CNN, with their SSRS survey research partners, conducted Democratic presidential primary polls in the two big states of California (416 first ballot delegates) and Texas (228 delegates). The California poll was taken during the December 4-8 period and sampled 508 likely Democratic primary voters. The questioning process for the Texas poll went one extra day, until December 9th, and surveyed a small group of only 327 likely Democratic primary voters.
In California, we see a four-way race continuing to unfold, as former Vice President Joe Biden led Sen. Bernie Sanders by just a 21-20% count, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren closely trailing with 17% support, which is a virtual three-way tie. Here, Mayor Pete Buttigieg attracts only 9% support, while businessman Andrew Yang surprisingly increases to 6%. In Texas, Mr. Biden has opened up a clear lead, topping Sanders and Warren 35-15-13%, with Buttigieg again getting 9% preference, and only Michael Bloomberg reaching the 5% plateau.
The University of California at Berkeley just released their late November poll that concluded right before Thanksgiving (11/21-27; 1,694 CA likely Democratic primary voters) and finds the four major presidential candidates all getting into range to qualify for first ballot delegates. The survey was taken before home state Sen. Kamala Harris exited the race and she recorded 7% support in this study.
According to the Cal-Berkeley results, Sen. Bernie Sanders has grabbed the lead with 24% followed closely by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 22%. Former Vice President Joe Biden records 14%, just ahead of Mayor Pete Buttigieg who attracts 12 percent. Under Democratic National Committee rules, candidates must receive 15% to qualify for at-large delegate apportionment and it appears all four of these candidates are well enough positioned to clear the minimum threshold.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) yesterday announced that she is suspending her presidential campaign, effectively bringing her national effort to a close. The announcement timing, with the California candidate filing deadline looming on Friday, suggests that her move is geared more to her Senate seat than the presidential race, however.
Falling back into single digits in all polling, even those from her home state of California, suggests she would do poorly in the state’s March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. Doing so might hurt her 2022 re-election chances against another Democrat, so leaving the race now means she won’t have to place her name on the California ballot. Which of the other presidential candidates will earn a discernible boost from her departure remains to be seen.
Later today, California Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine; San Diego County) will plead guilty to one count of violating campaign finance law, which will force him to resign from the US House. This came as former Rep. Darrell Issa (R), who is a candidate in the 50th District, released his internal Public Opinion Strategies survey (11/18-20; 400 CA-50 likely jungle primary voters) that found the Congressman languishing in fourth place with just 9% support and an inverted favorability index of 30:55% positive to negative.
The poll also found Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, the 2018 candidate who held Mr. Hunter to a 52-48% win, leading the field with 31% and Mr. Issa trailing with 21%, just ahead of former San Diego City Councilman and radio talk show host Carl DeMaio, who had 19%.
Signaling that Central California Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) will have a significant challenge in the March 3rd jungle primary, the Service Employees International Union just announced their endorsement of Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria (D) and providing the challenger some needed support. At the end of September, Ms. Soria had raised just over $153,000, which is a low amount in contemporary political time. A positive for her: campaign spending was low, so she maintained over $132,000 in the bank at the reporting deadline. In contrast, Rep. Costa disclosed over $575,000 in his campaign account during the same time frame.
The 16th CD race could be a year-long campaign. Should Ms. Soria finish second in the jungle primary, which is probable at this point, we would see a double-Democrat general election. In 2018, the Congressman defeated Republican Elizabeth Heng, 58-42%. With the candidate filing deadline fast approaching on December 6th, real estate agent Kevin Cookingham is the only Republican so far to announce his candidacy. The 16th contains one-third of Fresno County, including the downtown section of Fresno city, all of Merced County, and more than three-quarters of Madera County.
Yesterday, Lancaster City Councilwoman Angela Underwood-Jacobs (R) announced that she would not run in the special congressional jungle primary campaign to replace resigned Rep. Katie Hill (D), now scheduled for March 3rd and concurrent with the regular primary election. This means that former Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) will likely only need to get past former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopolous to be the top Republican.
Democrats, however, think they can win the special election outright as state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) is quickly organizing a formidable campaign. If a candidate receives majority support in the March 3rd special primary, an election period when Democratic turnout will be high because of the presidential contest, that individual will be elected outright to serve the balance of the current term. If no one reaches 50%, a run-off between the top two finishers will occur on May 12th.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that the special election to replace resigned Rep. Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce/Palmdale) will occur concurrently with the state primary on Super Tuesday, March 3rd. If no candidate obtains a majority vote that day, a run-off between the top two finishers is scheduled for May 21st.
Democrats hope to score a majority victory on March 3rd in the person of freshman state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall), but Republicans are fielding former Congressman Steve Knight, who lost to Hill in 2018. Much depends on who else enters the race. Candidates will file for the special election and for the regular term on December 6th. For this congressional district, two elections will occur on 3/3: the special election primary and the regular election jungle primary.
A new Capitol Weekly research organization survey (11/1-13; 689 likely Democratic primary voters) finds that four candidates would qualify for delegate apportionment if the primary election were today. According to the Capitol Weekly results, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) leads with 27% support, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg all trail with 21, 18, and 14%, respectively. Home state Sen. Kamala Harris only draws 6% within her own constituency.
Under this configuration, the estimated California delegate count would show Warren with 139, Sanders committing 108 first ballot votes, Biden holding 92, and Buttigieg drawing 77 locked delegate support.
Yesterday, former Congressman Steve Knight (R), who lost his seat to Democrat Katie Hill last November only to see her resign the first day of this November, announced that he will enter the special election field in an attempt to regain his former position. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has yet to schedule the special election that will likely involve Super Tuesday, March 3rd as either the special primary or general date.
California is holding its state primary concurrently with Super Tuesday, so the regular 2020 qualification vote through a jungle primary format will occur at that time. Therefore, linking the special and regular cycle seems to make efficiency sense. A crowded field for both parties is expected. The 25th District is a competitive seat.
Former California Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) will not return to the political wars in 2020 via a re-match with freshman Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine). Ms. Walters, who lost to Porter, 52-48%, just accepted a position with the Orange County-based energy company, Leading Edge Power Solutions. She will become the company’s chief commercial officer.
In the congressional race hoping to oppose Rep. Porter in the general election are seven Republicans including Mission Viejo Councilman Greg Raths, Laguna Hills Councilman Don Sedgwick, and Orange County Board of Education Member Lisa Sparks. Despite Ms. Walters not returning to the race, the 45th District campaign will become a national GOP target.
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