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California Legislative Directory| Classifieds | Sofa Degree
E-151 - Friday, October 4, 2019, presented by SYASLPartners
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
MONEY MATTERS: This is the space where we look at interesting contributions to party committees or non-capped "ballot measure" committee accounts affiliated with legislators. Standard contributions to candidate committees up to the 2020 limit of $9,400 for primary and general are not included.
- AD21: California Medical Association $10,000 to Valley Solutions: Assemblymember Adam Gray's Ballot Measure Committee [2019-10-02]
- CD20 (Central Coast): added consumer advocate Adam Scow (D) - safe Dem - challenge to Jimmy Paneta (D)
- AD33 (San Berndoo High Desert): added Big Bear Lake councilmember Rick Herrick (R) - safe Rep - open seat (Paul Cook running for CA08)
- AD72 (Seal Beach-Garden Grove): added attorney Bijan Mohseni (D) - toss-up - challenge to Tyler Diep (R)
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
- Poll position
- Charter schools
- Campaign ads
- CA39 (Fullerton)
- Gascón heads to LA-LA Land
Happy Friday! You made it! I've had a bit more time with the PPIC poll results and we have a few gubernatorial actions. I spent time with it yesterday for a podcast recording today but we had to postpone for scheduling reasons. For two guys without an 8-5 job, it actually can be quite difficult, which also tells you why we haven't had many guests recently. Lots of folks in the tumbler...
Proponents of the recall effort led by CA36 GOP candidate Erin Cruz will be collecting signatures tomorrow at 10am on the West Steps of the Capitol. Now, there is a charity bike ride for leaving from the traffic circle at 7am, a 9am walk leaving from the South Steps, and a 9am walk leading from the West Steps.
Trying to collect signatures from the Newsom recall on the West Steps on a Saturday is about as likely to be worth it as collecting signatures at the Elizabeth Warren rally in San Diego last night.
Anyway, the news you didn't really need to hear, but now we know that the substance thrown on the Senate Floor from the gallery on September 13 was indeed human. That said, it was concluded as not carrying any known blood-borne pathogens. That's good news for the offender, as the criminal liability could have been much greater.
POLL POSITION: There has been a lot of chatter since the Public Policy Institute of California released its statewide poll Wednesday evening. Here are my takeaways:
- Governor Newsom job approval. While at a job rating of 43% approval and 44% disapproval makes for the headline of a net negative, it's not much different from when he was sworn into office in January. That poll, which was conducted January 20-29, found the exact same approval but a 19% disapproval.
In January, 21% of likely voters had not heard enough about him to form an opinion. Basically, they realigned into the "disapprove" response. Since he had only been in office for two weeks, some respondents undoubtedly say "I'll wait and see" which in the voluntary response, get's categorized as "haven't heard enough/don't know." Also, measuring public opinion is increasingly difficult, but in January is even more so.
- Mood of the voters. Let's face it, while the economy is humming along, there is national angst about housing, homelessness, and things such as college affordability. 40% of likely voters responded that the most important issue facing California people today is 1) homelessness (16%), jobs/economy (13%), or housing costs/availability (11%). Add immigration to that to reach 50% on the top four issues, although as I will always note on the question, responses on both sides of the immigration debate add up to 10%.
Obviously, we are in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential, and that means that the nightly news will focus on those issues, and thus make it unlikely Newsom's job approval will go up in the upcoming months. The usual state domestic issues of water, crime, and education are afterthoughts of likely voters, which are also the issues where the governor can most directly exercise leadership.
Jerry Brown received 60.0% of his third-and-final bid for governor in 2014. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received 61.7% in California's general election. In 2018, Gavin Newsom garnered 61.9%.
The month before Gray Davis was recalled, his job approval was 31% approve, 65% disapprove, and 4% don't know. During Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's final year in office, his average job approval was 27.3% with an average disapproval of 63.8%. He entered office in 2004 with 64% approval, following a campaign of stardom and promises to change Sacramento.
In short, Newsom is right about where I would expect him to be. However, the above-named issues of voters are not likely to get better any time soon. While everybody seemingly has their own opinion as to how to address homelessness and housing, there are few politically easy strategies and it's a complicated mess between state and local governments, the public and private sectors, labor and environmentalists, and a helluva lot of NIMBYism.
Right direction/wrong direction. Forty-one percent of the likely voter respondents believe the state is heading in the right direction, September 2019 is 10 points lower than January at 31%. In 2010, the equivalent time period in the governorship of Brown, right direction/wrong direction in January 2010 was 15%/80% and 13%/77% in September 2010. He left office eight years later at 51% of voters believing the state was heading in the right direction, with 43% believing it was heading in the wrong way.
- Democratic presidential nomination. We now have two September polls -- Berkeley IGS/LA Times and PPIC to consider. Let's start with the numbers, which show a high degree of correlation.
||9% (combined with don't know)
- Let's not sugar-coat it. At 8% among likely Democratic primary voters in both polls, junior U.S. Senator Kamala Harris's presidential campaign is in deep trouble. It's not that number itself, but rather that 66% of California likely voters have settled on Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren. Only 9% are undecided.
