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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Biden to weigh in on coronavirus Thursday

While Joe Biden's campaign staff in Philadelphia was ecstatic last night over its spate of primary wins, the candidate tried to portray a level of stoicism as the nation—and his campaign—is wrapped up in coronavirus health concerns.

Unlike his opponent, Bernie Sanders, who hosted a round table on coronavirus this week, Biden has only made a few public statements about the outbreak, usually only responding if asked by journalists. That changes Thursday, when Biden will deliver remarks from his native Delaware on the health concerns, according to his campaign. 

On Wednesday afternoon, the former vice president announced the addition of a public health advisory committee to help provide guidance throughout the pandemic.  A statement released to CBS News said, "The campaign's top priority is and will continue to be the health and safety of the public. Members of the committee will provide ongoing counsel to the campaign, which will in turn continue to update the public regarding operational decisions."  

Biden also told MSNBC this week he is trying to limit handshaking, but it's a hard habit to break for the glad-handing Biden, especially as he bounded through a Detroit construction site this week greeting IBEW workers.

For a primary filled with twists and turns, it's not surprising Biden's campaign schedule remains in flux. Several campaign aides tell CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson the campaign schedule is being taken day-by-day, state-by-state. They plan to heed the advice of state officials on whether to host the larger events. After consulting officials last night, the campaign canceled Biden's rally in Cleveland, as the former vice president was en route to the event. The campaign also preemptively canceled another rally in Tampa for later this week. We're told the campaign is considering ways to hold smaller local event in the next competing states.

Biden said this week he wished President Trump would "be quiet" and "let the experts speak" on coronavirus. He is expected to expand on this theme and condemn the Trump administration's response to the virus, as emblematic of an administration that doesn't tell the truth or adhere to science.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

BERNIE SANDERS

A defiant Bernie Sanders said today that he will stay in the Democratic primary, despite a wave of poor results, according to CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte. Sanders said that President Trump must be defeated, and his campaign is the one to do that. 

"Last night wasn't good," he conceded. Sanders said that while he's losing delegates, his campaign is a champion of the progressive movement and young people. Sanders said that his policies are leading with Democratic voters. His obstacle, according to Sanders, is electability. He said his campaign talks to voters who say they love Sanders' policies but don't think he can win. 

While acknowledging this setback, Sanders challenged convention: "Today, I say to Democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters that represent the future of country." 

In a jab at opponent Joe Biden, Sanders said, "We cannot be satisfied by just winning older votes." The Vermont senator said that he looks forward to debating Biden Sunday. Previewing that showdown, Sanders posed multiple questions to Biden on policies, including healthcare, climate, and immigration. "Joe, what are you gonna do about ...." he used in refrain. Sanders did not take any questions from reporters and left shortly afterward to tape "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" which will air Wednesday night. There are no other events currently on his schedule. 

STATE-BY-STATE

MICHIGAN

Former Vice President Joe Biden didn't just win Michigan's primary on Tuesday night, it appears the former VP swept all of the state's 83 counties says CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster. In 2016, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders only lost 10 counties to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Biden's 19 point margin of victory in Wayne County, the state's most populated county and home to Detroit,  was slightly less than Clinton's margin of victory there in 2016. But the numbers in Detroit raise some questions about enthusiasm. In Detroit, Clinton 2016 got about 22,000 more votes in the 2016 primary than Biden did on Tuesday. Turnout also dropped slightly in the city. In 2016, 25.4% of registered Detroit voters cast a Democratic ballot, while 23.4% did so in 2020.

