Tag2020 presidential coverage

Weekly Presidential News Briefing – May 29, 2020

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

“Peter Navarro, a Trump trade and manufacturing adviser who’s a Harvard-educated economist, called the high unemployment America is currently facing ‘manufactured unemployment, which is to say that Americans are out of work not because of any underlying economic weaknesses but to save American lives. It is this observation that gives us the best chance and hope for a relatively rapid recovery as the economy reopens.’ …

The scenario would be a major long-term problem for any president. But before that reality sets in, Trump could be poised to benefit from the dramatic numbers produced during the partial rebound phase that is likely to coincide with the four months before November.

That realization has many Democrats spooked. …

[Democratic strategist Kenneth Baer said], ‘On Election Day, we Democrats need voters to ask themselves, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Republicans need voters to ask themselves, “Are you better off than you were four months ago?”‘”

Ryan Lizza and Daniel Lippman, Politico 

“Just about every poll we’ve seen on this issue demonstrates bipartisan support for expanding vote-by-mail systems and offering Americans safe voting options this year.

If rejecting vote-by-mail is part of a Republican strategy to win in November, it’s a short-sighted one. Old-line opposition to voting reform is only alienating GOP voters at a time when many Republican Senate candidates are lagging behind Democrats in fundraising and polling. The same Hart Research Associates poll showed that 40 percent of Republicans would react unfavorably toward a GOP senator who opposed diversifying options for voting. The data are clear: Voters of both parties don’t want their access to the ballot to be limited. My party should listen to the voters.”

Michael Steele, National Review

“The Democratic Party is pushing mail-in voting as the safest way to cast ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the party is struggling to persuade a bedrock constituency: African Americans. …

During the most recent national elections, the 2018 congressional midterms, only about 11% of black voters cast their ballots by mail, according to Census figures. That’s the lowest percentage of any measured ethnic group, and it’s just under half the rate of white voters.

There are a variety of reasons. For African Americans such as Fason, striding to the polls is a powerful act, both symbolic and substantive. Some black voters fear their mail ballots might get lost or rejected. African Americans are more transient than other racial groups and have high rates of homelessness, government statistics show, major barriers to mail voting.”

John Whitesides, Reuters

Week in Review

Biden wins Hawaii’s presidential primary

Joe Biden won the Hawaii Democratic primary on Friday, May 22, with 63.2% of the vote to Bernie Sanders’ 36.8%. Biden won 16 pledged delegates to Sanders’ eight. The primary was held entirely by mail in response to the coronavirus pandemic and incorporated ranked-choice voting. Hawaii’s Republican Party announced on December 11, 2019, that it would not hold a presidential preference vote.

Libertarian Party nominates presidential ticket

The Libertarian Party selected Jo Jorgensen as its presidential nominee on Saturday, May 23, during the Libertarian National Convention. Spike Cohen was selected as the party’s vice-presidential nominee the next day.

Biden apologizes, Trump campaign attacks over comments on The Breakfast Club

Biden apologized for saying, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” in an interview on The Breakfast Club. He said, “I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African American vote for granted. But nothing could be further [from] the truth.” Trump’s campaign is spending $1 million on digital ads attacking Biden over his statement.   

Trump, RNC question location of national convention

Following a series of tweets from Trump regarding the possibility of moving the Republican National Convention away from Charlotte, North Carolina, Vice President Mike Pence stated, “We all want to be in Charlotte, we love North Carolina, but having a sense now is absolutely essential because of the immense preparations that are involved and we look forward to working with Gov. Cooper, getting a swift response, and if need be moving the national convention to a state that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that we can gather there.”  

According to Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, other states have offered to host the convention. McDaniel said, “The president is right to say to the governor, you need to assure us before we lock in all these hotel rooms and we bring all of this revenue to your state that you’re going to let us have this convention. … There’s a lot of states that are calling the president right now saying, hey, why don’t you bring that revenue to our state?”

