Between presidential forums, pep rallies and networking, delegates of California’s largest political party also spent part of their convention in Long Beach this past weekend deciding which 2020 candidates deserve the Democratic endorsement.
There were few surprises. Divided races in the East Bay suburbs and Orange County were deadlocked, meaning the party will stay neutral before the March 3 primary.
In the race to replace retiring San Diego Rep. Susan Davis, the party gave its imprimatur to Georgette Gomez, San Diego's city council president and the candidate with the backing of most of the party establishment. And a handful of long-shot progressive challenges to incumbent Democrats fizzled.
The one bit of drama: Bobby Bliatout, a businessman who largely self-funded an unsuccessful challenge to Tulare GOP Rep. Devin Nunes last year, got the formal party nod this time around. In doing so, he defeated a better-financed candidate with the backing of Andrew Janz, the leading Democratic challenger to Nunes last year.
Endorsement caucuses tend to receive less attention than the keynotes speeches and televised forums that define most party get-togethers. But for party activists, they often offer a dramatic highpoint — a forum where the ideological battles, internecine rivalries and the pent up frustrations of hundreds of sleep-deprived party activists spill out into the open (or at least onto Twitter).Read More
With some 5,000 California Democrats convening in Long Beach this weekend for the party's second convention of the year, the main event was a nationally televised forum of some of the top presidential candidates.
"Some" being the operative word. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren both declined the invitation out west. Ditto for Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. Candidates barely registering in the polls such as Marianne Williamson and Reps. Joe Sestak and John Delaney arrived earlier in the morning, but did not qualify for the event. Ditto for campaign trail newcomer Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts.
Hosted by Univision and broadcast in both English and Spanish, the forum offered yet another event of the candidates to make their case — particularly to a California audience. But with the Iowa caucuses only 10 weeks away, many are running out of time to make a good impression.
That sense of pressure may have felt particularly acute for Sen. Kamala Harris. As the state's junior senator, she receives a warm welcome at state conventions on her home turf. But for the many endorsements she's received from state politicos and the torrent of cash from California's donor class, her polling — in the early primary states, in California and nationally — continue to slide.
Here's a recap of the debate:
Updated: November 15, 2019.
Like Comic-Con for progressive political nerds and consultants, the California Democratic Party’s biannual convention — one of the year’s largest gathering of like-minded partisans — will kick off in Long Beach this weekend with an estimated 5,000 attendees.
Some will be coming to snap selfies with presidential candidates, although for all the predictions of this state's enhanced role in selecting the party's nominee, neither of the frontrunner White House challengers will be there.
Other rank-and-file Dems will come to network, or make merry with their fellow activists. A select few will arrive to do battle in pursuit of the party’s coveted endorsement for legislative and congressional seats — important because party money and door-knockers are at stake.
Most of the happenings inside the Long Beach Convention Center — a mix of campaign spectacle and byzantine party deliberations — aren’t likely to mean much for the average Californian. But a few developments may have consequences for the presidential primary and other down-ballot races in the March 3 statewide election.Read More
Rep. Katie Hill, the millennial Democrat from the Santa Clarita Valley, is quitting Congress —but she isn't going down without a fight.
“I am leaving because I didn’t want to be peddled by papers and blogs and websites, used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics that I’ve ever seen and (by) the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photos of me—taken without my knowledge, let alone my consent—for the sexual entertainment of millions,” she said today in her final speech on the House floor.
Hill said she's resigning tomorrow, after details of her sexual relationship with a campaign staffer—and a humiliating montage of corroborating photos—were posted online. Although she has apologized for her “inappropriate” relationship with the campaign aide, she is also taking aim at the conservative political blog RedState and the British tabloid the Daily Mail, which first published the photos. (She denies having an affair with a congressional employee, first reported by RedState.)
"I am leaving," she said today, "because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality, and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching."
Last week, Hill’s legal team sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Daily Mail, citing California’s so-called revenge porn laws, which make it a crime to share private, sexual images without a person’s permission. Sympathetic commentators and advocates for victims of cyber exploitation have also characterized the reporting as “revenge porn.”Read More
Polls suggest Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris is no longer the front runner in her home state. But year-to-date, she remains the preferred candidate by that other major metric of campaign success: money.
Yet even in the race for cash, her share of itemized California contributions has plummeted from a high of 60% in January to a low of 8% in September.
Last month, the single candidate taking the largest portion of those California contributions was President Donald Trump, with 30%. But that doesn't mean the "Resistance State" has suddenly gone all Trumpy — keep in mind, 70% of contributions went to the array of contenders aiming to oust him.
