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Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 13 (April 8, 2020)

This week: Trump campaign COO objects to Jeff Sessions mailer, O’Brien withdraws from New Hampshire U.S. Senate primary and endorses Messner, Utah gubernatorial candidate Jeff Burningham names running mate

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

“Anyone who has used modeling for any reason — for statistical research, for business planning, etc. — knows that these models don’t exist in a vacuum. They take new information in and change. So, when multiple states join in the shelter-in-place trend, the models adjust accordingly. Because so many people are not going out and about like they used to, there is no reason to expect that the current numbers will be out there, spreading the virus.

The habits of millions of Americans have changed due to state orders, so, naturally, you have to adjust to account for this new data. When the original models predicted deaths in the millions, there was no great collective of states telling their citizens to stay at home and shutting down non-essential businesses. We were largely going about our lives, and the models were taking that into account. As more states order a shelter in place, many more millions of Americans were essentially put out of harm’s way.

This isn’t some grand conspiracy meant to keep Americans at home, but it’s a sign that keeping Americans at home is the right thing to do for the moment. How we keep Americans at home and for how long is another matter entirely — and one we must learn to balance with the overall safety of the population.”

Joe Cunningham, RedState, April 7, 2020

“Historically, health officials have used quarantines to contain infectious diseases. Until now, a quarantine consisted of separating the sick from the general population and then doing everything possible to protect the especially vulnerable. In this case, that would include the elderly and immunosuppressed, among other groups. …

A year from now — and we should think about this — how will all of us feel about the decisions we’ve made in the face of this pandemic? Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we’re causing in our response to it? Probably not. … 

Once again, coronavirus is not the only bad thing that’s happening in America right now, horrifying as it is. We should never minimize the danger of this pandemic or minimize our obligation to respond to it wisely. … 

For most people, going to work cannot be more dangerous than buying produce at Safeway twice a week. And if it is more dangerous, tell us how it is more dangerous and be specific when you describe that. Otherwise, it’s time to start caring about the entire population. Healthy people are suffering badly, too.”

Tucker Carlson, Fox News, April 7, 2020

U.S. Congress

NC-11 runoff candidates on experience, hope amid COVID

Lynda Bennett released her first ad of the primary runoff for North Carolina’s 11th District. Entitled “Leaders,” the ad says the country needs “people with a lifetime of experience” during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Bennett has highlighted her background as a real estate broker and as vice chairwoman of the Haywood County Republican Party, along with the activism training she received from the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups.

She faces Madison Cawthorn, a 24-year-old motivational speaker and owner of a real estate investment company. Cawthorn has said he wants to be part of a new generation of leaders combatting socialism and advancing a conservative agenda.

Cawthorn released a Facebook video April 3 discussing the sixth anniversary of a car accident that left him paralyzed and the challenges he overcame. He said, “I believe I have the heart of a fighter, and I believe most Americans do, which is why I take heart and I have hope for this country.”

Mark Meadows vacated the seat in March to become White House chief of staff. He announced in December he would not seek re-election. Meadows endorsed Bennett in the primary.

Court-ordered redistricting in 2019 affected the partisan composition of the 11th District, though the 2020 general election race rating remained Safe or Solid Republican. The Cook Political Report wrote that in the 2016 election President Donald Trump (R) won the former 11th District by 29 percentage points and the redistricted 11th by 17 percentage points.

Bennett received 22.7% of the primary vote to Cawthorn’s 20.4%. Kyle Perrotti of The Mountaineer reported that “much of the territory Cawthorn claimed was only brought into the district after a three-judge panel approved the new Congressional district in December of last year.”

The primary runoff is June 23.

O’Brien withdraws from Senate primary, endorses Messner in NH

Former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien withdrew from the U.S. Senate primary, endorsing Bryant “Corky” Messner. 

O’Brien said, “Unfortunately, it has become apparent to me that my campaign is not going to be sufficiently financed” to face incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D) in November. O’Brien said candidate Don Bolduc is “a good person, but in terms of understanding the issues and instinctively being in the mainstream of the Republican Party, Corky is the candidate that I can support.”  

Messner has self-funded his campaign $3.2 million. 

Both Messner and Bolduc are veterans. Messner was an Army Ranger and Bolduc, an Army brigadier general.

Republican consultant Jim Merrill said Messner “is going to be able to run as an outsider and as conservative running to the right of Gen. Bolduc. He’s got more funds and he’s going to be able to paint Bolduc as an establishment favorite who’s chronically underfunded and is not going to be able to prosecute the case against Sen. Shaheen.”

Bolduc said of O’Brien’s Messner endorsement, “We need experienced leaders in Washington who will focus on service and problem solving, not politics and money.”

Bolduc criticized Messner in March, saying, “I give him all the credit in the world for being a successful businessman in our country, but a rich Colorado attorney coming to New Hampshire and thinking he is going to use his own money to buy an election, I think the people of New Hampshire are smarter than that.”

Messner said, “When Granite Staters are rightfully worried about the well-being of their loved ones, their jobs, their homes, and their small businesses, it just isn’t appropriate to engage in this sort of divisive political gamesmanship.”

The primary is Sept. 8. Bolduc, Messner, and Andy Kim are running. 

Shaheen won the 2014 election with 51.5% of the vote to Republican Scott Brown’s 48.2%.

Trump campaign COO objects to Jeff Sessions mailer

Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of the president’s re-election campaign, sent a cease and desist letter to Senate candidate Jeff Sessions criticizing a campaign mailer saying that President Trump supported Sessions. 

Glassner wrote, “We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump’s loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the President supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary run-off election. Nothing could be further from the truth.” Glassner said the mailer mentioned Trump 22 times.