Because of the earlier March 3 primary, PPIC is polling on the presidential earlier than in previous cycles. By the March 2016 statewide poll, PPIC found Hillary Clinton with 48%, Bernie Sanders with 41%, other candidates with 7%, and 4% didn't know. So, we currently have 3% naming another candidate and 9% don't know.
Basically, 89% of likely Democratic voters had picked a candidate three months before the primary. For 2020, 90% of likely voters have picked a candidate six months before the primary.
Some candidates will undoubtedly drop out. Julian Castro and Beto O'Rourke seem the most likely, although they combine for 3% of likely voters in the PPIC poll. Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar also probably returns to doing whatever senators do in this political climate. I don't see Andrew Yang dropping out as he seems to be having the time of his life, has personal wealth, and has built an adoring "Yang Gang" of youthful supporters. Last night, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a champion of labor, endorsed Warren at the San Diego rally. Gonzalez had been touting Julian Castro previously.
Yang obtained only 3% in the PPIC poll, while Asian-American voters account for 18% of California's likely voters. These voters are also more often to be "no party preference." Independent voters can vote in the Democratic Party presidential primary, but must request a Democratic ballot from their county clerk.
Biden, Sanders, and Warren have the resources to be in through Super Tuesday. Mathematically, Harris needs to more than double her statewide support to exceed the 15% minimum viability requirement for statewide delegates, and then the same test is applied in each of the state's 53 congressional districts. This is a particular challenge for Harris, as candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Yang (and to a lesser extent Marianne Williamson) can pick up delegates in congressional districts where they have significant support.
To amass a number of delegates in her home state that isn't seen as a rebuke, I believe Senator Harris needs at least 30% in California. That would deliver 30 state-level delegates and perhaps 82 district-level delegates. It would still be disappointing and the question is whether to test it out.
I like Kamala and you may have seen me wearing one of her shirts (or one of Pete's or Cory's) around town. I think she would be a good President. However, she is an undefined candidate, a driver on the 405 who doesn't know which late to get in, trying to get over to the left or right to get home a minute faster. She's tried the left lane with "Medicare-for-All" and tangled with Biden over the Obama legacy. She's promised student debt forgiveness and debt-free college. But, neither of those differentiate her from the other main change candidates, Sanders and Warren, and voters look to faces they have known longer as carrying the ball.
Further, can she navigate her background as a prosecutor with the era of Black Lives Matter and use-of-force reforms? If San Francisco DA George Gascón is on the ballot in the district attorney's race on March 3 in Los Angeles, what will be the impact on Kamala? He'll be running as a criminal justice reformer against incumbent Jackie Lacey, who is African-American. Gascón's premise of his candidacy will be reforms he has made to the DA's office since his predecessor--Kamala Harris.
Kamala also has the challenge of where her geographic base is. Her highest polling among likely voters is in the SF Bay Area (9%), although she now lives in Los Angeles (7%). Further, there have been major demographic changes in the Bay Area since she was last on the ballot for DA in 2003. As Mayor Pete likes to say, people are first getting their driver's licenses who were born that year, and she's lived in Los Angeles for about five years.
How many of the 37 candidates for U.S. Senate in the 2016 primary do you recall? Of course, the general was Kamala and former congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in a top-two shutout for Democrats, which Kamala won with 61.6% of the vote.
The energy of Kamala's campaign from that launch in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland was fantastic and had the energy that would later surround Barack Obama in his 2008 campaign. Ignoring the front-loaded primary for 2020 and just considering where we were at the end of September 2007, Hillary Clinton had 53%, Barack Obama had 20%, and 13% for John Edwards. The ABC News/WaPo poll release had the headline "Clinton Advances, Strong in Base; Giuliani’s Lead has Less Oomph": and first graf "Building on her dual image of leadership and electability, Hillary Clinton has advanced to her most powerful advantage of the Democratic nomination campaign, with resounding leads on key issues and personal attributes alike."
That did no age well although at least the headline didn't mention Edwards.
However, I don't think the Kamala Harris campaign can expect the reversal of Clinton-Obama in 2008. In that year, it was largely two unknowns. Hillary was a known public figure but didn't make the sort of waves that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have while in the Senate. Barack Obama really didn't either in his first two years as Senator, but combined with a degree of Clinton fatigue, Democratic primary voters were willing to take a chance on him.
At this point, Kamala is joking that she is "moving to Iowa." She's fighting for a share of the 41 pledged delegates elected in the February 3 caucuses. In the most recent Des Moines Register poll, she has 6%. The top three (Biden, Sanders, Warren) combine for 53% meaning getting up to even the 15% threshold will be near impossible. And that's only for six delegates in Iowa at the district level. That's equal to around receiving 50% in three congressional districts in California.
