Capitol Alert

What Motor Voter means for 2020 + 1,900 bills to go?

The political rise of Senator Kamala Harris: From California attorney to Congress

Kamala Harris was elected to represent California in the U.S. Senate in 2016. She got her start in California politics in the 1990s working as a local district attorneyHarris says her family roots are behind her political efforts today.
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Kamala Harris was elected to represent California in the U.S. Senate in 2016. She got her start in California politics in the 1990s working as a local district attorneyHarris says her family roots are behind her political efforts today.

Welcome back after a three-day weekend. Let’s dive right in...

MOTOR VOTER CRUSHING REPUBLICANS

California launched the Motor Voter program in April 2018 to boost participation in elections. Among the 800,000 newly registered voters are 186,000 people who cast a ballot.

Paul Mitchell, a political consultant and vice president of the bipartisan voter data firm Political Data, provided the numbers to The Bee. The results show Republicans could be in a world of trouble in 2020.

“This DMV registration didn’t flip any districts in 2018, but in 2020, it could definitely have a huge impact on the candidates that get nominated in the primaries and in general election outcomes,” Mitchell said.

The breakdown: About half of the 186,000 newly registered Californians through Motor Voter are listed with “no party preference,” 35 percent for Democrats and just 15 percent for Republicans.

Still, people who registered for the first time through the DMV turned out at a lower rate than those who registered for the first time through other ways. Turnout for DMV customers was 42 percent, while turnout among all new registrants was 60 percent, Mitchell said.

Though DMV customers are moving away from political parties at a higher rate than the state as a whole, Democrats are still at a major advantage.

Steven Maviglio, Democratic political consultant in Sacramento, said the program has been a big plus for Democrats. “Did it end up helping the Democrats? Yes, because more people vote. The more people vote, the more likely they are to vote for Democrats.”

ONE MORE MONTH

That’s how much time is left for California lawmakers to introduce new bills this year. Legislators filed 392 bills by the end of last week. Chris Micheli of the lobbying firm Aprea & Micheli regularly tracks bills. He thinks there will be about 2,300 total bills for the 2019 session, meaning 1,900 more could be on the horizon in the next four and a half weeks.

Housing and wildfires will be at the top of the priority list, according to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins.

HARRIS FOR PRESIDENT

California Sen. Kamala Harris threw her name into the presidential ring on Monday morning. The campaign boasted it received contributions from people in all 50 states within the first half hour of her candidacy.

But one important Californian is not backing Harris. Harris’s Democratic colleague, Dianne Feinstein, said earlier this month that she’d back former vice president Joe Biden if he ran for office.

During a television appearance on “Good Morning America,” Harris said she accepts Feinstein’s decision.

“They have a long-standing relationship,” Harris said of Feinstein and Biden. “They go back many, many years because their careers started together in Washington, D.C. I’m not concerned about that. It’s a friendship, and I respect that.”

A December 2018 CNN poll showed Biden with an early lead in the race, while Harris lost a lot of momentum between October and December, dropping from 9 percent to 4 percent. It’s unclear whether Biden will run. For now, there are seven Democratic candidates. A whole lot can change in the 652 days left until the 2020 Election Day.

TWEET OF THE DAY

Sen. Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) — “I’m running for president. Let’s do this together. Join us: http://kamalaharris.org”

MUST-READ: Kamala Harris aiming to pull off an Obama-sized feat in 2020

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