The president endorsed Tommy Tuberville on March 10, a week following the primary. The Sessions campaign said the mailer went out several days before that endorsement. Sessions campaign representative John Rogers said, “The people of Alabama are going to decide this race, not Washington. Alabamians are an independent lot and they make their own decisions.”

Sessions and Tuberville have argued over who supports the president more. Sessions held the Senate seat for 20 years before Trump appointed him attorney general, a position from which Sessions resigned at Trump’s request. 

Tuberville, a former college football coach, has criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. Session has criticized Tuberville, saying he supports amnesty for people in the country illegally and has criticized Trump on veterans’ issues. Sessions also says Tuberville is from Florida and is a tourist in Alabama.

The runoff is July 14. The winner will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D), who Roll Call named the most vulnerable Senator up for re-election in 2020.

State executives

Cook Political Report downgrades Republican chances of winning Missouri governor race

The Cook Political Report updated its race ratings for this year’s 11 gubernatorial elections. Among the changes: Cook downgraded Republicans’ chances of winning Missouri’s gubernatorial election, shifting the race from Solid to Likely Republican. It did not adjust its ratings in the other 10 gubernatorial races.

Seven states with Republican governors and four with Democratic governors are holding elections this year. Cook rated six of the 11 contests as “safe”, meaning that one party is all but certain to win in November. Cook says Democrats are the likely winners in Delaware and Washington and Republicans in Indiana, North Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia. Missouri joins New Hampshire and Vermont as a state Cook projects will likely remain under Republican control. 

Cook projects North Carolina’s race leans towards incumbent Roy Cooper (D) over challenger Dan Forest (R). The only state currently listed as a toss-up is Montana, where incumbent Steve Bullock (D) is term-limited. Although Democrats have held the state’s governorship since 2004, Montana has leaned towards Republicans on the national level. The last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Montana was Bill Clinton (D) in 1992, and the state has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. House since 1994.

Cook believes the coronavirus pandemic and the relative strength of Democratic challenger Nicole Galloway (D-Mo.) are the two major factors behind their rating change. Cook said incumbent Mike Parson (R-Mo.) was one of four governors who had not taken public action in response to the coronavirus pandemic by March 17 and said that a perceived lack of action could harm his prospects in the general election. Parson faces three challengers in the Aug. 4 primary, while Galloway is among five Democrats in the running.

Utah gubernatorial candidate Jeff Burningham names Dan McCay as running mate

Entrepreneur Jeff Burningham named state Sen. Dan McCay as his running mate in his bid for governor of Utah. Burningham is the sixth of the eight Republicans in the running to name a running mate. Only businessman Jason Christensen and former state House Speaker Greg Hughes have yet to do so.

Gov. Gary Herbert (R) appointed McCay to fill a vacancy in the state House in 2012 and served until he was elected to the state senate in 2018. He is currently the chairman of the Senate’s Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee.

McCay is the fifth elected official to be selected as a running mate for governor of Utah. U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R) is Thomas Wright’s running mate, while state Sen. Deidre Henderson (R) is running alongside Spencer Cox, state Auditor John Dougall (R) is running alongside Aimee Winder-Newton, and Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi is running alongside Jon Huntsman.

A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll released Wednesday found Cox and Huntsman about even, finding 26% support for Huntsman and 24% for Cox. Burningham and Hughes received 7% support each, while the remaining candidates each had 2% support or lower. The poll had a margin of error of 5.4 percentage points. 

This is the group’s first poll this year showing Huntsman and Cox about even. Huntsman led Cox 32% to 20% in the group’s February poll and 35% to 25% in January. The 32% of voters who said they were undecided was the most so far this year, up from 30% in February and 25% in January.

The June 30 primary will be open to registered Republicans only. The winner of the primary is likely to also win the general election—no Democrat has won election as governor of Utah since 1980.

Legislatures

TN state Rep. accused of sexual misconduct reverses decision, will seek re-election

State Rep. David Byrd (R-71) filed for re-election in November after previously indicating he would not. He said this reversal was due to concerns about the coronavirus, saying, “For District 71 to have a freshman Representative during this crucial time could definitely result in our rural counties being overlooked.” 

In 2018, three women accused Byrd of sexual misconduct during his time as a high school basketball coach in the 1980s. In 2019, former Speaker Glen Casada (R), removed Byrd from his position as chairman of the House Education Administration Subcommittee. Last fall, Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-25) announced the chamber would not pursue an effort to expel Byrd. Byrd was never criminally charged regarding the allegations.

Byrd was first elected in 2014 after defeating incumbent state Rep. Vance Dennis (R) in the primary. He won re-election in 2016 and 2018. Two other Republicans—former Savannah, Tenn., city manager, Garry Welch, and Lewis County commissioner, Austin Carroll—are also filed to run for the District 71 seat, setting up an August primary.

Christi Rice (D), one of Byrd’s accusers, is the only Democrat filed to run for the seat. However, Rice has indicated she plans to withdraw in order to care for her son who was in an accident last fall. The deadline to withdraw is April 9.

First-term Kansas representative set to challenge incumbent in state Senate primary

State Rep. Kellie Warren (R-28) announced she will leave the state House and run for Kansas’ 11th Senate District, setting up a primary against incumbent state Sen. John Skubal (R-11), who is running for re-election. Skubal was first elected to the 11th District in 2016.

This will be Warren’s second contested primary against an incumbent Republican. She was first elected to the state House in 2018 after defeating the incumbent, former state Rep. Joy Koesten, in the Republican primary 58-42%. After her primary defeat, but before leaving office, Koesten changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

The winner of the August primary will likely face Koesten in the general election. Koesten filed to run as a Democrat for the 11th District seat in January and, currently, is the only candidate running in the Democratic primary.

