Capitol Alert

President O’Rourke? + Ninth Circuit drama

Beto O’Rourke
Beto O’Rourke Congress.gov

#DraftBeto

Hundreds of Californians are joining a group to push Beto O’Rourke to launch a presidential candidate. The #DraftBeto movement aims to elect the unsuccessful Democratic Texas candidate who lost the 2018 senate race to Ted Cruz.

Thirteen people in California are leading the effort and have sponsored house parties across the state to build awareness, with the latest event hitting Sacramento on Wednesday night.

“Our goal is to give people who are excited about Beto O’Rourke a chance to get involved in the campaign,” said Michael Soneff, California and Nevada director for Draft Beto.

The group’s top priorities: Get O’Rourke to run, form a grassroots operation to elect him and begin raising money.

Among the nine Democratic candidates already in the field are two top contenders, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Recent polling has former vice president Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and O’Rourke leading the pack, though none has announced plans to run for president.

Soneff said he feels passionately about the cause because he thinks O’Rourke is in the best position to beat Trump. “Beto is by far the best candidate to take on Donald Trump in 2020. I think he brings a genuine perspective to the table. He has an ability to broaden the coalition rather than narrow it.”

California will play a big role in determining which candidate will secure the Democratic nomination. If O’Rourke runs, one question will dominate discussion: Can a Texan resonate in California? To paraphrase Cruz, if you’re gonna run in California, you can be a liberal man.

JUDICIAL SHAKE-UP

President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday his nominees for the Ninth Circuit in California. The state’s two Democratic senators, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein responded with strong opposition to the president’s picks. The senators said they oppose Kenneth Lee and Daniel Collins because of their lack of judicial experience.

“The White House’s decision to push these nominees fails to secure consensus on the circuit court.”

Feinstein and Harris said they believe they’ve reached compromise on a number of nominees for district court vacancies.

IMMIGRATION IN THE TRUMP AGE

At 11 a.m. today, the California Immigrant Policy Center is hosting a conference call to discuss policy priorities in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget and the impact the federal government shutdown has had on immigrants.

TWEET OF THE DAY

Dale Kasler (@dakasler) — “Judge really ripping PG&E. “Safety is not your no. 1 thing.”

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