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
When San Francisco police broke down a door inside a group home for mentally disabled people in 2008 and shot a 56-year-old resident, then-District Attorney Kamala Harris didn’t charge the officers with a crime. Instead she prosecuted the schizophrenic woman who was severely injured in the shooting.
Harris charged Teresa Sheehan with assaulting the officers, alleging she came at them with a kitchen knife after they forced their way into her room. But the jury was not convinced. It deadlocked in favor of acquitting Sheehan on the assault charges, and found her not guilty of threatening to kill a social worker who had called the police for help to get Sheehan into a psychiatric hospital.
“Somebody used very poor judgement in deciding to bring these charges,” said Laurie Levenson, a criminal law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
“If (Harris) actually looked at it and said, ‘This is a righteous case, I want to go after a mentally ill woman who was shot,’ then you question that decision. If she didn’t know about it, then you question her management skills.”
Today Harris, California’s junior U.S. senator, is trying to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination by highlighting her experience as a “progressive prosecutor.” The Sheehan case, though, is an example of her complicated record in criminal justice.Read More
Half a year out from California’s presidential primary, you can already envision the enthusiasm gap creating a turnout gap.
Democrats of every ideology have plenty of incentive to vote in the March 3 election: It’s their chance to pick the winner in one of the most crowded, competitive presidential primary contests in a generation.
But there’s little to lure the state's shrinking Republican base to the polls. President Donald Trump seems assured of garnering his party’s nomination for re-election, even if a recent law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom were to keep him off the California ballot entirely.
So although Republicans historically get a higher share of their voters to the polls than Democrats, the 2020 primary could well scramble that.
In theory, it could give Democrats an opportunity to edge more Republican congressional and legislative candidates out of qualifying for the November general election, given that only the top two March voter-getters in each district advance to November, even if they're in the same party.Read More
When presidential candidates spent time in Iowa (and they spend a lot of time in Iowa), they are expected to ingratiate themselves to the state’s 2.1 million registered voters by chowing down on deep fried foods and spending plenty of time talking about grain growing, trade policy and corn ethanol.
With California Democrats now scheduled to pick their preferred party’s nominee on March 3rd (at the latest; those who vote from home can cast their ballot as early as the Iowa Caucus) there was hope that the Golden State might finally earn itself some presidential pandering too.
So what is the political equivalent of corn ethanol in California?
“I don’t know,” said presidential candidate and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. “I’m going to find out,”Read More
California Democrats have spent the last decade busily removing barriers between would-be voters and the ballot box — in fact, they've been so successful, they may be running out of strategies to drive up turnout.
So now the state's top election official is taking the California model national. The goals: Get other states to adopt vote-boosting policies, and boot Republican secretaries of state out of office.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced a new campaign this morning to unseat his Republican counterparts in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Missouri and West Virginia in 2020. He also wants to protect two Democratic Secretaries of State, in North Carolina and Vermont.
Padilla's isn't leading the charge in his official capacity of California's election regulator, but as chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State.
In a campaign video, Padilla said the association will take on Republican Secretaries of State who are "helping Trump wage a Jim Crow-style assault on our voting rights, targeting students, seniors and people of color."Read More