Another caveat: This data doesn't capture small donors. Most people don't give money to presidential campaigns, and even fewer give enough to show up on federal campaign finance databases. Contributions only have to be "itemized," with the name and zip code of the donor made public, if that presidential donor’s contributions amount to at least $200 a year.
The latest round of campaign finance totals just published by the Federal Election Commission show Harris raised $11.5 million in itemized contributions from California in the first nine months of 2019. That’s more than any other candidate.Read More
Updated Oct. 18, 2019
In 2020, California voters will be asked to weigh in on some of the most contentious and consequential issues facing the state — criminal justice reform, rent control, school construction funding and inequality. For those hoping to make sense of the deluge of political polls and they’re likely to see over the next year, consider this a handy user guide.
A new CalMatters analysis of survey data from the Public Policy Institute of California found, if history is a guide, that voters and other poll watchers can expect a few things.
Our number-crunching was motivated by a simple question: When is a good poll still bad news?
For years, a fairly consistent majority of Californians polled by the institute has backed hiking property taxes on longtime commercial landowners.Read More
Maybe you know him as the sandy haired man in a blue sweater telling Congress to impeach President Trump. Or you remember him standing against a New York skyline asking President Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Or maybe you just know him as that fantastically rich guy from San Francisco — if you know Tom Steyer at all.
For decades, Steyer has played at the edges of electoral politics as money man and activist. Having amassed a fortune in finance, he’s plowed more cash into the political system than nearly any other American while launching his own crusades, which have alternately aided and frustrated Democrats.
Now California’s largest mega-donor is running for elected office — the highest one. His wealth may make him an imperfect candidate to fight the corrupting influence of money in politics. Or maybe he’s the ideal one. A “progressive answer to the Koch brothers,” a billionaire businessman without elected experience hoping to take on Trump, the “fight fire with fire” candidate.
With the help of a massive ad budget — and a stated willingness to spend “at least $100 million” — Steyer has met the Democratic National Committee’s polling and individual donor qualifications for the next televised debate on Oct. 15. Nonetheless, in his home state, a recent poll put him at 1% among Democratically-inclined voters.Read More
Californians are increasingly pessimistic about the future of the state and are more worried about housing and homelessness than ever before.
And at least according to one major poll, they’re beginning to take it out on Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic state Legislature.
In new survey results released today, the Public Policy Institute of California found that more likely voters now disapprove of Newsom’s job performance than approve.
But the new round of numbers are in sharp contrast to a survey released on Monday by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, which found likely voters approving of Newsom by a margin of nearly 20 percentage points.
The PPIC poll also found that 1 in 4 Californians now point to housing and homelessness as the “most important issue facing people in California today.” Of the 1,700 adults surveyed, 15% listed “homelessness” as a top concern and 11% named housing.Read More
It was a busy day for GOP-affiliated courtroom battles against the state of California.
In the morning, conservatives sued the state claiming it was failing to “ensure that non-citizens are never placed on the voter rolls.” In the afternoon, they scored an early, anticipated victory to block a new state law that would require presidential candidates to publish their tax returns in order to appear on the March primary ballot.
First, the "illegal votes" complaint.
The plaintiffs are three registered Republicans: two naturalized citizens and Corrin Rankin, who ran for state party vice-chair last year. According to the filing, each believes that their "legitimate vote is being diluted by the illegal votes of non-citizens."
"California refuses to use the data in its possession to determine citizenship eligibility," said Harmeet Dhillon, the attorney who filed the suit, said at a San Francisco press conference.Read More
The San Francisco advocate who spearheaded California's landmark law protecting the privacy of consumers' online data is planning to propose a new initiative on Wednesday to create and enforce a data privacy bill of rights.
It's not clear all privacy advocates will be on board with Alastair Mactaggart, a developer who, alarmed at the diminution of privacy in this digital age, proposed a far-reaching initiative in 2018, only to abandon it when the Legislature approved the California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect Jan. 1.
Privacy advocates such as the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation did not support Mactaggart’s proposal last year, and that organization was not consulted in the crafting of this new ballot measure.
However Mactaggart says the new initiative, an expanded version of that law, is necessary to buttress existing protections. “The power of the industry is extraordinary,” he said in an interview with CalMatters. “They just keep coming.”
The new measure would be on the November 2020 ballot as a 51-page state constitutional amendment known as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2020.Read More