Colorado House candidate removed from the Republican primary ballot for being an unaffiliated voter

The Arapahoe County GOP voted and removed Steve Monahan (U) from the Republican primary ballot in Colorado’s 3rd House District after learning that Monahan was an unaffiliated voter rather than a registered Republican. Under Colorado law, a candidate may run for state legislative office with a party only if they are a member of that party.

Monahan’s removal leaves Bill Klocek (R) as the only Republican on the primary ballot. The 3rd House District is currently represented by Rep. Meg Froelich (D). Froelich was appointed to the position in 2019 after her predecessor, Rep. Jeff Bridges (D), was appointed to fill a state Senate vacancy.

Power players

“The mission of The Heritage Foundation is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” – The Heritage Foundation website 

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a conservative 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank that describes its work as “performing timely, accurate research on key policy issues and effectively marketing these findings to our primary audiences: members of Congress, key congressional staff members, policymakers in the executive branch, the nation’s news media, and the academic and policy communities.” 

On April 6, The Heritage Foundation announced the launch of a National Coronavirus Recovery Commission that would be led by the organization’s president, Kay C. James. The announcement said that the commission would include “top experts and thinkers from government, public health, disaster response and relief, academia and education, business, and the faith community” and “carefully examine decisions that policymakers are making that significantly impact the scope of this crisis and the duration of social restrictions, economic hardship, recovery, and the potential permanent effects.”

The Heritage Foundation is affiliated with Heritage Action for America, a 501(c)(4) organization. Founded in 2010, Heritage Action for America says it “takes the conservative policy visions outlined by our sister organization, The Heritage Foundation, and works to make them a reality.” Heritage Action also produces a scorecard that it says “measures votes and co-sponsorships to show how conservative Members of Congress are.” 



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 13 (April 8, 2020)

This week: Kennedy outraises Markey in latest quarter, MT Democratic Party objects to GOP-funded Green Party ballot qualification, and Rep. Denny Heck to run for lieutenant governor of Washington

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

“In the space of the last week, Democrats have delayed their national convention to August and then watched as their near-certain presidential nominee has suggested an in-person convention might not happen at all.


‘We may have to do a virtual convention,’ Biden said Sunday morning on ABC’s ‘This Week.’ ‘I think we should be thinking about that right now.

The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary. We may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place.’

 

He’s right. Even if the spread of the coronavirus is largely limited by mid-summer, does anyone think it’s a good idea to gather tens of thousands of people in close quarters anytime soon?

 

It’s hard to imagine the Democratic National Committee will have much choice in the matter if the de facto nominee is on the record suggesting that an in-person convention is problematic.”

Chris Cillizza, CNN, April 6, 2020

 

“While Republicans have little to debate at their convention, Democrats are bracing for fights. Allies of Senator Bernie Sanders, who remains in the race despite Mr. Biden’s commanding advantage, are encouraging him to keep going to accumulate more delegates. That would enable him to influence the platform and rules discussions, debates that animated the 2016 Democratic convention. … 

 

And while Republican convention delegates will be a who’s who of Trump supporters without meaningful opposition, a virtual Democratic convention would leave would-be Sanders delegates without much prospect of pushing the party to the left.

 

‘How do you have a floor debate when the floor is a virtual Zoom room?’ said Valdez Bravo, a 2016 Sanders delegate from Lake Oswego, Ore., who is running to become a 2020 delegate.”

Reid J. Epstein and Annie Karni, The New York Times, April 1, 2020

U.S. Congress

Kennedy outraises Markey in latest quarter

Joseph Kennedy III raised $2 million in the first quarter of 2020 to Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) $1.2 million, according to figures released by the campaigns. Kennedy began the second quarter with $6.2 million in cash on hand to Markey’s $4.4 million. 

In the final quarter of 2019, Kennedy raised $2.4 million to Markey’s $1.4 million. 

Kennedy had $4.3 million on hand when he entered the primary in September.

Markey has been in the Senate since 2013 and served in the U.S. House from 1976 to 2013. Kennedy has represented Massachusetts’ 4th District in the House since 2013. 

The state Democratic Party voted to cancel its May 30 convention due to COVID-19 and to request that the secretary of the commonwealth place both candidates on the September ballot.

Both campaigns supported the decision, agreeing that Markey would have won the party’s endorsement at the convention and that Kennedy would have surpassed the 15% delegate support threshold to make the ballot. 

Candidates also need to gather 10,000 signatures to make the ballot.

The primary is Sept. 1.

NJ-02 ballot, organization lines set

The ballot for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary is now set with six candidates, two of whom have received county party endorsements: political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison and former public school teacher Amy Kennedy.

Daily Kos wrote:

county party endorsements are typically very important in New Jersey primaries on both sides of the aisle. That’s because, in many counties, endorsed candidates appear in a separate column on the ballot along with other party endorsees, a big deal in a state where party machines are still powerful. (This designation is known colloquially as the ‘organization line.’)

Six county parties endorsed Harrison, and she has the organization line in five of them (Salem County doesn’t have an organization line). 

Kennedy has the organization line in Atlantic County. Daily Kos reported it’s the largest county in the district, making up 41% of the vote.

The district’s eighth county, Ocean County, is not endorsing in the race.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) endorsed Harrison. Democratic parties of Atlantic and Ocean counties endorsed Booker, but he is rejecting their organization lines and running in a column on the ballot with Harrison.

Incumbent Rep. Jeff Van Drew joined the Republican Party in December following his vote against impeaching President Donald Trump, leaving the June 2 Democratic primary open. 

