Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Essential Politics: New national tracking poll still shows Democrats poised to take the House

Whether it’s a wave or just a steady flow of voter sentiment, a new national tracking poll continues to forecast a rising tide for Democrats in their quest to reclaim control of the House. The survey is the first of three weekly tracking polls of voter sentiment that USC and The Times plan to release between now and election day. The desire to vote against him runs especially strong among female voters, particularly college-educated white women and minority women. That’s created new battlegrounds in suburban districts that once reliably voted Republican, from Orange County to northern New Jersey. A slight majority of likely female voters in the USC/L.A. Times poll, 51%, said they saw their vote as an expression of opposition to Trump, compared with 24% who said it would express support for Trump and 25% who said neither. -- Republican Reps. Mimi Walters and Steve Knight are staunch allies of the president. But only Walters is getting hit on it in Democratic attack ads. Elsewhere, most are largely avoiding the topic of the president in a surge of television advertising in the final weeks of California's most competitive campaigns. -- With a quartet of California congressmen by his side, Trump on Friday directed federal agencies to speed up their environmental review of major water projects in the state and develop plans to change regulations that hamper water deliveries.

Techies in Politics: A New Wave Runs for Office

Can more techies in politics make for better policy? Dozens of scientists, computer scientists and tech entrepreneurs are running for office this year both on the federal and state level. “When someone is a software developer, or information architect, or scientist of some sort, my hope is that when they approach a problem, they’ll use the scientific method, and test their hypotheses, and try to approach government on a rational basis,” Ben Kallos, a software developer, lawyer and New York City Councilman told me over the phone. And there are dozens more scientists and techies running at the state level. He’s running to represent North Carolina’s House District 59 against Republican incumbent Jon Hardister. I’m not sure that I can.” The forces behind Trump’s election made Buccini question whether working at a Bay Area startup was really enabling him to contribute meaningfully to society. “I want to actually do the hard work and meet these people who are suffering, instead of being in the ivory tower of the Bay Area.” “I decided to come back home and run because the people who got me to where I was, the teachers who stayed after hours, and the teachers who wrote me the incredible recommendations, and sponsored my clubs that allowed me to go to Cal don’t have the resources they need to do their jobs,” he told me on the phone. More generally, during his five years in office, Kallos has worked with civic tech groups to make New York City government more accessible and open at a time when the open government movement started to flourish. Most of these technologists and scientists running for office appear to be Democrats. 314 Action, a political action group that started training scientists and technologists to run for office last year, is very much in line with Democrats, however.

GOP embraces single-payer healthcare attack in California

Republicans are seizing on Democratic demands for a single-payer health system as an attack line in California, arguing that candidates backing the issue spearheaded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are out of step with their districts. “The district does not support it.” Walters represents one of seven GOP-held seats in California that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that Democrats are seeking to take back. “That’s going to leave them with a lot of candidates who aren’t a good fit for their districts.” In the seven Clinton-won districts in California, at least five will have Democrats on the November ballot who support single-payer. Both Democrats back Medicare for All. Porter, who defeated a more moderate Democrat in the primary, pushed back on the idea that her support for a single payer healthcare system will hurt her in November. “Washington does not need more can’t-do Democrats.” Democrats generally think the issue of healthcare will help them in November. Every California Republican in the House voted to repeal ObamaCare. Rob Pyers, research director at California Target Book, which does nonpartisan political analysis in the state, noted that the California House districts that Democrats are seeking to take back from the GOP are all “somewhat conservative” and that Sanders won none of them during the 2016 Democratic primary. “In a few months, I'm guessing voters there will be confused as to whether Mimi Walters is running against Porter or Elizabeth Warren.” Walters brushes off attacks on her vote to repeal ObamaCare. He said he had no regrets on his ObamaCare repeal vote.

California Dems endorse three candidates in pivotal House races

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Three Democratic candidates running in top-tier House races in 2018 landed highly coveted endorsements from the California Democratic Party. The endorsements give candidates a big boost of momentum to stand out among their crowded fields ahead of the June 5 primaries. At the state party’s annual convention in San Diego, those three candidates were able to get the 60 percent of votes needed to land the endorsement. But tensions were high in the Walters district as Min’s opponents sought to block his endorsement. His rivals were able to collect the 300 signatures needed to do so and forced a floor fight that played out at the convention Sunday morning. But in a voice vote, state party chairman Eric Bauman said that more delegates supported Min. Meanwhile, in the other four GOP-held seats that Clinton carried, there will be no state party endorsements since no candidate reached the 60-percent threshold. Those are the seats held by GOP Reps. Steve Knight, Jeff Denham, Ed Royce and Darrell Issa. Both Royce and Issa opted not to run for reelection in 2018. Beyond those seven races, Democrats are also targeting several other House seats in California that are considered more of a reach.