But in the suburban counties, turnout was up for Democrats and Biden did well in key suburban Detroit counties. It should be noted, though, that Michigan runs an open primary, which allows people to vote for either party on election day, and there was not a competitive Republican race in 2020.  37.3% more voters cast Democratic ballots in Macomb County, a swing county with many working class voters, in 2020 and 44.4% more voters cast Democratic ballots in Oakland County, another suburban county with some wealthier communities. A map published by the Detroit Free Press compares the results for each Michigan county in 2016 compared to 2020. Biden ran away with Macomb County, defeating Sanders by nearly 17 points in a county that Sanders lost to Clinton by just 1.4 points in 2016. Macomb County flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016 and has been emblematic of the voters Trump resonated with who may have historically been likely to vote Democratic. Biden beat Sanders by about 23 points in Oakland County, which Clinton won by about 5 points in the 2016 primary. And in Livingston County, a county that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964 and includes outer Detroit suburbs, Democratic votes were up 35.9% from the 2016 primary. Biden won this county by 17 points after Sanders won it by 21 points in 2016. Biden also managed to edge Sanders in the counties with large colleges, winning Washtenaw County where the University of Michigan is by 1.6 points, Ingham County which is home to Michigan State and Kalamazoo County which is home to Western Michigan. In Michigan's upper peninsula, home to many working class voters, Biden won two counties (Luce and Alger) by more than 20 points that Sanders won by more 20 points in 2016. The Detroit Free Press found that Biden beat Sanders 52%-38% outside of metro Detroit. In 2016, Sanders topped Hillary Clinton 56% to 42% outside of metro Detroit.

 

LIFE AFTER 2020

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

A week after dropping out of the race, the presidential campaign for billionaire and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced that the campaign spent $275 million in anti- President Donald Trump advertising.  Bloomberg made it no secret that defeating Donald Trump was a major goal of his candidacy for president and today his campaign, one that spent over $500 million since it began at the end of November, listed some of the staggering figures it spent.  CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry lists a few of those figures: according to the campaign, Bloomberg spent $175 million of his personal wealth for 31 different TV spots in local markets which included all battleground states. In addition the campaign spent $49.6 million in digital anti- Trump ads.  The campaign says it received almost 3 trillion impressions on just YouTube and Facebook. By comparison, Advertising Analytics reports the campaign for President Trump and other groups that support him have spent more than $34 million in paid media nationally before Bloomberg entered the race. This includes $30 million in digital ad spending and $3.1 in television ads. Bloomberg's campaign also reported to spend $671,664 in what they call out-of-home advertising.  This includes the billboards placed in the Las Vegas Strip and in Phoenix, first reported by CBS News, that the Bloomberg campaign put up to troll Mr. Trump in February during his trip out west.

CONGRESIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE HOUSE

About a week and change after Super Tuesday, two notable Congressional district match-ups are finally set. In California's 25th District, previously represented by Katie Hill before her resignation, Democrat State Assemblywoman Christy Smith will face off with Veteran Mike Garcia. Former CA-25 Congressman Steve Knight was eyeing a return, but fell short about 10,000 votes and then endorsed Garcia this week. 

In California's 50th District, previously represented by Duncan Hill before his resignation, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar and former Congressman Darrell Issa have moved on past the primary. Issa previously represented the neighboring 49th District, and beat out conservative talk show host Carl DeMaio by more than 5,000 votes. DeMaio conceded and endorsed Issa on Tuesday, and also invited Campa-Najjar to his talk show next week. Because both of these districts are special elections, these matchups will be for the May general special election, as well as the November general election.

The 39th District rematch between Representative Gil Cisneros and Republican Young Kim is off to a contentious start reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was slammed by the Asian-American community over his remark that Covid-19 is the "Chinese coronavirus," Kim told Politico that "This is a serious issue and not a partisan issue. I'm focused on ensuring that we protect the well-being of all residents by promoting COVID-19 updates and information.. ensuring everyone has access to care." Since then, she and Cisneros have been trading Tweets over the comments and Covid-19. 

"My opponent shouldn't brush racist, xenophobic & misinformed comments aside when lives are at stake," Cisneros Tweeted. "This just shows she's not willing to stand up for #CA39, she's only willing to stand up for GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy & President Trump." 

Kim, an Asian American immigrant, said Cisneros' comments were "ignorant, insensitive, and racist" and that his remarks are "a clear example that everything he does and says is politically motivated and not in the best interest of the people he serves."

newly released Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll in Iowa shows that Republicans have the edge in all four Congressional districts, though only in a generic sense. The poll surveyed 667 likely general election voters, and asked "If the elections for the U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district?" The 4th Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Steve King, had the biggest gap with 51% in support of a Republican and 40% for the Democrat. The poll didn't mention the specific names, specifically not the names of freshmen Congresswomen Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer, who both hold competitive seats that top Republicans' target lists.

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