Sanders, Bloomberg test dif­fer­ent paths to a Cal­i­for­nia win

The Saline Courier - - NEWS - By Michael R. Blood and Kath­leen Ron­ayne As­so­ci­ated Press

LOS AN­GE­LES — One is spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars flood­ing the air­waves from Los An­ge­les to Sacra­mento, high­light­ing his ten­ure as mayor of the na­tion’s largest city and com­mit­ment to key Demo­cratic causes. The other has hired 80 staff mem­bers to knock on doors, or­ga­nize vol­un­teers and pro­mote his mes­sage of po­lit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion in at least seven lan­guages.

No two Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates are putting as many re­sources into the fight for Cal­i­for­nia as Michael Bloomberg, the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man and former New

York mayor, and Bernie Sanders, the Ver­mont se­na­tor. Sanders is mar­shal­ing his pas­sion­ate vol­un­teers to win the big­gest prize of the pres­i­den­tial pri­mary sea­son, while Bloomberg ar­rives with a vir­tu­ally un­lim­ited check­book af­ter a late en­try in the race.

For now, they’re de­ploy­ing dif­fer­ent strate­gies. Bloomberg is fo­cused on tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tis­ing, long viewed as the best way to reach vot­ers in the state that is home to 40 mil­lion peo­ple, while Sanders is fo­cused on door-to-door cam­paign­ing on the ground. But they each have the re­sources and plans to do both, and ear­lier than most of their ri­vals.

As Bloomberg spokesman Ja­son Schechter put it: “Cal­i­for­nia is ex­tremely im­por­tant to Mike.”

Bloomberg, who en­tered the race last month, is by­pass­ing the first four vot­ing states and an­chor­ing his strat­egy to Cal­i­for­nia and other Su­per Tues­day states, hop­ing a strong show­ing will carry him to the top of the field. Sanders, mean­while, has a grass­roots in­fra­struc­ture in place from four years ago and is treat­ing Cal­i­for­nia as im­por­tantly as ear­lier con­tests like Iowa and New Hamp­shire. He’s vow­ing to win the race.

Bloomberg, though, will not be one of the seven can­di­dates who will gather Thurs­day in Los An­ge­les for the sixth and fi­nal de­bate of 2019. He is un­able to qual­ify for the con­tests be­cause he is not ac­cept­ing cam­paign do­na­tions. Sanders will be on­stage along­side former Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren, South Bend, In­di­ana, Mayor Pete But­tigieg, Min­nesota Sen. Amy Kloubchar, busi­ness­man An­drew Yang and bil­lion­aire phi­lan­thropist Tom Steyer. Steyer will be the only Cal­i­for­nian on stage af­ter Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris sus­pended her cam­paign, open­ing a scram­ble for her home-state donors and sup­port.

Cal­i­for­nia moved its pri­mary up to March in 2020, from June in 2016, in an ef­fort to have more sway over the nom­i­nat­ing process. How­ever, it’s pos­si­ble that no can­di­date emerges from Cal­i­for­nia with a de­ci­sive win be­cause of the maze of rules used to divvy up the state’s haul of 495 del­e­gates, far more than any other state.

Still, the tra­jec­tory of the race in Cal­i­for­nia, where roughly 14 mil­lion vot­ers will be el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in the Demo­cratic pri­mary, largely mir­rors what’s hap­pen­ing na­tion­ally. Polls from the Pub­lic Pol­icy In­sti­tute of Cal­i­for­nia and CNN in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber, re­spec­tively, show Bi­den, War­ren and Sanders ahead of the rest of the field.

But­tigieg, who has reached front-run­ner sta­tus in Iowa and New Hamp­shire, re­mains in sin­gle dig­its.

Although Cal­i­for­nia sends out mail-in bal­lots for early vot­ing on Feb. 3, the same day as the Iowa cau­cuses, mil­lions of vot­ers will not cast bal­lots im­me­di­ately and may be heav­ily in­flu­enced by what hap­pens in ear­lier vot­ing con­tests.

“I would not un­der­es­ti­mate the abil­ity of some­body break­ing out in Iowa or New Hamp­shire,” said John Emer­son, who headed Bill Clin­ton’s 1992 Cal­i­for­nia cam­paign.

