Democratic field readies for the big shrink


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With the first debates and two quarters of fundraising behind them, strategists with the leading Democratic campaigns and party operatives are beginning to rethink the conventional narrative of the 2020 primary.

Gone is the expectation of a massive candidate pile-up when the early states begin voting, and a long, drawn-out primary. Few are worried anymore about the prospect of a brokered convention. Instead, the campaigns are revising their strategic outlooks to account for a field that is dramatically winnowed well before Iowa voters go to the caucuses — perhaps to as few as eight candidates on Feb. 3.

By Super Tuesday, some expect between one and three candidates will be left standing.

“I’ve long believed it will winnow down substantially come Thanksgiving,” said Mike McCauley, a South Carolina-based strategist who worked on Barack Obama and John Kerry’s presidential campaigns. “I haven’t seen anybody to cause me to reconsider that. And

Continue reading “Democratic field readies for the big shrink”

Harris allies see sexism and desperation in Biden camp backlash


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Four days after their prime-time showdown, the tit-for-tat between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden is still going strong.

Some Harris allies said Monday they saw sexism and desperation in the backlash from the former vice president’s camp. They were outraged after an ally of Biden suggested she had allowed her ambition to get the best of her when she challenged the former vice president’s long opposition to busing for school desegregation. And at least one black leader aligned with a rival campaign rose to Harris’ defense, too.

“Why couldn’t she be ambitious? She’s running for president of the United States,” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, said in an interview. Watson Coleman is backing Cory Booker but said she felt compelled to speak out. “That, however, does not diminish the significance of her speaking out [about] her experiences as a young black Continue reading “Harris allies see sexism and desperation in Biden camp backlash”

Harris allies see sexism and desperation in Biden camp backlash


This post is by Christopher Cadelago from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories


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Four days after their prime-time showdown, the tit-for-tat between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden is still going strong.

Some Harris allies said Monday they saw sexism and desperation in the backlash from the former vice president’s camp. They were outraged after an ally of Biden suggested she had allowed her ambition to get the best of her when she challenged the former vice president’s long opposition to busing for school desegregation. And at least one black leader aligned with a rival campaign rose to Harris’ defense, too.

“Why couldn’t she be ambitious? She’s running for president of the United States,” Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, said in an interview. Watson Coleman is backing Cory Booker but said she felt compelled to speak out. “That, however, does not diminish the significance of her speaking out [about] her experiences as a young black Continue reading “Harris allies see sexism and desperation in Biden camp backlash”

Harris surges to third place in national poll after debate


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The number of Democratic primary voters who pick Kamala Harris as their first choice for president doubled after the first Democratic debates, vaulting the California senator into a third-place tie in a new poll.

The latest Morning Consult survey found Harris increased her standing to 12% in the poll, which was taken after the debate ended through Friday, up 6 points over the last week. Harris’ upswing came after she confronted Joe Biden over his history opposing school busing for desegregation, a dramatic moment that dominated news coverage afterward.

Harris hadn’t moved much since entering the race on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — while two rival Democrats, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren passed Harris. After the debate, Harris pulled ahead of Buttigieg and into a tie with Warren.

Harris’ surge, which also netted her more than $2.5 million in donations as the second-quarter Continue reading “Harris surges to third place in national poll after debate”

Harris surges to third place in national poll after debate


This post is by Christopher Cadelago from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories


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The number of Democratic primary voters who pick Kamala Harris as their first choice for president doubled after the first Democratic debates, vaulting the California senator into a third-place tie in a new poll.

The latest Morning Consult survey found Harris increased her standing to 12% in the poll, which was taken after the debate ended through Friday, up 6 points over the last week. Harris’ upswing came after she confronted Joe Biden over his history opposing school busing for desegregation, a dramatic moment that dominated news coverage afterward.

Harris hadn’t moved much since entering the race on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — while two rival Democrats, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren passed Harris. After the debate, Harris pulled ahead of Buttigieg and into a tie with Warren.

Harris’ surge, which also netted her more than $2.5 million in donations as the second-quarter Continue reading “Harris surges to third place in national poll after debate”

Kamala Harris raises $2 million in 24 hours after debate


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Sen. Kamala Harris raised $2 million in 24 hours after her first presidential debate, her biggest fundraising day of the campaign, her campaign said Saturday.

