The Hill's Campaign Report: Campaigns confront reality of coronavirus

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. 




Campaigns at every level are dealing with the new reality of coronavirus as the outbreak spreads across the United States. Campaign staff for 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, former Vice President 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 and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) have all been told to work from home amid concerns over the virus. Biden’s campaign is set to hold a virtual Illinois town hall, while Trump and the Republican National Committee will also shift to virtual campaign events. Both Biden and Sanders delivered speeches on Thursday to address nationwide concerns over the coronavirus. 

The pandemic is also affecting congressional races as well. Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyMassachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy says Patriots ‘should sign’ Kaepernick Markey touts past praise from Kennedy: ‘He does an incredible job’ Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary MORE III’s (D-Mass.) campaign for Senate announced on Friday that it is suspending all activities, excluding digital events and forums on the coronavirus, for at least a week. It’s unclear whether his debate against Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left Markey touts past praise from Kennedy: ‘He does an incredible job’ Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Mass.) will go on as planned next week.

Meanwhile, Maine candidate Sara Gideon, who is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans prepare to punt on next COVID-19 relief bill Trump tweets spark fresh headache for Republicans Trump’s tweet on protester sparks GOP backlash  MORE (R-Maine), announced her campaign was postponing all events for the foreseeable future. Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerVirginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests Trump asserts his power over Republicans Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support MORE (D-Va.) delayed his reelection announcement tour, saying he will work instead on the response to the outbreak. 

The new reality is forcing campaigns to change their roadmaps and adapt, at least temporarily, to a digital space. With retail campaigning and in-person fundraisers off the table for the near future, candidates will have to develop new ways to connect with voters.

We don’t know yet how Biden’s virtual campaign events will turn out, but we know that his speech addressing the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday was widely received, in addition to his plan. The former vice president was praised for his tempered and organized response to the crisis, which could earn him points with voters ahead of the next slate of primaries in Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Illinois on March 17. 

Sanders and Trump, on the other hand, will have to contend with not holding their signature rallies, which have proved to be the bread and butter of their campaigns. The massive gatherings have given both of them the chance to show off their support to the media and attendees. 


Despite early voting happening in all four states, next week’s primaries will give us a clearer picture of how the coronavirus is affecting the race. We’ll be watching for Election Day turnout, what the candidates are up to that day, and how they will address the results after the polls have closed.

–Julia Manchester 



President Trump’s actions over the next few weeks to contain the coronavirus and stabilize the economy may determine whether voters give him a second term in office, reports The Hill’s Jonathan Easley.

States voting in next week’s primaries are scrambling to prepare for the contests as coronavirus spreads across the U.S., Julia writes.

Louisiana will postpone its Democratic primary due to coronavirus, The Hill’s J. Edward Moreno reports.

Sanders on Friday called on the federal government to “massively” expand the availability of tests for the coronavirus, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports.


Ben Mathis-Lilley: Biden cures Democrats of their belief in a savior president

Eric Lach: Most people never saw the best of the Sanders campaign

A.B. Stoddard: Biden a threat to the GOP’s Senate majority



Former Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaGOP sues California over Newsom’s vote-by-mail order Conservative group files challenge to California vote-by-mail order New poll shows tight race in key California House race MORE (R-Calif.) succeeded in his attempt at a congressional comeback after advancing in California’s all-party primary to fill the vacancy left by disgraced ex-GOP Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterLobbying world Duncan Hunter granted delayed start to prison sentence over coronavirus New poll shows tight race in key California House race MORE.



The Committee to Protect Medicare PAC is launching a $1 million ad campaign accusing Trump of seeking to undermine Medicare and protection for those with pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act. The ads will run nationwide on CNN beginning Sunday during the Democratic debate and will also run digitally in the battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin. The nationwide ad can be seen here, and the state ads are here. 


Brady PAC, the sister organization of the nation’s oldest anti-gun violence advocacy group, endorsed Biden on Friday and will spend $4 million on his behalf this year, reports The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.





Biden: 65 percent

Sanders: 27 percent

Gabbard: 2 percent


Biden: 57 percent


Sanders:  36 percent

Gabbard: 2 percent



Biden: 57 percent

Sanders: 35 percent

Gabbard: 1 percent



Biden: 51 percent

Sanders: 34 percent

Gabbard: 1 percent


Biden: 49 percent

Trump: 43 percent


Trump: 45 percent

Sanders: 38 percent



March 15:

-Eleventh Democratic presidential primary debate

March 17:

-Arizona Democratic primary

-Florida primaries

-Illinois primaries

-Ohio primaries

March 24:

-Georgia primaries 

March 29:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary


Campaign staffers, journalists, strategists and other workers across the country have been asked to work from home as coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. 

Americans working from home, in turn, have flocked to their local grocery stores to stock up on food to hunker down. Snack food brands, in particular, are some of the most popular choices. 

“We are benefiting likely in the short-term due to traffic,” Hostess Brands CEO Andy Callahan told Yahoo Finance. 

The moves have led to lots of chatter online about how folks are stocking up as a precaution. 

Click Here: New Zealand rugby store


I even stocked up. 


But it’s not easy for everyone affected by the virus to get food supplies. That’s why youth volunteers in South Korea packed up boxes of food for others who were self-quarantined in that country. 


It’s great to see a helping hands in a time of crisis and uncertainty. 

We’ll see you next week with a recap of Sunday’s Democratic debate and the latest campaign news.