On Thursday, RNC leaders sent North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) an outline of their planned safety precautions for the convention. The letter said, “If there are any additional guidelines to what is outlined above that we will be expected to meet, you need to let us know by Wednesday, June 3.” 

Coming up: Seven states and D.C. to hold presidential primaries Tuesday

Seven states and the District of Columbia are holding presidential primaries on Tuesday, June 2: Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. Four of the states rescheduled their primaries to June 2 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. One state—New Jersey—moved its primary from June 2 to July 7. Across the Democratic primaries, 479 pledged delegates are available to be allocated on June 2, which is 12% of all pledged delegates available. Only Super Tuesday, held on March 3, had more delegates at stake on one day. 

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Cole Blocker is a Republican staffer with experience in fundraising and campaign finance. Blocker graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s degree in management science and operations research.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, aide to vice chairman for finance Woody Johnson
  • 2016 Jeb Bush presidential campaign, aide to national finance chairman Woody Johnson

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: White House Visitors Office, deputy director
  • 2015-2017: Grigsby Applegate, LLC, project consultant

What we read this week

Flashback: May 26-29, 2016

  • May 29, 2016: Trump gave a speech at the Lincoln Memorial to participants in the Memorial Day weekend Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. He said, “When you think of the great General Patton and all our generals, they are spinning in their graves when they watch we can’t beat ISIS. … We are going to knock the hell out of them.”
  • May 28, 2016: Bernie Sanders said in an interview on Meet the Press that if Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination, she would need to pick a progressive running mate who could “excite working families, excite young people, bring them into the political process, create a large voter turnout.”
  • May 27, 2016: After telling Jimmy Kimmel that he would debate Sanders if ABC made a donation to charity, Trump issued the following statement: “[N]ow that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. … Therefore, as much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders – and it would be an easy payday – I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
  • May 26, 2016: In an ABC News interview following a State Department report on her use of a private email server while secretary of state, Clinton said, “This report makes clear that personal email use was the practice for other secretaries of state. … But it was still a mistake. And as I’ve said many times, if I could go back, I would do it differently. I know people have concerns about this, I understand that, but I think voters are going to be looking at the full picture of what I have to offer … and the full threat that Donald Trump offers our country.”


Jo Jorgensen wins Libertarian Party presidential nomination

The Libertarian Party selected Jo Jorgensen as its presidential nominee on Saturday, May 23, during the Libertarian National Convention.
Party delegates nominated six candidates to be on the initial ballot. Candidates were eliminated on each subsequent ballot until one candidate received a majority of the vote. Jorgensen received 51% of the vote on the fourth ballot, defeating candidates Jacob Hornberger and Vermin Supreme.
The Libertarian National Convention was originally scheduled to take place May 21-25 in Austin, Texas. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nomination portion of the national convention was moved online from May 22-24. The party plans to conduct a separate in-person convention for other party business July 8-12 in Orlando, Florida.


Eight states to hold primaries on June 2 after four states push primaries back from April and May

Eight states are holding statewide primaries on June 2, 2020: Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. Four states did not originally plan to hold primaries on this date, but postponed them amid the coronavirus pandemic. Maryland and Pennsylvania’s primaries were originally scheduled for April 28, Indiana’s primary was scheduled for May 5, and Idaho’s primary was scheduled for May 19.

Three states are holding their primaries largely by mail instead of in-person due to the pandemic. Idaho maintained its original election day, May 19, as the final day for voters to register to vote and request mail-in ballots. June 2 is the deadline for county clerks to receive mail-in ballots. All counties in Montana opted to conduct their primaries by mail after a state directive gave them the authority and choice to do so. Maryland is also conducting its primary largely by mail.

Three states expanded absentee voting in response to Covid-19. In Indiana, the regular absentee voting eligibility requirements were temporarily suspended, meaning all voters can request to vote by mail. Iowa and South Dakota, which have no-excuse absentee voting, sent absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. Iowa also extended the absentee voting period from 29 days before the election to 40 days.