MT Democratic Party objects to GOP-funded Green Party ballot qualification

Montana’s Green Party has qualified for a place on the 2020 ballot — without doing any work.

According to the Independent Record, the Greens earned their ballot slot thanks to Montana’s Republican Party, which funded the signature gathering effort that successfully qualified the third party.

Two Green Party candidates filed for the June 2 U.S. Senate primary: Dennis Daneke and Wendie Fredrickson.

MTN News reported, “Daneke, a retired professor of sustainable construction technology who lives in Lolo, says he was essentially recruited by Democrats to defeat Frederickson in the Green Party primary – and, then, once on the general election ballot, he might withdraw from the race.”

Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Sandi Luckey said, “The Republican Party contracted people to masquerade as Green Party members, and lied to Montanans in an effort to tamper with our elections.” She also called on the secretary of state to disqualify the Green Party from the ballot.

The state Democratic Party had filed a complaint March 16 asking the state commissioner of political practice to investigate who funded the signature-gathering effort, saying that the effort’s backer did not register appropriately with the commissioner’s office. 

The Independent Record reported that the committee funding the effort “was unable to register as a minor party qualification committee because that wasn’t set up as an option in a drop-down window on the Commissioner of Political Practices office’s website [according to Chuck Denowh, who helped set up the committee]. 

Instead, Montanans for Conservation registered as an independent committee and noted in a section of the form asking which candidates or issues it supported in the 2020 election that it would ‘Support conservation-minded candidates (and) serve as the minor party qualification committee to qualify the Green Party to hold primary elections in Montana.'”

Incumbent Sen. Steve Daines (R) and Governor and former presidential candidate Steve Bullock (D) are running in their respective parties’ primaries.

Lewis and Clark County Commissioner Susan Good-Geise is the Libertarian candidate in the general election. She became the party’s replacement candidate after Eric Fulton, who Libertarians say was planted by the Republican Party, withdrew just before the filing deadline.

Three election forecasters rate the Senate race Lean Republican. Daines was first elected in 2014 with 57.8% of the vote to state Rep. Amanda Curtis’ (D) 40.1% and Roger Roots’ (L) 2.1%.

State executives

Cook Political Report downgrades Republican chances of winning Missouri governor race

The Cook Political Report updated its race ratings for this year’s 11 gubernatorial elections. Among the changes: Cook downgraded Republicans’ chances of winning Missouri’s gubernatorial election, shifting the race from Solid to Likely Republican. It did not adjust its ratings in the other 10 gubernatorial races.

Seven states with Republican governors and four with Democratic governors are holding elections this year. Cook rated six of the 11 contests as “safe”, meaning that one party is all but certain to win in November. Cook says Democrats are the likely winners in Delaware and Washington and Republicans in Indiana, North Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia. Missouri joins New Hampshire and Vermont as a state Cook projects will likely remain under Republican control. 

Cook projects North Carolina’s race leans towards incumbent Roy Cooper (D) over challenger Dan Forest (R). The only state currently listed as a toss-up is Montana, where incumbent Steve Bullock (D) is term-limited. Although Democrats have held the state’s governorship since 2004, Montana has leaned towards Republicans on the national level. The last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Montana was Bill Clinton (D) in 1992, and the state has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. House since 1994.

Cook believes the coronavirus pandemic and the relative strength of Democratic challenger Nicole Galloway (D-Mo.) are the two major factors behind their rating change. Cook said incumbent Mike Parson (R-Mo.) was one of four governors who had not taken public action in response to the coronavirus pandemic by March 17 and said that a perceived lack of action could harm his prospects in the general election. Parson faces three challengers in the Aug. 4 primary, while Galloway is among five Democrats in the running.

Rep. Denny Heck to run for lieutenant governor of Washington

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, who had announced last year he would not seek re-election, filed to run for lieutenant governor of Washington Friday. Incumbent Cyrus Habib (D) announced last month he would join the Jesuit Order rather than seeking re-election.

Heck was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012 and sits on the Financial Services and Intelligence committees. He served 10 years as a member of the state House between 1976 and 1986, including as majority leader. 

Four other candidates have so far declared for the office, including state Sens. Steve Hobbs (D) and Marko Liias (D) as well as Heck’s general election opponent for U.S. House in 2018, Joseph Brumbles (R). 

Under Washington’s top-two primary system, every candidate in the running will appear on the same ballot in the Aug. 4 primary. The top two finishers, regardless of partisan affiliation, will advance to the general election.

The Bend Bulletin endorses Shemia Fagan for secretary of state

The Bend Bulletin endorsed state Sen. Shemia Fagan for Oregon secretary of state Saturday. The Bulletin is the daily newspaper of Bend, Oregon, the state’s seventh-largest city.

Fagan, 2018 congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and state Sen. Mark Hass are the three candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state. McLeod-Skinner’s other endorsers include the Victory Fund and former Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, while Hass’ include former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and three of his colleagues in the state Senate.

The May 19 primary is open to registered Democrats only.

Legislatures

Newcomer cites generational divide in challenge to veteran SC state rep.

State Rep. Jimmy Bales (D-80) will face a June primary challenge from Jermaine Johnson (D) for House District 80. Bales, 84, was first elected to District 80 in 1998 and has won re-election ten times. Johnson, 34, was the chair of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s (D) campaign in South Carolina. He has not held office.

Drawing attention to the age difference between himself and Bales, Johnson said, “It’s time to move forward … the current representative doesn’t represent what my community looks like now.” Bales discussed seniority in state government, saying, “You have to be up there awhile before you can do much to help your district and get money appropriated for projects … Things don’t just happen quick.” The winner of the primary will likely face Vincent Wilson (R), the only Republican filed to run in District 80. 

