The Hill’s Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night

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. 



Progressives are feeling pretty good right now after elections in New York and Kentucky put some of their fast-rising stars in position to score huge upsets against incumbent lawmakers and candidates backed by Washington Democrats.

There is still a lot of vote counting to be done — results in both states will likely not be official until June 30, when all absentee ballots are in.

But here’s a look at how things have unfolded so far:

 – Progressive Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) has a 25-point lead over House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). Bowman has claimed victory, and the left is describing the race as “one of the biggest upsets in recent progressive history.”

 – Progressive challenger Charles Booker trails Amy McGrath by about 7 points in the Kentucky Democratic Senate primary. Booker became a national star amid the protests over the death of George Floyd and is very much in the race against McGrath, who had a massive fundraising advantage and help from Washington Democrats.

 – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) won a landslide victory over Michelle Caruso-Cabrera (D-N.Y.), who raised millions of dollars and had support of the business community.

 – Progressive candidates Mondaire Jones, Ritchie Torres and Dana Balter have all built up double-digit leads in their House primary races in New York. Jones and Torres are looking to become the first openly gay black men ever elected to Congress.

 – Insurgent Democrat Suraj Patel (D-N.Y.) is running even with House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). Progressives did not rally around Patel the way they did the others, but the contest underscores the volatile landscape incumbents and Washington-backed candidates are facing at the moment.

The Working Families Party said Tuesday’s elections are evidence that the uprising in the streets over the police killing of George Floyd has ushered in a new era of political change in the U.S. that is being led by people of color.

“The rage and mourning we’ve seen in the streets is making itself felt in elections from New York to Kentucky. A remarkable cadre of candidates — Charles Booker, Jamaal Bowman, and Mondaire Jones — has gained momentum in recent weeks because they are speaking to people’s pain and hunger for transformational change. Win or lose, these Black progressive candidates are expanding the scope of the possible and laying the ground for the future of our work … Today we’re seeing that they may form the core of a new multiracial coalition that could change the balance of power in this country.” – WFP National Director Maurice Mitchell



Progressives riding high as vote tabulated in New York and Kentucky, by Jonathan Easley.



A number of high-profile Democrats are slated to hold virtual events for Biden in the coming weeks. Former 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as former 2020 Democratic contenders Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang and Julián Castro are set to take part in events for Biden in June and July. Julia Manchester reports.

With pressure mounting on Biden to choose a woman of color as his running mate, some Black progressives are urging the former vice president to tap Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for the role. Their preference for Warren is ideological, to be sure, but some also argue that the Massachusetts senator and former presidential candidate is best positioned to champion the changes demanded by the Black Lives Matter movement. The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports.

The Trump campaign is suing Priorities USA, the largest Democratic super PAC, for running an ad that they argue misrepresented the president’s remarks on the coronavirus. The complaint was made in conjunction with a lawsuit against a Wisconsin TV station that continued to air the ad after receiving a cease-and-desist letter. The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports.



Confidants of Vice President Mike Pence helped propel 24-year-old Madison Cawthorn to victory in the North Carolina primary to replace White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The Hill’s Scott Wong reports that it has created an awkward dynamic in the White House because Meadows and President Trump endorsed Cawthorn’s challenger. 

SCOOP: Conservative women’s group Maggie’s List rolled out its latest round of endorsements to Campaign Report on Wednesday. They include Wyoming Senate candidate Cynthia Lummis, Indiana’s 5th District candidate Victoria Spartz, Michigan’s 3rd District candidate Lynn Afendoulis, and Illinois’s 17th District candidate Esther Joy King. The Cook Political reports rates the Wyoming Senate race as “solid Republican” and the race for Indiana’s 5th District as “lean Republican.” The website also rated Michigan’s 3rd District as “lean Republican,” and Illinois’s 17th District as “likely Democratic. 

“The energy from our grassroots network this cycle is palpable. We are excited to support our list of endorsed candidates and we look forward to helping them go on to win their elections in November,” Maggie’s List Chairwoman Sandra Mortham said in a statement. 

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump GOP super PAC, endorsed former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock in his Senate race against incumbent Sen. Steve Daines on Wednesday. The group marked its endorsement with a new digital ad, titled “Strong.” Julia +.



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Biden: 49%

Trump: 41%



Biden: 46%

Trump: 45%

-Everytown in NC 



Everytown for Gun Safety is planning to spend $5 million ahead of the general election in North Carolina, as a part of its $60 million electoral program. The gun control group said in a call with reporters on Wednesday that the initiative will focus on the presidential election in the state, the Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham, as well as state legislature races. “It’s not just the presidential [race]. We view the statewide and down ballot races as incredibly important,” said senior political adviser for Everytown Charlie Kelly. “The issue does persuade and mobilize.” 



June 30:

Colorado primaries

Oklahoma primaries

Utah primaries


July 7:

New Jersey primaries

Delaware primaries


July 11:

Louisiana primaries


July 14:

Alabama primary runoffs

Texas primary runoffs

Maine primaries


Aug. 4:

Arizona primaries

Kansas primaries

Michigan primaries

Missouri primaries

Washington primaries


Aug. 11:

Connecticut primaries

Minnesota primaries

Vermont primaries

Wisconsin primaries

Georgia primary runoffs


Aug. 18:

Alaska primaries

Florida primaries

Wyoming primaries


Aug. 17-20:

Democratic National Convention


Aug. 24-27:

Republican National Convention


Sept. 1:

Massachusetts primaries


Sept. 8:

New Hampshire primaries

Rhode Island primaries


Sept. 15:

Delaware primaries


Sept. 29:

First presidential debate


Oct. 7:

Vice presidential debate


Oct. 15:

Second presidential debate


Oct. 22:

Third presidential debate

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Andrew Yang Carolyn Maloney Cynthia Lummis Donald Trump Eliot Engel Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Mark Meadows Mike Pence Pete Buttigieg Steve Bullock Steve Daines Thom Tillis

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