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:  

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.) suspended his presidential bid on Wednesday, bringing to an end a campaign that helped popularize sweeping progressive policy proposals and reshape the Democratic Party. 

Sanders began reassessing his campaign last month after suffering more than a dozen primary defeats. But up until a few days ago, he was still arguing that he had a narrow path to the Democratic nomination. 

On Thursday morning, however, he told his campaign staffers in a conference call that he had decided to suspend his presidential bid. In a live-streamed address later on Thursday, he acknowledged that his path to victory had vanished. 

“I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth,” Sanders said. “And that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden, and the path to victory is virtually impossible.”

“I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign.”

His decision to end his campaign effectively establishes former Vice President Biden as the Democratic presidential nominee. Biden had already amassed a nearly insurmountable delegate lead over Sanders in the primary contest but would have been unable to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination until at least June.

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Sanders vowed on Thursday to work with Biden “to move our progressive ideas forward.” But despite calling the former vice president “a very decent man,” he stopped short of offering up an endorsement and said that he would remain on the ballot in upcoming primaries in order to amass as many delegates as possible heading into the Democratic convention this summer.

“I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates,” Sanders said. “While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible to assert influence over the party platform and functions.”

One more thing to note: While Sanders is poised to remain influential in the primary process, this appears likely to be his last presidential bid. By the time the 2024 presidential election is held, Sanders will be 83 years old, far older than any major presidential candidate in the country’s history.

–Max Greenwood

 

READ MORE

Sanders exit leaves deep disappointment on the left, by Jonathan Easley.

Sanders drops out of presidential race, by Max Greenwood

Biden credits Sanders for starting a movement, by Julia Manchester 

Warren thanks Sanders, says his efforts “will change the course of our country and party,” by Max

Trump urges Sanders supporters to join GOP after senator suspends campaign, by Brett Samuels

 

ENDORSEMENTS WATCH:

Former 2020 presidential contender Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) threw his support behind Biden on Wednesday, Tal Axelrod reports. “Joe is a proven leader who can bring Americans together and show that our best days are still ahead,” Bennett said in a statement. “His vast experience, temperament, and decency stand in stark contrast to those of Donald 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, especially in these challenging times. As a champion of the middle class, Joe knows how to make real and lasting change for families and workers across the country. In the midst of a public health crisis and economic downturn, now more than ever we need an experienced leader to protect and guide our country. We are all united around the ultimate goal of defeating Donald Trump, and Joe is the person who will lead us there in November.”

 

The Lincoln Group, an anti-Trump conservative group, endorsed Biden on Wednesday shortly after Sanders announced he was leaving the campaign, Morgan Gsalter reports. The group includes George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayGeorge Conway group hits Ernst in new ad George Conway group contrasts Trump, Eisenhower in battleground states ad George Conway group hits Trump for response to protests in new ad MORE, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGeorge Conway group hits Ernst in new ad George Conway group contrasts Trump, Eisenhower in battleground states ad Sunday shows preview: Protests against George Floyd’s death, police brutality rock the nation for a second week MORE. “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 has the experience — in politics, in government and in life — to lead the United States out of our current crisis,” said co-founder Reed Galen. “As America contends with unprecedented loss, we need a leader who can steady our ship of state, bind up our common wounds, and lead us into our next national chapter. Joe Biden has the humanity, empathy and steadiness we need in a national leader.”

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Bill Schneider: Coronavius is a different kind of political crisis

Marik Rennenkampff: How a pandemic obliterated Republican ideology

Kim Wehle: Wisconsinites put their lives on the line after Supreme Court decision

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Michael Stern: Trump’s self-interest is at odds with safe coronavirus policy

 

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

BATTLE FOR THE SENATE: Democrats are pouring millions into Iowa in a bid to unseat Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGeorge Conway group hits Ernst in new ad GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ MORE (R-Iowa) and expand their electoral map ahead of the November elections, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports. Senate Majority PAC (SMP) has already spent more than $3 million on ads boosting Theresa Greenfield, the top Democrat running to take on Ernst. The group also announced last month that it had booked more than $13 million in fall advertisements in the state. 

Taking out Ernst isn’t likely to be an easy task. Her seat is less competitive than those in the four other states – Maine, North Carolina, Colorado and Arizona – that Democrats are targeting. But they say there are signs that Ernst is more vulnerable than previously thought. What’s more, they’re scrambling to expand their chances of recapturing control of the Senate in November. Democrats need to net at least three or four seats to reclaim the majority, and the current four-state map likely means they will need to pitch a perfect game to accomplish that goal.

 

VOTE-BY-MAIL: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Georgia state party are teaming up to text more than 1 million voters to urge them to vote by mail in the state’s rescheduled primary on May 19, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports. Georgia is already mailing absentee ballot request forms to all of its nearly 7 million voters to try to maintain turnout in its presidential and down-ballot primaries. The effort comes as state officials, party operatives and outside groups scramble to figure how to run elections in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNo, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ Attorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury Buffalo officials ask state to re-examine 2008 firing of black police officer who stopped white officer’s chokehold MORE (D) announced Wednesday that voters will be able to cast absentee ballots for the state’s primary set for June 23. Cuomo said he made the decision after seeing long lines forming at polling places for other states’ primaries, saying in-person voting poses too great a public health risk. Additionally, New York has been the epicenter for the virus in the U.S. for weeks now. The state has reported more than 140,000 positive coronavirus cases and more than 5,000 people have died. 

 

POLL WATCH:

QUINNIPIAC — GENERAL ELECTION

Biden: 49 percent

Trump: 41 percent

 

ECONOMIST/YOUGOV – GENERAL ELECTION

Biden: 48 percent (+2)

Trump: 42 percent (+/-0)

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

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

April 10:

Alaska

 

April 17:

Wyoming

 

April 26:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary

 

April 28:

Ohio

 

ONE HOPEFUL THING

VIRTUAL HOLIDAYS: April marks one of the busiest and most important months of the year for Christians, Muslims and Jews around the world. 

Wednesday marks the start of Passover for Jews, while Christians are in the midst of Holy Week and are preparing for Easter on Sunday. Muslims are also preparing for one of their most important holidays, Ramadan, which begins on the evening of April 23. 

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has upended planned gatherings for the faithful, who would normally spend this time together with their families and communities. But houses of worship are working to mitigate this issue with the use of technology. 

Julia Manchester spoke to a number of faith leaders on how they plan to gather their communities amid the pandemic. 

At B’nai Shalom, a synagogue in West Orange, N.J., Rabbi Robert Tobin plans to post a YouTube tutorial for members looking to learn how to hold their own Seder. 

All services at the synagogue, including the Shabbat and those surrounding Passover, have been moved to Zoom. 

Meanwhile, at the Islamic Center of New Hampshire, the mosque’s attendees now have access to weekly online sessions with local Islamic scholars as a work around to the absence of an in-person congregation. 

And at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., worshippers can tune into Sunday services, including Easter, via Facebook and YouTube live streams. 

Chag Sameach to all of our readers celebrating Passover tonight! 

We’ll see you tomorrow with the latest campaign news of the day.

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