14 of the 61 incumbent Democrats seeking re-election to the South Carolina state Legislature will have primaries.

First-term Missouri representative will not seek re-election

First-term state Rep. Matt Sain (D-14) announced he would not seek re-election to his Kansas City-area seat. Sain first won election to House District 14 in 2018 after defeating incumbent Rep. Kevin Corlew (R) 50.2-49.8%, a margin of 85 votes.

Sain’s decision leaves the House seat open. It also leaves Ashley Aune (D) as the only Democrat in the race. She will likely face Eric Holmes (R), the only Republican filed to run for the seat prior to the March 31 filing deadline. 

Former Wyoming House minority whip announces run for Senate seat setting up primary against school district trustee

James Byrd (D) announced he will run for Wyoming’s Senate District 8. Byrd previously represented House District 44, much of which is located in Senate District 8, from 2008 to 2018 and served as minority whip from 2013 to 2015. 

Byrd’s entry into the race sets up a Democratic primary against Nate Breen (D), who filed to run for the District 8 seat in February. Breen currently serves as an at-large representative on the Laramie County School District 1 board of trustees. He was first elected in 2016.

The winner of the primary will face Sen. Affie Ellis (R-08), who was first elected to District 8 in 2016 after defeating incumbent Sen. Floyd Esquibel (D) 61-29%.

Power players

“Progressive Turnout Project is the largest grassroots-funded field program in the country. Our mission: Get Democrats to vote. We design, test, and execute specialized voter turnout programs targeting inconsistent Democratic voters in the most competitive states and districts in the country.” – Progressive Turnout Project website

Founded in 2015, Progressive Turnout Project is a political action committee that describes itself as a “grassroots-funded organization dedicated to connecting with voters one-on-one and getting Democrats to the polls.” 

On April 2, The Hill reported that the organization planned to spend $2.9 million on a phonebanking campaign targeting an estimated 12 million swing-state voters. The group’s executive director stated, “With COVID-19, activists are looking for ways to engage with voters while practicing safe distancing and Turnout 2020 helps with that.” 

In December 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, the organization announced a $45 million plan to increase Democratic turnout by training 1,100 field staff with a goal of knocking on 7 million doors in 16 battleground states. The group subsequently increased that goal to 10.1 million doors in 17 states.

Progressive Turnout Project endorses candidates it deems “voting rights champions who will support the fundamental right to vote that’s central to our work as an organization.” To view a list of endorsed candidates, click here



Trump campaign spokeswoman appointed White House press secretary

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 8, 2020: Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany replaced Stephanie Grisham as White House press secretary. Priorities USA is releasing seven digital ads that criticize Donald Trump for his response to the pandemic.  blank    blankblank   


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:

  • Wisconsin: In-person voting took place on Tuesday. Election results will not be made public until April 13.


Notable Quote of the Day

“But the traditional ways that candidates and political parties raise money is just not happening anymore. Instead, there are virtual fundraisers, which may not be as lucrative.

The biggest factor in fundraising, however, could be the larger economic collapse that is under way. The bedrock of modern political fundraising is to have a wide base of low-dollar contributors. Today, many of these regular people have lost a job, had pay reduced, gotten sick, and are looking to spend $15 on paper towels, not on the future of the Supreme Court.

This is where wealthy donors could play an outsized role in this campaign, more than ever before. A few people can give an unlimited amount of money to an organization, which can spend a record amount on ads for just a few weeks. Here’s looking at you, Mike Bloomberg and Sheldon Adelson.”

– James Pindell, The Boston Globe

Democrats

  • Joe Biden wrote a message to Jewish families celebrating Passover during the pandemic on the Medium website.

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) endorsed Biden on Tuesday, marking Biden’s 16th endorsement from a U.S. senator.

  • Bernie Sanders held a livestream discussion Tuesday night on the disproportionate effect the coronavirus pandemic is having on black Americans.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany replaced Stephanie Grisham as White House press secretary on Tuesday.

General Election Updates

  • Priorities USA is releasing 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.

Flashback: April 8, 2016

Bernie Sanders announced that he would visit Vatican City four days before the New York state primary.

Click here to learn more.



Wisconsin will hold elections Tuesday after Evers exec order enjoined

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 7, 2020: Wisconsin Supreme Court enjoins Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order to postpone the election until June 9. The Democratic National Committee announced it was spending $22 million on YouTube ads in the general election.        

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:

  • Wisconsin: In-person voting is taking place today. On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court enjoined 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 be postmarked by April 7.

Poll Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“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 Nicholas, The Atlantic

Democrats

  • Joe Biden spoke to Donald Trump on Monday about the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic during a phone call. His campaign said in a statement, “Biden shared several suggestions for actions the Administration can take now to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and expressed his appreciation for the spirit of the American people in meeting the challenges facing the nation.”
  • Rep. John Lewis (Ga.) endorsed Biden on Tuesday. Potential vice presidential pick,  Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also appeared on Biden’s podcast on Monday.
  • Bernie Sanders criticized the Wisconsin Supreme Court for blocking Gov. Tony Evers’ order to postpone in-person voting in the state until June 9. He said his campaign would not conduct traditional GOTV activities in Wisconsin due to public health concerns. “Let’s be clear: holding this election amid the coronavirus outbreak is dangerous, disregards the guidance of public health experts, and may very well prove deadly,” he said in a statement.

Republicans

  • CNN profiled Donald Trump’s campaign strategy, including rapid response teams,  streaming content targeting different demographic groups, and the use of White House press briefings.
  • During the briefing on Monday, Trump discussed the Paycheck Protection Program and said 3M would produce 166,000 face masks for frontline healthcare workers.

General Election Updates

What We’re Reading

Flashback: 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.