Who­ever leads the pack in the early states “will look like a win­ner,” said Emer­son.

That was echoed by long­time Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee mem­ber Bob Mul­hol­land. “By the end of Fe­bru­ary, it could be Michael Bloomberg and two oth­ers stand­ing,” Mul­hol­land said.

To win, Sanders, a self­de­scribed demo­cratic so­cial­ist, and Bloomberg, a mod­er­ate, are largely ap­peal­ing to dif­fer­ent slices of the elec­torate. Sanders’ cam­paign sees its ma­jor fight not with Bloomberg but with Bi­den, as they both tar­get older, white work­ing-class vot­ers and peo­ple of color.

Former U.S. Sen. Bar­bara Boxer of Cal­i­for­nia said she doesn’t think Bloomberg’s big spend­ing will pay off. There’s a his­tory of wealthy, bigspend­ing can­di­dates fall­ing short in Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing former ebay CEO Meg Whit­man, who spent a record $178 mil­lion in her failed bid to be­come gover­nor in 2010, much of it from her per­sonal for­tune.

“I don’t think Cal­i­for­ni­ans in gen­eral sup­port some­one try­ing to buy their way in,” she said, though she added Bloomberg and Steyer are “fine on the is­sues.”

Be­yond Sanders and Bloomberg, the top na­tional can­di­dates are the only ones putting sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments into Cal­i­for­nia. Lower polling can­di­dates such as Klobuchar and Yang have no paid staff on the ground, though they are work­ing to mo­bi­lize vol­un­teers. New Jersey

Sen. Cory Booker, who didn’t qual­ify for the de­bate, has fundrais­ing staff in Cal­i­for­nia and plans to hire or­ga­niz­ers in Jan­uary, a cam­paign spokes­woman said.

But­tigieg has trav­eled to Cal­i­for­nia reg­u­larly to at­tend high-dol­lar fundrais­ers with stars of Hol­ly­wood and the tech in­dus­try, but has only more re­cently been cou­pling that with pub­lic events. His cam­paign sees an op­por­tu­nity for him to do well in the state’s Cen­tral Val­ley, an agri­cul­tural re­gion that they be­lieve will re­spond to But­tigieg’s Mid­west­ern roots.

Still, But­tigieg’s trou­bles with non­white vot­ers could hurt him in Cal­i­for­nia, a ma­jor­ity-mi­nor­ity state.

War­ren’s cam­paign has opened sev­eral of­fices in Cal­i­for­nia and has four dozen staff mem­bers on the ground, and Bi­den plans to open of­fices soon. But none of the other cam­paigns has an­nounced plans to be­gin ad­ver­tis­ing on tele­vi­sion.

Sanders, mean­while, has been draw­ing on the well of sup­port he built in 2016 to fuel his cam­paign the sec­ond time around. He has won the en­dorse­ment of prom­i­nent unions, in­clud­ing the pow­er­ful Na­tional Nurses United, and is fight­ing to en­sure that Latino vot­ers and young peo­ple cast bal­lots.

Bloomberg’s ad­ver­tis­ing blitz is in­tended to tell the mayor’s story to West Coast vot­ers who might not know much about him — and be­fore any ri­vals have a chance to de­fine him. It’s an early step in a cam­paign that will also blend in tra­di­tional re­tail cam­paign­ing by the can­di­date and a vast ef­fort to iden­tify and con­tact vot­ers and get them to the polls, an in­vest­ment the cam­paign pre­dicts will be the largest in the state’s his­tory.

Bloomberg also in­tends to mine for votes in ar­eas out­side the big, heav­ily Demo­cratic ur­ban cen­ters that are of­ten over­looked in pres­i­den­tial con­tests, in­clud­ing the Cen­tral

Val­ley and the one-time Repub­li­can strong­hold of Or­ange County.

There will be mul­ti­ple field of­fices and a mix of paid staff and vol­un­teers “do­ing ev­ery­thing from phone bank­ing to knock­ing on doors,” Schechter, the spokesman, said.

Last week, Bloomberg made his first can­di­date visit to Cal­i­for­nia, where he high­lighted one of his cen­ter­piece is­sues at a talk on cli­mate change in San Fran­cisco with former Gov. Jerry Brown. He also re­ceived the en­dorse­ment of 29-year-old Stock­ton Mayor Michael Tubbs, who had planned to sup­port Har­ris.

