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Washington Report

Poll: Biden Leads Dem Field Ahead of Debates, Many Undecided

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Some of the 2020 Democratic Hopefuls

LOS ANGELES — The latest USC Dornsife/LA Times national poll also shows it’s early in the race as many Democratic primary voters are switching candidates.

Former Vice President Joe Biden still leads the large Democratic field, but many Democratic voters have not settled on a candidate, according to a national USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Monday.

Biden currently leads with 28% of Democratic primary voters, followed by a three-way tie between U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) with 11%, Elizabeth Warren at 10% and Kamala Harris (D-California) at 10%. One quarter of voters remain undecided.

“What’s holding Biden up is the perception that he can win,” says Robert Shrum, director of the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future, which operates the poll. “Fifty-five percent of the Democratic voters think he has the best chance to win against Trump.”

Shrum and the center’s co-director, Mike Murphy, say that Biden made some missteps in the Florida debate last month when Harris attacked his record on segregation and busing and he did not counter.

Harris gained some voters in the period since the last poll was conducted in April, the poll indicates. Murphy says the next round of debates this week could help or hurt Biden, depending on what transpires.

“He’s got the opportunity for a rematch” this week, Murphy says. “If he’s doddering, despite his fundamental selling position as the guy who can take on Trump, then I don’t think he’s going to make it to Christmas. But we don’t know. He’s got to show us.”

When presented with the entire field of candidates, more than half of Democratic primary voters chose Biden as having the best chance of winning. This includes roughly a third of Harris, Sanders and Warren supporters who indicated that they thought Biden, not their own candidate, has the best chance to win.

Only Sanders’ supporters were significantly more likely to pick their own candidate than Biden. Roughly as many Harris supporters chose Harris as chose Biden (with margin of sampling error), but all others were most likely to choose Biden.

“The poll’s finding that roughly half of voters chose a different candidate last April compared to now is another indication of the fluidity of this race in advance of the second round of debates,” Darling says. “The vote looks quite different among those who are still making up their mind, compared to

those whose choice—or lack of it—has been stable since last spring. No matter how you look at these numbers, it is clear that many voters are still making up their minds.”

Shrum and the center’s co-director, Mike Murphy, say that Biden made some missteps in the Florida debate last month when Harris attacked his record on segregation and busing and he did not counter.

Biden leads by 2-1, followed by Sanders among voters who chose the same candidate in April as in July. However, support for both Biden and Sanders drops and support for other candidates rises among the voters who changed their preferred candidate since April.

Shrum says the churn is a sign that it’s still very early in the race.

Murphy says that while Harris gained some support after the Florida debates, “this is the tail not the dog. The debates do shake up the race, but wait until the first contest. That’s the tidal wave that really shakes things up.”

The Iowa caucuses are the first primary in the nation, and they will be held on Feb. 3, 2020.

The poll was conducted from July 12-July 25,2019, with 1,827 Democratic primary voters participating. Of those, 1,520 had participated in the April poll.

The voters are members of USC Dornsife’s Center for Economic and Social Research’s Understanding America Study (UAS) probability-based internet panel.

The poll was conducted online in respondents’ choice of English or Spanish. The overall margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points for all Democratic primary voters and +/4 for those who chose the same or different candidates last April.

Information about the poll including methodology, question wording and results, as well as the archive of results of prior USC Dornsife/LA Times polls, are available online at bit.ly/USCPolls 

The USC Dornsife/LA Times poll is a partnership of The Los Angeles Times and two institutions of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences: the Center for the Political Future and the Center for Economic and Social Research. For more information about the Center for Economic and Social Research Understanding America Study internet panel, visit https://uasdata.usc.edu.

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Washington Report

Back From Eye of Impeachment Storm, Schiff Rekindles Local Focus

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Back from eye of impeachment storm, Schiff rekindles local focus

BURBANK (Los Angeles Daily News) — After months in the eye of the Washington impeachment hurricane, House intelligence committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff is a national hero for Democrats and sworn enemy for Republicans. It’s a status that no doubt complicated his recent attempt at a workout at the Burbank YMCA.

Among dozens of handshakes and selfies, a man at the gym unsheathed a Donald Trump flag from his backpack and a woman shared a heartfelt story of her closest friendship torn apart by impeachment. The celebrity politician, a former triathlete with a separated shoulder, was hoping to pump some iron in the weight room.

