Although the coronavirus is impacting the 2020 presidential race, Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign is moving forward with its efforts in the keystone state.
On Friday, the Sanders campaign sent out a press release announcing the opening of five new field offices in Pennsylvania. The release said that the campaign offices would be opening in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Allentown, although the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the campaign “quickly warned they may not stay open for long,” citing a move to more digital organizing as a result of the coronavirus.
“Pennsylvania voters have the power to move this movement forward, and we’re fighting for every vote over the next six weeks,” said Bernie 2020 Pennsylvania State Coordinator Brooke Adams in a release on Friday. “We have seen a huge surge of momentum from Pennslyvanians to join this movement and get out the vote for Bernie. This campaign is about all of us, and a chance for the people of Pennsylvania to show Donald Trump what he’ll be up against when Bernie is on the ballot in November.”
On Monday, the Sanders campaign shot out a release touting their digital organizing efforts in Pennsylvania over the past weekend, saying that they hosted its first two days of “digital house parties, with field organizers and volunteers reaching out to more than 3,000 people through the Bern app.” This release added that the campaign’s Pennsylvania operation will keep volunteers in the loop through daily “digital organizing parties” in which volunteers will do voter outreach through phone-banking and the Bern app.
The campaign also announced the hiring of 20 staffers as a part of the state operation including Brooke Adams as the State Coordinator, Samir Sonti as the Special Advisor, Danny Timpona as the Field Director, and Robert Burns to serve as the Deputy Field Director.
While Biden has emerged as the clear frontrunner for the nomination, polling conducted shortly before the first Super Tuesday showed Biden and Sanders in a competitive primary race in the state, although there were several other Democrats still seeking the party nod and the race was viewed more as a toss-up. General election polling also shows a tight race between President Donald Trump and the two Democratic frontrunners.
A Quinnipiac University poll released twenty five days ago showed all of the Democratic presidential frontrunners leading Trump in the state with Biden holding the largest lead of 8 points and Sen. Bernie Sanders leading Trump by 4 points. However, a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released eighteen days ago showed Sanders with the best odds as the only Democrat defeating Trump head to head in the state by 3 points, while Biden was tied with Trump, although both results were within the margin of error.
As for the Democratic primary, a poll from Franklin and Marshall College released in late January showed Biden leading the Democratic pack with 22%, while Sanders was in second place with 15%, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 14%, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in fourth place with 7%. However, the Election Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison released a poll three weeks ago that showed Sanders leading the way in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary with 25%, followed by Biden in second place with 20%, and Bloomberg in third place with 19%.
Biden holds a significant endorsement advantage in the state with endorsements from Sen. Bob Casey, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Treasurer Joe Torsella, seven of the nine members of the state’s Democratic Congressional delegation, and various elected officials in the state legislature. Sanders’ biggest endorsements in the state include state Reps. Liz Fiedler (D-Philadelphia), Sara Innamorato (D-Allegheny), and Summer Lee (D-Allegheny).
Pa. holds its 2020 primary on April 28.