Donations flowed to Harris from 63,277 people, nearly 60 percent of which were first-time donors. The average donation was $30. Her previous largest day was $1.5 million after launching.

Harris’ haul comes in the final days of the second fundraising quarter. She also is holding five fundraisers over the weekend in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The California Democrat has invested significantly in her digital infrastructure since rising to the Senate, in large part to diversify her fundraising base but also to capitalize on sudden, viral moments.

Harris’ debate performance in Miami was considered the strongest of both nights. In her memorable exchange with Joe Biden, she pressed the former vice president on his alliances with segregationists and his opposition to busing for desegregation.

Continue reading “Kamala Harris raises $2 million in 24 hours after debate”

Inside Kamala’s campaign-changing strike on Biden


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Kamala Harris’ campaign is spending the next three days trying to extend the best two hours of her political career.

Harris’ surprise cross-examination of frontrunner Joe Biden produced the third-biggest fundraising bonanza since her launch. The Democratic senator is working to capitalize ahead of a crucial second quarter fundraising deadline: She blanketed news shows with nearly a dozen TV appearances, and her digital team is pumping out clips and other reminders of her interrogating Biden, hoping that Democratic voters will envision her doing the same thing to Donald Trump.

“It’s a great springboard,” said Bakari Sellers, the former state lawmaker and top Harris surrogate in South Carolina, saying it would add rocket fuel to her end-of-quarter fundraising push. Sellers said he’s taken a just-you-wait approach with people who’ve questioned Harris’ stock. “Last night, everyone said ‘there it is right there.’ No one can describe what ‘it’ is. But now Continue reading “Inside Kamala’s campaign-changing strike on Biden”

Harris stops playing it safe, and 5 other takeaways from a raucous debate


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You know it’s a bad night for a Democrat in the 21st century when he’s on stage explaining what parts of school busing, exactly, he opposed several decades ago.

But there was Joe Biden, telling Kamala Harris that what he opposed was “busing ordered by the Department of Education.”

Biden had entered Thursday’s presidential debate prepared to avoid conflict. Instead, he got clobbered by Harris, a lower-polling contender.

So let’s call it: Biden is a damaged frontrunner, and he left his first primary debate of the year weaker than when he arrived.

Here are six takeaways from the second round of the first debates of the 2020 Democratic primary:

Harris is for real

One of the biggest questions about Harris heading into her first presidential debate was whether she’s too cautious. After two hours, no one is asking that anymore.

In crisp answers that cut to the core of Continue reading “Harris stops playing it safe, and 5 other takeaways from a raucous debate”

Texas congressman endorses Kamala Harris


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Rep. Al Green, a Democrat from Houston, is throwing his support behind Kamala Harris for president, bucking two home-state Democrats and a fellow member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Green, an eight-term congressman and one of the most outspoken advocates for impeaching President Donald Trump, is the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse a presidential candidate from outside of their home state — other than the handful of CBC officials who have come out for 2020 front-runner Joe Biden.

An early supporter of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2007, Green in a statement to POLITICO pointed to Harris’ new immigration plan providing a path to citizenship for Dreamers, as well as her work as state attorney general securing billions from banks in a foreclosure settlement. Green called her “one of the foremost opponents in the Senate to the corruption of this administration.“

“Kamala Harris represents Continue reading “Texas congressman endorses Kamala Harris”

Does Joe Biden still believe in the death penalty? His campaign won’t say


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Joe Biden said in a 1992 speech that criminal justice legislation he was pushing was so strict that “we do everything but hang people for jaywalking.” Two years later, his signature crime bill made dozens of additional offenses punishable by death.

But in a little-noticed remark earlier this month in New Hampshire, the Democratic presidential frontrunner seemed to offer a decidedly different stance on the death penalty.

Fielding a question from a voter aligned with the ACLU about how he’d reduce the federal prison population, Biden gave a long and winding answer: He defended his crime bill, advocated for reforms to the criminal justice system involving nonviolent and drug offenders, and said he was proud of his work with Barack Obama to cut the federal prison population by 3,800.

Then, unprompted, Biden added: “By the way, congratulations to ya’ll ending the death penalty here.”

