The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida in play as Biden takes lead in poll

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE is trailing Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE in his home state. 

That’s according to a new Quinnipiac University poll of Florida released on Wednesday. The survey shows the former vice president leading Trump in the Sunshine State by a 4-point margin, and it’s only the latest to suggest that Trump may be in for a tough fight there. A survey from St. Pete Polls released last week showed the two men tied in Florida, while a University of North Florida poll out earlier this month found Biden ahead by 6 points. 

There’s some evidence that the coronavirus pandemic may be swaying voters in Florida. The Quinnipiac poll showed a slight majority of registered voters in the state — 51 percent — disapprove of the president’s handling of the outbreak. Forty-six percent approve of his efforts.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGOP tentatively decides on Jacksonville for site of convention DeSantis pushing to host Republican National Convention in Florida Florida bars and theaters to reopen starting Friday, DeSantis says MORE (R) fares better than Trump when it comes to voters’ views on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with 50 percent approving of his efforts and 41 percent disapproving.

Still, there’s a sense that DeSantis may have been slow to act as the coronavirus spread in the state. Sixty-one percent said that DeSantis could have responded sooner to the outbreak, while about 34 percent said he responded to the virus quickly enough. 

With 29 electoral votes at stake in November, Florida is the nation’s largest swing state and one of the most sought after prizes for any presidential candidate. Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden Valerie Jarrett: ‘Democracy depends upon having law enforcement’ MORE won the state twice — first in 2008 and again in 2012 — before it flipped for Trump in 2016. But Trump’s victory there was narrow; he beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE by little more than 1 percentage point.

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This year, Florida is poised to play the same decisive role. 

“Even in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, Florida delivers a familiar déjà vu in the head-to-head presidential race. It’s Biden, but it’s close as independents play a huge potential role,” Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac University polling analyst, said. “Sound familiar?”

–Max Greenwood

 

READ MORE:

Poll: Biden leads Trump by 4 points in Florida, by The Hill’s Max Greenwood

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Democrats are urging Biden to choose his running mate sooner rather than later, The Hil’s Amie Parnes reports. Doing so sooner, they argue, would not only give the former vice president more time to raise money, but could help build party unity at a time when Democrats are still somewhat fractured along ideological lines.

Climate activist and former Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreCNN coronavirus town hall to feature science author David Quammen, ‘Empire’ actress Taraji Henson Top Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP Melania Trump to appear on CNN coronavirus town hall Thursday night MORE endorsed Biden on Wednesday, which marked Earth Day. “This is the most consequential choice in a presidential election that we’ve ever had in American history. Donald Trump is the face of climate denial globally. He is lifting the constraints on polluters,” Gore said during a live streamed discussion with his fellow former vice president. More from The Hill’s Rachel Frazin

And in another Earth Day-themed endorsement, Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeInslee calls on Trump to ‘stay out of Washington state’s business’ Seattle mayor responds to Trump: ‘Go back to your bunker’ Trump warns he will take back Seattle from ‘ugly Anarchists’ if local leaders don’t act MORE (D) threw his support behind Biden on Wednesday after the former vice president assured Inslee that combating climate change would be a key part of his presidential campaign. 

“I am convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this will be a major driving force of his administration,” Inslee told The New York Times

Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, urged Biden to choose a woman of color as his vice presidential nominee as an acknowledgment of the crucial role nonwhite — and especially black — voters play in the Democratic coalition, The Hill’s Rebecca Klar reports. “I think Vice President Biden is going to make a smart choice, and I appreciate the fact that he has lifted up women as being a necessary partner in this,” she told Sunny HostinSunny HostinChris Wallace to ‘The View’: Trump had a ‘very bad week’ for his reelection prospects Chris Christie says US can’t allow virus to control reopening timeline Meghan McCain rips Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s past coronavirus comments: ‘I don’t need to co-host with her again’ MORE, one of the co-hosts of ABC’s “The View.” “I would share your concern about not picking a woman of color because women of color, particularly black women, are the strongest part of the Democratic Party.”

Biden said that he plans to announce the members of a vice presidential selection committee by May 1, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump Biden faces new hurdle: Winning as front-runner The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden on the cusp of formally grasping the Democratic nomination MORE: “Is Joe Biden breaking through?”

I. India Thusi: “Why Biden needs a black woman as his VP”

 

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

The liberal group Democracy for America (DFA) announced its support on Wednesday for middle school principal Jamaal Bowman’s primary challenge against Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests Engel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left MORE (D-N.Y.), The Hill’s Jonathan Easley reports. DFA is the latest progressive group to endorse Bowman. He has already won the support of Justice Democrats, the political action committee aligned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAttorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury How language is bringing down Donald Trump Highest-circulation Kentucky newspaper endorses Charles Booker in Senate race MORE (D-N.Y.).

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MONEY WATCH:

The Democratic-aligned Ditch Mitch Fund is reserving $1 million in TV ads against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.) ahead of the November election, The Hill’s Jordain Carney reports.

 

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POLL WATCH:

QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY – FLORIDA

Biden: 46%

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Trump: 42%

 

ECONOMIST/YOUGOV – NATIONAL

Biden: 48% (+/-0)

Trump: 42% (-1)

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

April 28:

Ohio

 

May 2:

Kansas Democratic primary

 

May 12:

Nebraska primaries

 

May 19:

Oregon primaries

 

May 22:

Hawaii Democratic primary

 

June 2:

Delaware primaries

District of Columbia primaries

Indiana primaries

Maryland primaries

Montana primaries

New Mexico primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries

South Dakota primaries

 

June 9:

Georgia primaries

West Virginia primaries

 

June 23:

Kentucky primaries

New York primaries

 

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

 

July 11:

Louisiana

 

July 14:

Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff

 

August 11:

Connecticut primary

 

August 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

 

August 24-27:

Republican National Convention

 

One hopeful thing 

HAPPY EARTH DAY: This Earth Day is not only memorable because it’s the 50th anniversary of the holiday, but because we’re celebrating in a very different way this year. 

In normal times, we would celebrate outside and enjoy the nature around us. However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to stay indoors to stop the spread of the virus. But you can still enjoy the beauty Earth has to offer from the comfort of your own home. 

As a part of its #EarthDayFromHome campaign, NASA has compiled a list of activities you can do from home to celebrate, including creating GIFs with satellite imagery, mapping coral reefs, galleries, educational videos and more. 

We also do have some good news to report on the climate front today. While the coronavirus pandemic has led to a large share of bad news, the virus does appear to have impacted the environment in a positive way by decreasing humans’ industrial footprint. 

You can see for yourself in these images: 

For more good news, be sure to check out The Hill’s Selfless Acts page, where our reporters are detailing how Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more campaign news of the day. 

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