Coronavirus forces Sunday Democratic debate site switch; Biden taps new campaign manager, picks up Kwame Raoul backing

The Biden campaign is finalizing details on Biden’s “virtual” Chicago events on Friday in the wake of canceling his visit because of the coronavirus crisis.

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Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate In Charleston Ahead Of SC Primary

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden will debate Sunday in Washington instead of Phoenix.

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Because of the spreading coronavirus, the Sunday Democratic debate showdown between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden has been moved from Phoenix to CNN’s Washington studios, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday.

The Illinois primary is Tuesday. Here are other presidential campaign developments today:

  • Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is the latest elected official from Illinois to endorse Biden.

He said in a statement, “Joe is the one candidate with a history of standing up to the gun lobby when others have been afraid to do so. He has consistently supported background checks on gun sales and closing gun show and online sales loopholes. Unlike his opponent, he opposed a bill giving immunity to gun manufacturers. He supports smart gun technology, red flag laws like the Beau Biden Gun Violence Act and banning new assault weapons. Importantly, he understands the need to invest in evidence-based interventions to take on the daily urban violence experienced in places like Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Springfield and East St. Louis.

  • Both Sanders and Biden are delivering remarks on the coronavirus crisis.
  • The Biden campaign is finalizing the details on Biden’s “virtual” Illinois events for Friday in the wake of canceling his Chicago visit that day because of coronavirus concerns.
  • Focusing on Chicago, the Biden campaign on Thursday launched Spanish language ads; one title “Por Elios,” focusing on Biden’s record on gun safety; the other headlined “Que Sabe,” dealing with Biden and the coronavirus threat.
  • Biden dipped into Obamaworld in shaking up his operation, now that the nomination is within reach. He picked Jennifer O’Malley Dillon as the new campaign manager. She was the deputy campaign manager for former President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012. In 2009, Obama named O’Malley Dillon his first executive director of the Democratic National Committee

Greg Schultz, who had been the manager, “will turn his focus to organizational planning for the general election and continuing to bolster the campaign’s external outreach,” the campaign said in a statement.

O’Malley Dillon managed Beto O’Rourke’s short-lived 2020 presidential campaign.

  • On the DNC debate move: “Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.

“Additionally, Univision’s Jorge Ramos was possibly exposed to coronavirus. While he is not exhibiting any symptoms, he has stepped down from his role as one of the moderators for the debate,” the DNC said. The network’s Ilia Calderón will take his place, alongside CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper. The debate is still set to take place 8 to 10 p.m. ET Sunday.

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