Since impeachment proceedings concluded with Trump’s acquittal in the Senate earlier this month, Schiff has paid close attention to Trump’s swift purge of non-loyalists from his administration and warnings from intelligence officials that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to try to get him re-elected or benefit Bernie Sanders.

Back home in his district ahead of what experts consider a non-competitive race for reelection in California’s 28th district, Schiff has raised more than $9 million — the most of […]

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California

California Sues Dept of Energy for Over Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James today, leading a coalition of 16 attorneys general and the City of New York, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE) challenging its final rule rolling back energy efficiency standards for certain lightbulbs.

The lawsuit alleges that the rollback of the energy efficiency requirements for certain lightbulbs would unlawfully delay the adoption of energy efficiency goals, undermine state and local energy policy, and increase consumer and environmental costs.

“The Trump Administration needs to move on from old-fashioned technologies and yesterday’s way of doing business. It’s time to face the reality that American consumers deserve and demand more efficient and sustainable options,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today we filed this lawsuit to block the Department of Energy from pushing a foolish agenda that prioritizes out-dated, polluting technology over the needs of the people and our environment. We can’t afford to turn our back on progress.”

On May 3, 2019, the attorneys general submitted official comments on the DOE rollback proposal. They asserted that DOE should maintain the stricter, environmentally sound definitions enacted by the Obama Administration in 2017, which expanded the definition of general service lamps (GSLs) to include seven previously unregulated types of light bulbs.

By including those types of bulbs as GSLs, the 2017 definitions subject them to the congressionally-imposed GSL minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt applicable on January 1, 2020. The rollback would remove those lightbulbs from the GSL efficiency, costing consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025, or $100 per household per year.

By reversing the 2017 rules, the DOE is enacting a less stringent standard in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. This action is arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Joining Attorneys General Becerra and James in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Additionally, the coalition submitted comments opposing DOE’s related proposal to not amend (and strengthen) energy efficiency standards for common pear-shaped incandescent light bulbs. According to DOE’s own analysis, if DOE were to adopt strengthened energy efficiency standards for these bulbs, the net present value of the benefits to the nation would equal up to $4.171 billion.

A copy of the petition and the comment letter can be found attached to the press release here.

Attorney General Becerra has fought to preserve energy efficiency standards which save consumers and help protect the environment. In 2017, Attorney General Becerra sued to challenge DOE’s failure to publish finalized energy efficiency standards for portable air conditioners, generators, air compressors, boilers, and walk-in coolers and freezers.

A district court ruled in 2018 that DOE’s action was unlawful, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in 2019. Also in 2017, as part of a multistate coalition, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals challenging DOE’s unlawful delay of enforcement of energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans. As a result of the lawsuit, DOE changed course and let the standards go into effect.

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Scandals

Rep. Katie Hill Resigns from Congress, Blames ‘Abusive’ Husband

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Rep. Katie Hill Resigns from Congress, Blames 'Abusive' Husband

WASHINGTON DC (TMZ) — Freshman Congresswoman Katie Hill just threw in the towel … announcing her resignation amid a scandal that she’s now blaming on her husband and dirty politics.

Rep. Hill — a Democrat — issued a letter Sunday, saying she was stepping down from her elected post in the House of Representatives after winning the seat in last year’s election. She repped California’s 25th congressional district, covering parts of Northern Los Angeles.

In the document, she makes some damning allegations against her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep … whom she’s in the middle of divorcing right now, and it just got nastier.

Hill writes, “This is what needs to happen so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives who seem happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation.”

She goes on to say, “Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy. It’s also illegal, and we are currently pursuing all of our available legal options.” The implication is that Heslep facilitated the leak.

If you hadn’t heard … nude photos of Hill surfaced last week, as did news of extramarital relationships she allegedly had with 2 different people — a congressional staffer of hers, and a former campaign aide. She admitted to the aide fling, but denied a staffer affair.

Hill finishes her letter by saying that she’s stepping down to avoid further pain and embarrassment being thrust onto her and others, while also apologizing for her mistakes.

She writes, “Thank you for allowing me to turn my focus on this particular battle right now, and know that I stand with you as we continue to fight for the many important issues that brought me to Congress in the first place.”

Hill ends on a positive note, writing … “I love this country, I love all of you, and I thank you for allowing me the great honor of serving you.”

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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