Click here to learn more.



Judge denies Alaska State Employees Association request for court order for COVID-19 guideline compliance

On March 31, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews denied a request from the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA), an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, seeking an injunction regarding the state’s COVID-19 guidelines for government workers.

The ASEA informed members on March 23 it would seek a court order requiring the state to “comply with social distancing federal and state guidelines for those employees who are essential, provide proper equipment for employees who interface with the public, and allow those non-essential state employees to telework.” The union filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on March 24.

According to a press release from the Alaska Department of Law, Attorney General Kevin Clarkson approved of Judge Matthews’ ruling, saying, “These are unprecedented times and we must all step up to do what we can to get through this pandemic, while still keeping the State functioning to provide essential services to Alaskans.”

ASEA Executive Director Jake Metcalfe said, “Without the Administration taking action and adhering to the strictest measures and precautions, we risk our entire workforce for state government falling ill or becoming carriers of this novel coronavirus which could overwhelm our healthcare infrastructure and shut government down. … ASEA is going to review the order and decide what it may do next.”

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 93 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map April 3, 2020.png.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart April 3, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart April 3, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state, then by bill number.

  • No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.
  • Five state legislatures held regular sessions this week.
  • As of Apr. 3, 25 state legislatures had suspended their sessions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (New York and Vermont reconvened). Nineteen legislatures either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year. Minnesota partially suspended legislative activity.

For more on changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.



Nominee announced for only open U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacancy

Ballotpedia's Bold Justice

Welcome to the April 6 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Stay up-to-date on the latest news by following us on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Ballotpedia is monitoring the impact of the outbreak on U.S. politics and elections and providing comprehensive coverage to our readers. This coverage includes federal, state, and local government actions; changes in election dates and procedures; and affected elected officials. For for the latest developments, see the following articles:


We #SCOTUS so you don't have to

Arguments

The Supreme Court justices will not hear arguments this week.

On April 3, the court announced it was postponing the eight hours of oral argument originally scheduled as part of its April sitting. The court had previously postponed the 11 hours of oral argument originally scheduled for its March sitting. The delays were “in keeping with public health precautions recommended in response to COVID-19.”

Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term. Click here for Ballotpedia’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.


Opinions

SCOTUS has ruled on six cases since our March 23 issue. The court has issued rulings in 20 cases so far this term.  The court released opinions in two cases on April 6. We’ll cover those in our next edition of Bold Justice!

Click the links below to read more about the specific case SCOTUS ruled on since March 23:

  • March 23

    • Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owned Media was argued before the court on November 13, 2019.

      The case: Entertainment Studios, an African American-owned television network operator, sued Comcast Corporation alleging it refused to contract with Entertainment Studios because of race. Entertainment Studios claimed Comcast violated 42 U.S.C. § 1981. 42 U.S.C. § 1981 provides that “all persons . . . have the same right . . . to make and enforce contracts . . . as is enjoyed by white citizens.”

      The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed Entertainment Studio’s claims. On appeal, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the district court’s ruling.

      The outcome: In a unanimous opinion, the court vacated and remanded the 9th Circuit’s decision. The court held 42 U.S.C. § 1981 does not provide an exception to but-for legal principle, in which a plaintiff must prove his or her injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s illegal conduct. In other words, African American-owned television network operator Entertainment Studios must plead and prove that Comcast Corporation would have acted differently if Entertainment Studios were not owned by African-Americans.

      Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

    • Allen v. Cooper was argued before the court on November 5, 2019.

      The case: Frederick Allen, a videographer retained to document the salvaging of the state-owned ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, sued North Carolina for copyright infringement. Allen also asked the court to declare unconstitutional N.C. Gen. Stat. § 121–25(b), making public records of photos, videos, recordings, and other documentary materials of a shipwreck. Allen claimed the law was passed in bad faith. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina held the state was not protected from immunity under the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act. On appeal, the 4th Circuit reversed and remanded the district court’s ruling.

      The outcome: The court affirmed the 4th Circuit’s decision in a 9-0 ruling, holding Congress did not have the authority to abrogate—or take away—state sovereign immunity from copyright infringement suits under the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act.

      Justice Elena Kagan delivered the opinion of the court. Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh joined. Justice Clarence Thomas joined in part and filed an opinion concurring in part and in the judgment. Justice Stephen Breyer also filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Ginsburg.

      In her opinion, Justice Kagan wrote that Supreme Court precedent established in Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank (1999) “precluded Congress from using its Article I powers—including its authority over copyrights—to deprive States of sovereign immunity.”

    • Kahler v. Kansas was argued before the court on October 7, 2019.

      The case: James Kahler was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. According to Oyez, Kansas law prohibits a jury from considering mental disorders as a criminal defense “insofar as it shows ‘that the defendant lacked the mental state required as an element of the offense charged.'”

      On appeal, Kahler argued the prosecution violated his right to a fair trial. The Kansas Supreme Court rejected Kahler’s argument, affirming his conviction and sentence. Kahler appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing Kansas law violates the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments and the 14th Amendment’s due process guarantee.

      The outcome: In a 6-3 opinion, the court affirmed the ruling of the Kansas Supreme Court. The court held that the Constitution’s due process clause does not compel “the acquittal of any defendant who, because of mental illness, could not tell right from wrong when committing his crime” in Kansas.

      Justice Kagan wrote the opinion of the court. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

    • Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr was argued before the court on December 9, 2019.

      The case: Pedro Pablo Guerrero-Lasprilla, a Colombian national living in the United States, was deported in 1998 after being convicted of aggravated felonies. In 2016, Guerrero-Lasprilla petitioned to reopen his removal proceedings. An immigration judge denied the petition on the grounds it was untimely. The Board of Immigration Appeals denied Guerrero-Lasprilla’s appeal. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction. The case was consolidated with Ovalles v. Barr.