Both Bloomberg, a former Repub­li­can and former in­de­pen­dent, and Sanders, an in­de­pen­dent se­na­tor, could ben­e­fit from votes among the state’s 5.4 mil­lion in­de­pen­dent vot­ers, who are per­mit­ted to vote in the state’s Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial pri­mary.

WASHINGTON — Amer­i­can his­tory is hap­pen­ing in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Democrats are driv­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to the brink of im­peach­ment Wednesday as the House takes up charges Trump abused his power and ob­structed Congress in pres­sur­ing Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate po­lit­i­cal ri­vals and re­fus­ing to co­op­er­ate with the en­su­ing con­gres­sional probe.

The na­tion’s 45th pres­i­dent is on track to be­come only the third com­man­der in chief to be im­peached.

But first, watch for a day­long show­down that’s been boil­ing for years be­tween Repub­li­cans loyal to Trump and Democrats who say his con­duct to­ward Ukraine makes him un­fit for of­fice. Look, too, for legacy mo­ments for Washington’s po­lit­i­cal vet­er­ans on the eve of the 2020 elec­tion year.

What to watch dur­ing a his­toric day on Capi­tol Hill that is ex­pected to end with a fi­nal vote Wednesday evening:

•••

SPOILER ALERT

Trump is head­ing for im­peach­ment. When the

House opens de­bate, the out­come will have been known for some time.

A tally com­piled by The As­so­ci­ated Press found that a ma­jor­ity of House mem­bers have said they will vote to ap­prove the charges and send them to the Se­nate for a trial next month. The Gop-led Se­nate is not ex­pected to con­vict and re­move Trump from of­fice.

•••

PAR­TI­SANS, MOSTLY Ex­pect most Democrats to vote for im­peach­ment and all Repub­li­cans to vote against it. But there are ex­cep­tions. One fresh­man Demo­crat,

Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, has in­di­cated he will op­pose im­peach­ment, then switch par­ties to be­come a Repub­li­can. Ear­lier this year, Michi­gan con­ser­va­tive Rep. Justin Amash left the GOP when he fa­vored im­peach­ment. He is ex­pected to vote yes to im­peach.

One new Demo­cratic con­gress­man, Jared Golden of Maine, said he would vote to im­peach on abuse of power but not ob­struc­tion.

•••

AMER­I­CANS

Ex­pect the House to take the na­tion’s us-vs-them po­lit­i­cal cul­ture out for a spin be­fore a global au­di­ence. But it’s not clear the pro­ceed­ings are chang­ing many minds.

Trump’s ap­proval rat­ings have held steady since a whistle­blower re­port and a par­tial tran­script re­vealed he had pres­sured Ukraine’s pres­i­dent to in­ves­ti­gate Democrats.

Wide shares of Democrats both dis­ap­prove of the pres­i­dent and sup­port im­peach­ment, while wide shares of Repub­li­cans ap­prove of Trump and want him to re­main in of­fice. New polls from The Washington POST/ABC News and CNN find sup­port for im­peach­ment and re­moval re­mains at about half of Amer­i­cans.

•••

‘PRO­FOUND DIS­GRACE’ Im­peach­ment will sub­ject Trump to what former Pres­i­dents Ger­ald Ford and Jimmy Carter called a “pro­found dis­grace” that stains a pres­i­dent’s legacy for­ever. Only two pres­i­dents have been im­peached: An­drew John­son in 1868 and Bill Clin­ton in 1998.

Richard Nixon chose to re­sign in­stead.

Trump has mocked the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment as weak. •••

TRUMP’S DAY

He’s head­ing to Michi­gan, the Demo­cratic state he flipped in 2016. Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence is on a bus tour across the state and ex­pected to join Trump at the rally in Bat­tle Creek. On the eve of the floor ac­tion, Trump gave a nearly six­page pre­view of his ap­proach in a ram­bling let­ter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. in which he cast him­self as a vic­tim and ac­cused the Democrats of smart­ing over their elec­tion losses.

AP

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT., speaks dur­ing a town hall meet­ing, Sun­day, Dec. 15, 2019, in Keokuk, Iowa.

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