Liberal super PAC expands ad buy attacking Trump’s handling of COVID-19 in Pa., battleground states | Thursday Morning Coffee

(Priorities USA ad screen capture)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The liberal super PAC Priorities USA says it’s pumping an extra $1 million into a $6.6 million ad campaign in Pennsylvania and two more 2020 battleground states.

The expanded buy comes in response to a $10 million campaign by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action hitting ex-Veep Joe Biden. Like the Priorities USA campaign, the pro-Trump ads are airing in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Politico reported.

In a statement, Priorities USA says it will begin airing a new spot, called  “Better Prepared,” that contrasts “the chaotic failed leadership of Donald Trump with the strong, steady leadership of Vice President Joe Biden.”

That ad will run alongside an ad called “One Week Later,” that attacks Trump for downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the number of confirmed cases rose exponentially across the nation. Trump’s re-election campaign had previously threatened legal action against television stations that aired earlier Priorities USA ads.

Trump is failing the country as a leader during the biggest crisis of our lives. It has always been inevitable that the Trump team would attempt to cover up his dangerous incompetence by attacking Joe Biden,” Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil said in a statement. “With Donald Trump’s super PAC stepping into this race, we will not let Vice President Biden go undefended.”

The $1 million will buy an extra week of air time in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The liberal super PAC says it’s also adding more digital ad time across those battleground states, as well as in Florida. A contrast spot called “Steady Leadership,” is already running online.

(Image: Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association joint campaign)

Our Stuff.
The COVID-19 pandemic is claiming lives across Pennsylvania. And it’s changing the way we mourn and bury our deadCapital-Star Pittsburgh Correspondent Kim Lyons has the story.

Also new this morning: Erie Correspondent Hannah McDonald brings you up to speed on efforts to flatten the curve in the City By The Lake — and whether they’re working.

Tax collections were down in March — and state officials are bracing for an even bumpier April, thanks to COVID-19, Staff Reporter Stephen Caruso reports.

All of Pennsylvania is now under a stay at home orderElizabeth Hardison has the details.

Citing fears of widespread illness, immigration advocates have called on the Wolf administration to free migrants held at an ICE detention center in Berks CountyCapital-Star Correspondent Michala Butler writes.

U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., are asking the Centers for Disease Control to clarify rules to encourage face-mask use in public. And U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., says the Trump White House isn’t doing enough to protect frontline healthcare workersWashington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender reports.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro has joined with 20 state attorneys general nationwide to ask the Trump administration to only enforce regulations that pertain to the pandemicCapital-Star Washington Reporter Allison Winter reports.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: African-Americans make up 43.7 percent of Philadelphia’s population, but they comprise 46 percent of positive COVID-19 cases in the city.

And two elected officials in Allegheny County are looking for more information about the way the pandemic was handled at Allegheny County Jail, our partners at the Pittsburgh Current report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, Gov. Tom Wolf should use the power of reprieve to free people at risk of COVID-19 from Pennsylvania’s state prisons, Reggie Shuford of the PA-ALCU writes. And lawmakers and the Wolf administration need to step up to protect frontline workersChris Good of SEIU Local 668 writes.

(Image via The Pittsburgh Current/Adobe Stock)

Elsewhere.
Advocates have asked the state Supreme Court to release vulnerable young people from detention centers and jails, the Inquirer reports.
Pittsburgh’s native son, the actor Michael Keatonis helping nonprofits feed city childrenPittsburgh City Paper reports.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Pennsylvania’s construction industry to a ‘standstill,’ PennLive reports.
The Gracedale Nursing Home in the Lehigh Valley says three employees have COVID-19, and one resident has died from the illness, the Morning Call reports.

Delaware has seen the ‘accelerated’ spread of COVID-19, WHYY-FM reports.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has continued a moratorium on evictions, the PA Post reports.
Stateline.org looks at the hole that COVID-19 is punching in state tax revenues.
Medicaid enrollment will probably rise because of COVID-19, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
Time TBD:
 Daily COVID-19 briefing.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Kaytee Isley in the office of state Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland, who celebrates today. Congratulations.

Heavy Rotation.
For the great Adam Schlesinger, founding member of Fountains of Waynewho died Wednesday of complications from COVID-19, here’s the absolutely gorgeous “Troubled Times,” from 1999’s gem “Utopia Parkway.”

Thursday’s Random Pop Music History Fact.
Today in 1983, U2’s classic ‘New Year’s Day,’ made its chart and radio debut.

And now you’re up to date.