in May, up from $60.5 million in April. The Biden campaign also raised $6 million in his largest single-event fundraiser on Monday night. The event was co-hosted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $14 million on Sunday, marking the groups’ top online fundraising day.

Trump seeks fourth debate, Biden campaign declines

Donald Trump is seeking a fourth general election debate with Joe Biden. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is leading the push. Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield rejected the idea.

The Trump campaign is also requesting the debates begin before early voting.

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Poll Spotlight

Daily Presidential News Briefing campaign ad comparison feature, 2020

Staff Spotlight

Pete Kavanaugh is a Democratic staffer with experience in campaign strategy and political organizing. Kavanaugh graduated with a B.A. in government from Georgetown University.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Virginia senior advisor
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, New Hampshire state director
  • 2009 Jody Wagner lieutenant gubernatorial campaign, advisor
  • 2009 Terry McAuliffe gubernatorial campaign, advisor
  • 2008 Virginia Democratic Coordinated Campaign, field director
  • 2008 John Edwards presidential campaign, New Hampshire deputy field director
  • 2006 Missouri Democratic Coordinated Campaign, deputy director
  • 2005 Scott Lang mayoral campaign, field director
  • 2004 Jim Stork congressional campaign, political director
  • 2004 John Edwards presidential campaign, New Hampshire political assistant

Other experience:

  • 2013-2019: Revolution Field Strategies, president
  • 2009-2019: Hilltop Public Solutions, partner 

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 15-19, 2016

  • June 15, 2016: Jill Stein’s campaign announced that Stein had secured enough delegates to claim the Green Party presidential nomination after winning a majority of delegates in primaries in California, New York, and Maryland.
  • June 16, 2016: Rep. Raul Grijalva, the first member of Congress to endorse Bernie Sanders, switched his support to Hillary Clinton.
  • June 17, 2016: The Washington Post reported that at least 30 delegates to the Republican National Convention were planning an effort to block Donald Trump’s nomination.
  • June 18, 2016: Apple announced it would not provide funding or support for the 2016 Republican National Convention. The company previously contributed money and tech supplies to both Democrats and Republicans in previous conventions.
  • June 19, 2016: The California Democratic Party passed a resolution calling for limiting superdelegates to Democratic National Committee members, eliminating caucuses, and revising the primary calendar.

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