In addition to moving its primary date, Pennsylvania is allowing counties to begin tabulating absentee ballots before 8 p.m. on election day and counties can temporarily consolidate polling places. In Pennsylvania, all voters are eligible to cast absentee ballots.

No changes to the statewide primary were announced for New Mexico amid the coronavirus pandemic. The state does not have eligibility requirements to vote absentee.

Additional reading:



RNC outraises DNC by nearly two-to-one, Republican Hill committees outraise Democratic counterparts

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by nearly two-to-one in April, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on May 20. The DNC had reported its best fundraising totals of the campaign cycle in March 2020, outraising the RNC for the first time since October 2018.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $11.5 million and spent $6.2 million last month, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $9.0 million and spent $5.0 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 8.8% more than the DSCC ($109.5 million to $100.3 million). The NRSC’s 8.8% fundraising advantage is up from 7.0% in April but down from 10.1% in March.

On the House side, the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) raised $11.4 million and spent $8.0 million, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $11.3 million and spent $9.6 million. So far in the cycle, the DCCC has raised 27.8% more than the NRCC ($179.8 million to $135.9 million). The DCCC’s 27.8% fundraising advantage is down from 30.0% in April and 30.9% in March.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although their advantage in the House was smaller than in this cycle. The DSCC had raised 17.6% more than the NRSC ($76.3 million to $63.9 million), while the DCCC had raised 21.5% more than the NRCC ($150.9 million to $121.6 million).

Last month, the RNC raised $27.1 million and spent $27.0 million to the DNC’s $15.3 million in fundraising and $10.7 million in spending. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 72.4% more than the DNC ($345.7 million to $161.9 million). The RNC’s 72.4% fundraising advantage is down from 73.9% in April and 88.4% in March.

At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle), the RNC had a smaller 44.0% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($150.4 million to $96.2 million).

So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 28.9% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($591.1 million to $442.0 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is up from 28.4% in April but down from 35.0% in March.

Additional reading:



Biden outraised Trump in April, Trump continues to lead in overall fundraising and cash on hand

Joe Biden outraised Donald Trump by more than two-to-one last month, while Trump had a nearly two-to-one advantage in cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on May 20.

The Biden campaign raised $43.6 million in April, 88% more than the Trump campaign’s $16.9 million. Biden’s campaign spent 50% more than Trump’s ($12.9 million to $7.7 million). As of April 30, the Trump campaign had 61% more cash on hand than the Biden campaign ($107.7 million to $57.1 million). Trump continues to lead Biden in overall fundraising since the beginning of 2017, having raised 38% more ($262.5 million to $178.4 million).

Biden’s campaign raised 6.6% less in April than it did in March ($43.6 million versus $46.7 million), while Trump’s raised 24.3% more ($16.9 million versus $13.6 million).

Trump’s $262.5 million in overall fundraising is the second-highest figure for any presidential candidate at this point in the past three elections. The only candidate that outraised Trump was Barack Obama (D), who had raised an inflation-adjusted $345.7 million as of May 2008. Trump’s cash-on-hand total of $107.7 million is also the second-highest during this time, bested only by Obama’s inflation-adjusted $132.4 million at this point in his re-election campaign.

Biden and Trump’s combined $441.0 million in fundraising is the second-highest combined total when compared to the past three election cycles. At this point in the 2008 campaign, Obama and John McCain (R) had raised a combined inflation-adjusted $473.2 million.

Additional reading:



Delaware postpones presidential preference primary a second time

On May 7, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced a further postponement of the state’s presidential primary, this time to July 7. The presidential primary, which was originally scheduled to take place on April 28, was first postponed to June 2. Carney also announced that the state would mail absentee ballot applications automatically to all eligible voters in the primary.

Delaware is one of 20 states that have postponed state-level elections in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is also one of 26 states that have made modifications to their absentee/mail-in voting procedures in light of the outbreak.