      The outcome: The U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded the 5th Circuit’s ruling with a 7-2 vote in favor of Guerrero-Lasprilla and Ovalles. Congress placed limits on judicial review of agency decisions to deport people who have committed certain crimes. The court ruled that those limits did not apply to Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr and Ovalles v. Barr.

      Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the court. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh joined the opinion. Justice Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion joined, in part, by Justice Alito.

    • Davis v. United States was not argued before the court.

      The case: A federal grand jury indicted Charles Davis Jr. for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for possessing drugs with the intent to distribute them. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas sentenced Davis to four years and nine months in prison. The district court ordered consecutive sentences for pending state charges against Davis.

      Davis did not object to his sentence before the district court. He then appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 5th Circuit did not employ plain error review and affirmed the district court’s decision. Davis appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      The outcome: In a per curiam opinion, the court vacated and remanded the 5th Circuit’s ruling. According to SCOTUSblog, the court held “there is no legal basis for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s practice of declining to review certain unpreserved factual arguments for plain error.”

      per curiam decision is issued collectively by the court. The authorship is not indicated.

  • March 30

    • CITGO Asphalt Refining Co. v. Frescati Shipping Co., Ltd. was argued before the court on November 5, 2019.

      The case: An abandoned anchor in the Delaware River pierced the hull of the Athos I, an oil tanker, causing nearly 264,000 gallons of crude oil to spill into the river. The cost of the cleanup was $143 million. Frescati, the shipowner, paid for the cleanup effort and was later reimbursed for $88 million by the U.S. federal government. Frescati and the U.S. sued CITGO, the intended oil recipient, for a portion of the costs.

      A U.S. district judge found CITGO was not liable to pay for the cleanup effort. On appeal, the 3rd Circuit affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the case. On remand, the district court held CITGO was liable to Frescati for breach of contract, holding Frescati was a beneficiary of CITGO’s safe berth warranty. On appeal a second time, the 3rd Circuit affirmed in part the district court’s judgment in favor of the U.S. regarding CITGO’s breach of contract liability.

      The outcome: The court affirmed the 3rd Circuit’s decision in a 7-2 ruling, holding a safe berth clause in a voyage charter contract is a guarantee of a ship’s safety.

      Justice Sotomayor wrote the opinion of the court. In her opinion, Justice Sotomayor wrote, “The charterer’s assurance of a safe berth is the entire root of the safe-berth clause, and crucially, it is not subject to qualifications or conditions.”

      Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Alito.


Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest in April, pending further notice:

  • April 6: SCOTUS will release orders and/or opinions.

  • April 17: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

  • April 20: SCOTUS will release orders and/or opinions.

  • April 24: SCOTUS will conference.

  • April 27: SCOTUS will release orders and/or opinions.


The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from March 3 to April 2.

Highlights

  • Vacancies: There have been three new judicial vacancies since the February 2020 report. As of April 2, 75 (or 8.6%) of 870 active Article III judicial positions on the courts covered in this report were vacant.

    Including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, 81 of 890 active federal judicial positions are vacant.

  • Nominations: There have been three new nominations since the February 2020 report.

  • Confirmations: There have not been any new confirmations since the February 2020 report.

Vacancy count for April 2, 2020

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies on the federal courts, click here.



*Though the United States territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are created in accordance with the power granted under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.


New vacancies

Three judges left active status, creating Article III vacancies. As Article III judicial positions, these vacancies must be filled by a presidential nomination. Nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals from the inauguration of President Donald Trump (R) on January 20, 2017 to April 2, 2020.



Nominee announced for only open U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacancy

On March 30, the president said he would nominate Judge Cory Wilson to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Wilson had previously been nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on his nomination on January 8 but no action further had been taken.

Wilson was nominated to succeed Judge E. Grady Jolly, who assumed senior status on October 3, 2017. Jolly’s former seat on the 5th Circuit is the only vacancy among the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeal. The last time there was a single federal appeals court vacancy was in July 1984.

As of publication, there are two upcoming Court of Appeals vacancies. Andrew Brasher was already confirmed to succeed Judge Ed Carnes on the 11th Circuit. Carnes is expected to assume senior status on June 30. Judge Thomas Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced he would retire on September 1. Justin Walker was nominated April 3 to succeed Griffith.


U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map displays federal district court vacancies as of April 2.



New nominations

President Trump has announced three new nominations since the February 2020 report.

  • Hala Jarbou, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

  • Cory Wilson, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

  • Kristi Haskins Johnson, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

The president has announced 252 Article III judicial nominations since taking office January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017, 92 in 2018, and 77 in 2019. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.


New confirmations

Between March 3 and April 2, 2020, the Senate did not confirm any of the president’s nominees to Article III courts.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 193 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—138 district court judges, 51 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, if you prefer, we also maintain a list of individuals the president has nominated.


Looking ahead
We’ll be back May 4 with a new edition of Bold Justice.

Click here to learn more.



Biden begins veep vetting process

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 6, 2020: Joe Biden has begun to vet candidates for vice president. Bernie Sanders released his list of priorities for the next coronavirus relief bill.


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


How long was the shortest presidential nominating convention in U.S. history?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Guns. Climate change. Immigration reform. Financial reform. Education reform. Criminal-justice reform. Spending proposals. Tax proposals. The Democratic presidential race was the thickest any race had ever been on policy. Every candidate had an advisory team; every advisory team had white papers and bullet points and ideas of what could, theoretically, happen once its candidate was in the White House and Congress was ready to play along.

