Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls woo Cal­i­for­ni­ans


Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren elec­tri­fied Cal­i­for­nia Democrats on Satur­day with a pledge for bold ac­tion, match­ing if not out­shin­ing en­thu­si­asm for the state’s own Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris to kick off a day when more than a dozen pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates planned to make their cases to thou­sands of ac­tivists in the na­tion’s largest lib­eral strong­hold.

“Some say if we all just calm down, the Repub­li­cans will come to their senses,” War­ren said in bring­ing the crowd to its feet with a thinly veiled shot at for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, who has ex­pressed hope the GOP will have “an epiphany” af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is gone. “But our coun­try is in a cri­sis. The time for small ideas is over.”

Bi­den was the only ma­jor can­di­date not at­tend­ing the three-day gath­er­ing in San Fran­cisco, opt­ing in­stead to cam­paign in Ohio.

Cal­i­for­nia has shifted its 2020 pri­mary ear­lier on the cal­en­dar, to March 3, part of the Su­per Tues­day col­lec­tion of con­tests, in hopes of giv­ing the state more sway in choos­ing the party’s nom­i­nee. Cal­i­for­nia will offer the largest del­e­gate haul, but it is a no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult state to cam­paign in, given its mas­sive size and ex­pen­sive me­dia mar­kets.

While Har­ris has a builtin ad­van­tage, Ver­mont Sen. Bernie San­ders is also ex­pect­ing to build heav­ily on the or­ga­ni­za­tion he built in the 2016 con­test. She looked to make a show of force in Satur­day’s prime speak­ing slot to kick off ad­dresses from pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls, the day’s main event. She played up her deep con­nec­tion to Cal­i­for­nia vot­ers, hav­ing won statewide of­fice three times, once to U.S. Se­nate and twice as the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, and hav­ing been elected as San Fran­cisco’s dis­trict at­tor­ney.

Har­ris too sparked a stand­ing ova­tion when she de­clared, “We need to be­gin im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings and we need a new com­man­der in chief!”

Ear­lier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi avoided men­tion­ing im­peach­ment in her re­marks but said the House would hold Trump ac­count­able.

For­mer Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke also ad­dressed the morn­ing convention, slip­ping seam­lessly be­tween Span­ish and English, a key move in a state with a large His­panic pop­u­la­tion. He praised Cal­i­for­nia Democrats for their mas­sive turnout in the 2018 midterms, when the party flipped seven U.S. House seats held for years by Repub­li­cans and noted that his un­suc­cess­ful Se­nate bid drew record Demo­cratic turnout as well.

“You, Cal­i­for­nia Democrats, have of­fered the rest of the coun­try an ex­am­ple,” he said. “And in Texas we were right there with you.”

San­ders wasn’t sched­uled to ad­dress the full crowd un­til Sun­day, but he greeted union work­ers at a Satur­day morn­ing break­fast and re­ceived an en­thu­si­as­tic re­cep­tion Fri­day night at a meet­ing of the Chi­cano-Latino cau­cus, which en­dorsed him dur­ing the close 2016 con­test with Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton.

“This time we are go­ing to win Cal­i­for­nia,” he de­clared.

Other can­di­dates at­tend­ing the gath­er­ing: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; New York Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard; South Bend, In­di­ana, Mayor Pete But­tigieg; Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Eric Swal­well; Min­nesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; for­mer Colorado Gov. John Hick­en­looper; Wash­ing­ton Gov. Jay Inslee; for­mer Obama hous­ing chief Julian Cas­tro; and for­mer Mary­land Rep. John De­laney.


Sup­port­ers of Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris hold up signs dur­ing Satur­day’s or­ga­niz­ing convention in San Fran­cisco.


Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris, D-Calif., speaks at an SEIU event be­fore the 2019 Demo­cratic state or­ga­niz­ing convention.


Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren, D-Mass., speaks Satur­day at the 2019 Cal­i­for­nia Demo­cratic Party State Or­ga­niz­ing Convention.


For­mer Texas U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke speaks at an SEIU event be­fore the 2019 Cal­i­for­nia Demo­cratic or­ga­niz­ing convention.

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