Federal judge orders New York State Board of Elections to reinstate Democratic presidential preference primary on June 23

On May 5, Judge Analisa Torres of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the New York State Board of Elections to reinstate the Democratic presidential preference primary on June 23, 2020, which the board had previously canceled. The order was the result of a lawsuit filed on April 28 by Andrew Yang, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and several candidates for New York’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

The New York State Board of Elections canceled the Democratic presidential preference primary on April 27, operating from a state law enacted that month that authorized the board of elections to remove candidates from ballots upon the suspension or termination of their campaigns. Senator Bernie Sanders (I) suspended his presidential campaign on April 8, making former Vice President Joe Biden (D) the presumptive Democratic nominee.

To date, 20 states and one territory have postponed state-level elections. For more information, click on the “learn more” button below.


Joe Biden outraises Donald Trump in March while Trump retains cash on hand advantage

Joe Biden outraised Donald Trump by more than three-to-one last month, while Trump had a nearly four-to-one advantage in cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Monday.

The Biden campaign raised $46.7 million in March, 110% more than the Trump campaign’s $13.6 million. Biden’s campaign spent 109% more than Trump’s ($32.5 million to $9.6 million). As of March 31, the Trump campaign had 115% more cash on hand than the Biden campaign ($98.5 million to $26.4 million). Trump continues to lead Biden in overall fundraising since the beginning of 2017, having raised 58% more ($245.6 million to $134.8 million).

Trump’s $245.6 million in overall fundraising is the second-highest figure for any presidential candidate at this point in the past three elections. The only candidate to have out-raised Trump was Barack Obama (D), who had raised an inflation-adjusted $305.1 million as of April 2008. Trump’s cash-on-hand figure is also the second-highest during this time, bested only by Obama’s inflation-adjusted $119.7 million at this point in his re-election campaign.

Biden and Trump’s combined $380.4 million in fundraising is the second-highest combined total when compared to the past three election cycles. At this point in the 2008 campaign, Obama and John McCain (R) had raised a combined inflation-adjusted $409.1 million.



DNC outraises RNC for the first time in the 2020 election cycle

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) outraised the Republican National Committee (RNC) for the first time since October 2018 last month, according to April 2020 campaign finance reports filed with the FEC Monday.

The DNC raised $32.7 million and spent $11.0 million to the RNC’s $24.0 million in fundraising and $23.8 million in spending. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 73.9% more than the DNC ($318.6 million to $146.7 million). The RNC’s 73.9% fundraising advantage is down from 88.4% in March and 89.8% in February.

At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle) the RNC had a smaller 44.5% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($137.9 million to $87.7 million).

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $11.0 million and spent $6.1 million last month, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $9.1 million and spent $6.9 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 7.0% more than the DSCC ($98.0 million to $91.3 million). The NRSC’s 7.0% fundraising advantage is down from 10.1% in March and 8.4% in February.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $14.3 million and spent $6.2 million, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $11.6 million and spent $7.9 million. So far in the cycle, the DCCC has raised 30.0% more than the NRCC ($168.4 million to $124.5 million). The DCCC’s 30.0% fundraising advantage is down from 30.9% in March and 33.4% in February.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although their advantage in the House was smaller than in this cycle. The DSCC had raised 20.8% more than the NRSC ($71.3 million to $57.9 million), while the DCCC had raised 18.4% more than the NRCC ($139.7 million to $116.2 million).

So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 28.4% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($541.0 million to $406.5 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is down from 35.0% in March and 35.3% in February.

Additional reading:


Louisiana postpones presidential preference primary to July 11, 2020

Louisiana has postponed its presidential preference primary to July 11, 2020. This marks the second postponement of the primary, which was first postponed to June 20, 2020. The original date of the primary was April 4, 2020.

Louisiana joined Georgia and Puerto Rico in postponing its primaries a second time in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. To date, 20 states and one territory have postponed state-level primary or special elections.

Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting America’s political and civic life. Our coverage includes how federal, state, and local governments are responding, and the effects those responses are having on campaigns and elections.


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