Capitol Alert

Elizabeth Warren will soon open first California offices, Kamala Harris to add a second

Elizabeth Warren is ramping up her campaign in the Golden State.

The Democratic presidential candidate plans to open her first two California offices in the coming month, according to her campaign — one in Oakland and another in Los Angeles. Nicole DeMont, Warren’s California state director, said the latest efforts reflect a growing commitment to boost voter turnout.

“The more we organize, the more supporters we can get on board,” DeMont said.

Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are in a statistical tie with former Vice President Joe Biden in California, according to the latest survey of likely California voters conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Warren has seen a huge surge in the state since the start of her campaign, jumping from a third place tie at 7 percent in April to first place at 23 percent in September, according to polls from Quinnipiac University and PPIC, respectively.

The increased investment in California reflects the importance the state will have in deciding who will secure the 2020 Democratic nomination. California offers the most number of delegates and begins early voting on Feb. 3 — the same day as the Iowa caucuses.

Sanders, whose views align most closely with Warren’s, leads the presidential field in staffing up in California. He has more than 20 California campaign workers on his payroll, including a deputy campaign director, according to Anna Bahr, a spokeswoman for Sanders’ California campaign.

Sen. Kamala Harris also has a strong organizing team in California, with 11 paid staff members. Maya Humes, California communications director for Harris’s campaign, said the team has trained more than 3,000 California volunteers through “Camp Kamala” to boost turnout. She also revealed Harris plans to open a second office in California.

Harris, who opened up an office in Oakland last month, will soon open another one in Los Angeles, according to Humes.

Warren has refused to participate in fundraisers, which has been a central strategy for other candidates visiting California. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has held 35 fundraisers in the state — the most of any 2020 candidate. He is followed by Biden’s 21 fundraisers, and California Sen. Kamala Harris’s 14 fundraisers, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of their visits.

Warren’s campaign has built support by hosting a series of “Warren Weekends” in dozens of places across the state to train volunteers. At the same time, the senator has made five trips to the state to participate in a total of 10 events. She’s largely relied on large events to build enthusiasm, with four major rallies or town halls hosted in Glendale, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego.

She has also gained voters’ attention by through an opinion piece in The Sacramento Bee in August where she expressed her support for Assembly Bill 5 — a proposal from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to reclassify certain “independent contractors” as full-time workers.

Warren’s support for the measure landed her an endorsement from Gonzalez ahead of her Oct. 3 town hall in San Diego. Gonzalez was the most prominent California lawmaker to support her up to that point.

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Bryan Anderson is a political reporter for The Bee. He covers the California Legislature and reports on wildfires and transportation. He also hosts The Bee’s “California Nation” podcast.
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