Thanks to the coronavirus, that’s all gone. Aside from health-care reform, the pandemic has almost completely overtaken the presidential campaign—and the health-care arguments are mired in the same dug-in pleas for and against Medicare for All that they were over the past year. The coronavirus crisis has rewritten the rules about the scope of the bills Congress can pass, sucked up trillions of dollars in government money, driven the economy into a recession and possibly a global depression, and made clear that its aftermath will define the next four years, no matter who wins in November.”

– Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic

Democrats

  • In an interview on ABC’s This Week on SundayJoe Biden said the Democratic Party should consider holding a virtual convention. He also said Capt. Brett Crozier should have received a commendation for raising concerns about the spread of coronavirus on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. “I think it’s close to criminal the way they’re dealing with this guy,” Biden said.

  • Biden said during a virtual fundraiser on Friday that he is vetting candidates for vice president. He said he informed Bernie Sanders that he had begun the process.

  • Sanders released his “Priorities for the Next Coronavirus Relief Package” on Friday, which includes monthly direct payments of $2,000 to every person in the United States regardless of immigration status. He also called for guaranteed paid medical and sick leave for all workers and hazard pay for essential and frontline workers. He also said the Defense Production Act should be used for the production of personal protective equipment. Sanders called for canceling all student loan payments and suspending monthly payments like rent, mortgages, medical debt, and consumer debt collection.

  • The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir and other senior advisers have encouraged Sanders to withdraw from the presidential race.

Republicans

  • During the coronavirus briefing on Friday, Donald Trump recommended that Americans wear face masks in public where social distancing is not possible to maintain. The White House also said that anyone coming into contact with the president would be tested for coronavirus first.

  • Trump said the NFL season should begin in September as usual during a conference call with officials from major sports leagues on Saturday.

Flashback: April 6, 2016

Donald Trump held a rally on Long Island with 15,000 attendees.blank

Click here to learn more.



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 HealthCare.gov 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.

Experience:

  • 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?



DNC postpones national convention until August

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 3, 2020: The Democratic National Convention was postponed from July to August. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders called for Iran sanctions relief.        

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:

  • Democratic National Convention: 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 Solmones. “More than anything we continue to monitor the public health landscape.”

  • 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 submit absentee ballots be extended from April 7 to April 13. The primary remains scheduled for April 7.

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

Experience:

  • 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

Notable Quote of the Day

“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

Democrats

  • During a virtual fundraiser on Thursday, Joe Biden said Bernie Sanders should not be pushed out of the race. He said, “Now’s not the time for me or anyone to call for him to drop out. I know firsthand what a personal decision that is.”
  • Biden called for the Trump administration to ease economic sanctions against Iran on Thursday. He said in a statement, “In times of global crisis, America should lead. We should be the first to offer help to people who are hurting or in danger. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been. And, in the midst of this deadly pandemic that respects no borders, the United States should take steps to offer what relief we can to those nations hardest hit by this virus — including Iran — even as we prioritize the health of the American people.”
  • Sanders co-signed a letter to Secretaries Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin earlier this week calling for the U.S. to suspend sanctions on Iran during the coronavirus pandemic. “Rather than continue to invoke new sanctions in the Iranian people’s hour of need, we urge you to substantially suspend sanctions on Iran during this global public health emergency in a humanitarian gesture to the Iranian people to better enable them to fight the virus,” the letter said.
  • Sanders called for airline grants in the coronavirus relief bill to be approved to fund the paychecks and benefits of 2 million airline workers.

Republicans

  • During the daily coronavirus task force daily briefing, Donald Trump and his team discussed supply chain issues for masks, ventilators, and other medical supplies. Trump also tested negative for the coronavirus for a second time.

General Election Updates

  • 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.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 3, 2016

Approximately 2,000 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated outside of CNN’s Los Angeles bureau to protest against media bias.

Click here to learn more.



America First Action launches $10 million ad campaign against Biden

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 2, 2020: America First Action is spending $10 million to target Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Biden expects the Democratic National Convention to be postponed from July to August. blank    blankblank   


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:

  • West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice announced on Wednesday that West Virginia’s primary will be postponed from May 12 to June 9.


Notable Quote of the Day

“Voters in swing states with larger coronavirus outbreaks could behave differently than other swing states on Election Day due to the effects from the outbreak. An extended order to shut down businesses, for instance, could keep more people out of work and strain local businesses. Those in states with a higher death toll could be more critical of Trump’s leadership.”

– Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner

Democrats

  • Joe Biden said he believed the Democratic National Convention would have to be postponed from July to August due to the coronavirus. “And then, even then, the Republican and Democratic conventions are going to have to…be prepared for the alternative.” He said it would be easier to move since the Olympics Games were postponed until 2021.

  • Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said the campaign would communicate with Donald Trump’s team to arrange a phone call between Biden and Trump on the coronavirus.

  • In an interview on ABC’s The ViewBernie Sanders defended his decision to remain in the race. “Last I heard, people in a Democracy have a right to vote and have a right to vote for the agenda that they think can work for America,” he said.

  • Sanders also called for Wisconsin to postpone its April 7 primary due to concerns with the coronavirus. He said early voting should be extended and the election should move to be entirely vote-by-mail.

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

Republicans

  • Donald Trump campaign director of communications Tim Murtaugh discussed campaign strategy with surrogates on Wednesday. According to NBC News, Murtaugh said, “This is the bottom line: President Trump is leading the nation in this war against the coronavirus, and Joe Biden, the Democrats and the media have decided to be the opposition in that war.”

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

Flashback: 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. “The internal review is on hold, pending completion of the FBI’s work. We’ll reassess next steps after the FBI’s work is complete,” said State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau.blank

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