Biden’s campaign would not

Continue reading “Does Joe Biden still believe in the death penalty? His campaign won’t say”

The winners — and losers — of the Democratic debate draw


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By splitting the Democratic presidential field’s top-tier candidates into two groups and dividing them evenly across two stages for the year’s first primary debates, the Democratic National Committee had hoped to avoid a repeat of the Republican Party’s “kiddie table” spectacle of 2016.

It got a stacked deck, anyway.

The two front-runners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, will both appear on the same night, based on the DNC’s random drawing Friday. They’ll be joined by two other major candidates, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg.

Only one contender from the Morning Consult poll’s latest top five, Elizabeth Warren, will appear on the other stage.

Here’s who won and who lost in the first debate draw of the Democratic primary:

Harris and Buttigieg prosper

Most candidates, if not all, had hoped to draw a lectern alongside Biden or Sanders, eager to draft off the early front-runners’ stature — and to emphasize their Continue reading “The winners — and losers — of the Democratic debate draw”

California poll: Warren surges to second, Harris falls to fourth


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Elizabeth Warren is threatening Joe Biden’s front-runner standing in California, and Kamala Harris is showing signs of weakness in her delegate-rich home state, according to a new poll.

A new UC Berkeley-Los Angeles Times poll found Biden leading with 22% of likely Democratic primary voters; followed by Warren and Sanders, who are at 18% and 17%, respectively.

Harris (13%) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (10%) are the only other 2020 presidential contenders to exceed 3% in the survey, which was directed by pollster Mark DiCamillo, who for years led the venerable Field Poll.

Warren’s surge into a tie with Sanders aligns with other recent polls that show her cutting into Sanders’ support with liberal voters. But it’s particularly notable in the Super Tuesday state of California, where Sanders has set up camp since his 2016 loss to Hillary Clinton, and where his team has pointed to structural Continue reading “California poll: Warren surges to second, Harris falls to fourth”

Harris to defend record as prosecutor in major S.C. address


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Kamala Harris will use a Saturday night address in South Carolina to mount a forceful defense of her prosecutorial record, which has been under scrutiny since she entered the race for president.

The Democratic senator from California, speaking at an event organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Columbia, S.C., will pitch her law enforcement career as her greatest strength in a contest against President Donald Trump, focusing on the victims of crime she’s stood up for, the perpetrators and powerful interests she worked to hold accountable, and how she’s made the system fairer, according to a senior Harris campaign official who outlined the speech.

“She will reject the labels that some commentators and pundits have placed on her record during the campaign, and articulate not only why she became a prosecutor but what her vision was in the job,” the Harris official Continue reading “Harris to defend record as prosecutor in major S.C. address”

Kamala Harris’ Bobby Kennedy


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Kamala Harris’ campaign held a pair of intimate fundraisers last week in New York and Connecticut, where two dozen or so guests gathered at each event to hear the headliner offer a glimpse of the inner sanctum.

The featured guest, however, was not the candidate; Kamala didn’t attend. It was Maya Harris, her campaign chair and younger sister.

Since launching her White House bid, no figure in Kamala Harris’ orbit has loomed so large. A regular presence on the trail, Maya has been involved in virtually every facet of the race, from soliciting donors and recruiting the most diverse staff of any Democratic hopeful, to helping draft policy and talking up early state politicos.

A no-nonsense boss who became a single mom at 17 and earned a law degree from Stanford before embarking on a long career in progressive activism, she’s emerged as a primary attraction in her own right.

Continue reading “Kamala Harris’ Bobby Kennedy”

Protester grabs Kamala Harris’ microphone at San Francisco forum


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SAN FRANCISCO — An animal-rights protester snatched Sen. Kamala Harris’ microphone during a Democratic presidential candidates forum in San Francisco on Saturday before being escorted from the stage.

The California senator was discussing implementing her gender pay-gap plan at the MoveOn "Big Ideas Forum" when the protester ran onto the stage, took the microphone from her hand and began speaking to the crowd. The protester was blocked by moderator Karine Jean-Pierre before being surrounded by security. Harris, meanwhile, quickly walked off the stage.

"We’re asking for a much bigger idea than…" the protester said before his microphone was cut off and he was removed from the stage.

The protester, Aidan Cook, of the Direct Action Everywhere animal-rights group, was asking for Harris to "support ordinary citizens rescuing animals rather than the factory farms that abuse animals, sicken local populations and repress whistleblowing activity," according to a press release by Continue reading “Protester grabs Kamala Harris’ microphone at San Francisco forum”

Kamala Harris gets real


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Joe Biden is offering a return to normalcy. Elizabeth Warren aims to bring big corporations to heel and prop up the working class. Bernie Sanders wants a political revolution.

