Newsom Endorses HARRIS 2020 RUN
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is endorsing Kamala Harris, who represents the Golden State in the US Senate, for president in 2020.
Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor, said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Friday that he has known Harris for decades and she did “an extraordinary job with a very progressive record” as district attorney of San Francisco.
“I watched her up close as lieutenant governor when she served as attorney general and I’ve had the privilege of working with her as a US senator. I think the American people could not do better,” Newsom said.
California’s Super Tuesday primary is foundational to Harris’ plans to win the nomination. Her home-state advantage is an enormous asset, holding the promise of a huge haul of delegates early in the nomination fight. At the same time, a poor performance there could end her bid.
Well aware there’s no guarantee of success, Harris and her team of longtime operatives there started working the state long before many of her 2020 Democratic rivals arrived for their first fundraisers and retail campaign stops.
Harris has already held seven fundraisers in the Golden State, lined up endorsements from Gov. Gavin Newsom plus dozens of state legislators and congressional members, and brought on a top delegate expert and senior strategist with deep ties to powerful organized labor groups in the state. Harris’ strength in her past campaigns of running up her vote counts in the bluest regions — such as the Bay Area congressional districts of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee — could give the freshman senator a significant edge over her competitors.
“Our strategy runs straight through California, and we plan to aggressively defend our home state turf from donors to political leadership to superdelegates to organizations and their underlying memberships,” Sean Clegg, a senior strategist to Harris, told POLITICO. “We believe the early primary, early voting, and the cost of communicating will make it virtually impossible for all but the top two or three candidates to play in the state in a meaningful way.”
Still, Harris has a long way to go to lock down the state, and other Democratic hopefuls will undoubtedly put up a fight. Home-state ties and name ID at the start of the campaign can be a big boost, but may only carry a candidate so far. In 2016, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the Republican primary after losing his state to Donald Trump.
There’s also plenty of time for others to catch fire in California, and Harris will need to notch strong performances before the race moves to Super Tuesday.
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