Being from a populous state does not assure a big advantage, as Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) knows all too well. The generous donors that filled up her Senate account quickly dissipated in her presidential bid. Similarly, the "easy money" for Harris has already been raised. In the first quarter, excluding a transfer from her Senate committee, she raised $12.04 million. In the period ending June 30, she raised $11.8 million. Her campaign reports $11.6 million haul for the third quarter.
While those are certainly not numbers to shake a stick at, $25.3 million in the third quarter, Warren reports $24.6 million, Buttigieg at $19.6 million, and Biden at $15.2 million. Money matters most for Harris who, aside from Buttigieg, is the least known major candidate. With such a front-loaded caucus, television is going to be very expensive in the month of February, when a majority of Californians will be voting by mail leading up to the March 3, 2020 primary.
Based on reports of the October quarterly results by the campaigns, Buttigieg has raised $42.6 million in the first nine months of 2019. Kamala has raised just over $35 million. He's mayor of a city one-fourth the size of Sacramento, while she is a United States Senator from the 5th largest economy in the world.
To stay in the race, Kamala needs to find a consistent lane and fast or risk a huge embarrassment in California come the spring. The challenge for her is to convince supporters of the big three to switch allegiances. While 53% of the poll respondents say that they would be willing to support a candidate other than their first choice, that usually doesn't happen until a first choice drops out.
I don't see Biden, Sanders, or Warren going anywhere and even if one did, there is no indication that supporters would get behind Harris, although a case could be made for Biden's supporters to spread out. However, to get to minimum viability, Harris needs several folks to drop out and overwhelmingly win over their supporters. With Buttigieg and Yang likely in for the long haul and combined capturing more of the vote in California than Harris among likely voters, that just may be impossible.
I'll take a look at the ballot measure polling tomorrow.
Lots more after the jump...
CHARTER SCHOOLS: Governor Newsom yesterday signed AB 1505, which provides more latitude for school district boards to consider deny a charter. The bill was a compromise between labor and charter school advocates and provides more oversight to school districts when considering charter school petitions and renewals, including a pause on new non-classroom based charters, such as home and independent study. In the end, Myrna Castrejón, president of the California Charter Schools Association, endorsed the bill, saying:
"This historic agreement affirms that high-quality charter schools are here to stay and that the charter school model is a key lever in closing the state’s achievement gap. AB 1505 can put to rest lingering questions about whether charter schools serve all students and help turn our collective attention to investing in and holding all public schools accountable. Governor Newsom and legislative leadership made all the difference here, and we look forward to working with leaders across California to usher in a new era of achievement and innovation for all students."
While CCSA blessed the signed deal, there was plenty of opposition from many individual charters and education advocacy group EdVoice. In the end, something was going to pass this year after the contentious strikes in urban school districts.
For CalMatters, Ricardo Cano looks at some of the biggest education bills, including AB 1505.
CAMPAIGN ADS: Also yesterday, Newsom signed AB 730 (Berman), which through January 1, 2023, prohibits the distribution of altered materially deceptive audio or video of a candidate with malicious intent to injure a candidate's reputation or to deceive a voter into voting for or against a candidate, unless the materially deceptive audio or visual media includes a disclosure that it has been manipulated.
CA39 (Fullerton): In the NYT, Jennifer Medina looks at the campaign of former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) who is seeking a rematch with Gil Cisneros (D) next year. Medina writes:
"When newly elected members of Congress traveled to Washington for freshman orientation in late November, Young Kim, 56, flew from her Orange County home to join them. Not all of the ballots in California’s 39th Congressional District were counted, but Ms. Kim believed her narrow lead was solid. After shaking hands with other members at white-tablecloth lunches, she posed for her official portrait and a group photo of all new members. Ms. Kim was expected to be one of two Republican women of color and the first Korean-American woman in Congress.
Several days into her rookie duties in late November, with all of the 244,393 ballots in the district counted, the race was officially called: She lost the election. Gil Cisneros, her Democratic opponent and a former Republican who ran on preserving Obamacare, captured 51.6 percent of the vote. Ms. Kim would not be a member of the 116th Congress.
Less than six months later, Ms. Kim announced she would try again. Now, the rematch between Ms. Kim and Mr. Cisneros will test how blue the 2018 wave in Orange County really was. Republicans hope that after the narrow loss, they can reclaim the district and two others in the county, which encompasses the birthplace of Richard Nixon and has long been a bastion for conservatives."
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: Yesterday, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced that he would leave office October 18 and move to Los Angeles. He's widely expected to run for the same office in the City of Angels next year, challenging Jackie Lacey. He previously was on the LAPD force both as an officer and assistant chief. In the NYT, Tim Arango looks at the very different approaches of the two. SF Mayor London Breed responded to Gascón's announcement with "We can't afford to have an absence of leadership in the DA's Office because victims of crime need to be represented and people who commit crimes in our city need to be held accountable."
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