Kamala Harris’ one-sentence rationale for the presidency is less clear.

To the extent the former California attorney general and district attorney has defined herself, it’s as the tough-minded prosecutor with the backbone to litigate the case against Donald Trump. Yet her law enforcement credentials have been met with some resistance from progressive Democrats, and at times she’s seemed to shy away from her record.

Now, as Harris begins fleshing out her own policy agenda, the freshman senator told POLITICO in an interview that she’s looking to offer something tangible to voters. She’s pitching herself as the kitchen-table realist of the field, the candidate who eschews lofty speeches and understands the day-to-day financial struggles of regular Americans and, bottom line, wants to Continue reading “Kamala Harris gets real”

Kamala Harris says she now backs independent probes in police shootings


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Kamala Harris said police shootings and cases of alleged brutality by law enforcement officials should be handed off to independent investigators, breaking with her long-held resistance to taking prosecutorial discretion away from locally elected district attorneys.

Harris, a former career prosecutor and California attorney general, had long advocated in favor of preserving prosecutorial discretion, taking heat from civil rights activists and African American leaders in her state. While running for Senate in 2016, she was criticized for withholding her support for state legislation requiring the Attorney General’s office to independently probe fatal police shootings. Now, campaigning for president, Harris was asked about her stance amid calls for more scrutiny over the investigative process.

“I believe the best approach is to have independent investigations,” Harris said in a Monday interview on MSNBC.

When Harris addressed the question head-on in 2014, she took the opposite approach. Harris said she didn’t think it Continue reading “Kamala Harris says she now backs independent probes in police shootings”

Kamala Harris wants to punish companies that don’t pay women equally


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Kamala Harris released an ambitious proposal Monday to punish companies that don’t pay women equally — taking an aggressive stand on a pay parity issue that has seen some advances in Congress but persists at the highest levels of corporate America.

Harris’ plan, which broadly mandates that companies prove they aren’t discriminating against women, proposes to fine corporations that don’t close their pay gaps between women and men — with the proceeds going toward building out universal paid family and medical leave.

Several studies have shown that women earn less than men, with the gap larger for Latinas and black women. Harris previewed the plan at a Sunday rally in Los Angeles, taking aim at the pay gap. “This has got to end!” she said.

Embedded in the white paper is an overhaul of anti-discrimination laws and an expansion of discrimination investigations. The proposal also comes with another stick, Continue reading “Kamala Harris wants to punish companies that don’t pay women equally”

2020 candidates rake in book royalties


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Most of the Democrats running for president first laid out their life stories and their visions for the country in books introducing them to voters — and in some cases, making them quite a bit of money.

The latest example is Kamala Harris, whose political memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” came with a significant paycheck: a $446,875 advance for the book and an additional $49,900 for a young reader’s edition, according to new financial information disclosed by Harris this week.

Harris also received $60,000 for her children’s book “Superheroes Are Everywhere.” The payments are higher than previously known — Harris had reported netting about $320,000 for the books in the latest tax return her presidential campaign released in April, but the new financial disclosures include money earned in 2019.

Bernie Sanders, the author of “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In,” a children’s version of the book, and “Where

Continue reading “2020 candidates rake in book royalties”

‘It’s infuriating’: Kamala Harris team galled by Biden veep talk


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Kamala Harris used humor to swat aside the chatter about her becoming Joe Biden’s running mate: Maybe it should be the other way around, she said Wednesday, given Biden’s experience in the No. 2 job.

But inside her campaign and among allies, such talk is not a laughing matter. They’re rankled by the suggestion, privately venting that it’s demeaning to a woman of color and perpetuates an unfair critique that she’s somehow not prepared for the job she’s actually seeking.

"It’s infuriating," a Harris confidant fumed several days before the idea began taking hold in the media.

Since then, the chorus of Democrats sizing up her run and concluding she’d be perfect as Biden’s running mate has rapidly gone from whisper campaign to national narrative. They include some fans of the California senator: Last week, members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus floated Biden and Harris as a “dream Continue reading “‘It’s infuriating’: Kamala Harris team galled by Biden veep talk”