New Poll Finds Trump Leads Haley By Massive 64%-17% Margin in California Republican Primary

‘Trump has a big donor base in California, much bigger than people realize’

According to a new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Poll released on Thursday, former President Donald Trump has a massive lead over former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, with California’s massive number of delegates likely to go to Trump on Super Tuesday.

The poll found that a massive 64% of California Republicans would back Trump in the primary, with only 17% backing Haley; 14% currently have voters wanting other candidates despite Haley and Trump being the last two candidates left in the race. A further 4% said that they wouldn’t vote in the primary with 1% currently undecided.

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“Trump’s support is at 75 percent among conservatives and is similar among men (65%) and women (62%),” the PPIC said in their breakdown. “Support for Trump is at 48 percent among college graduates and is at 67 percent among those 45 and older. When asked how they would vote when the choice is between the two remaining Republican presidential candidates, 69 percent say they would vote for Trump and 29 percent would vote for Haley, while 2 percent would not vote in the Republican primary.”

The PPIC poll is on par with the current 538 aggregate projection on the California Primary, which only factors in Trump and Haley as candidates. According to that projection, Trump is currently estimated to get 73% of the vote and Haley around 19%. Both the PPIC poll and the 538 California projections show Trump coming in slightly below the national Republican primary voter average of just under 77% in favor of Trump and 15.6% in favor of Haley.

Trump trumps Haley

The PPIC poll also showed that President Joe Biden is also currently leading Trump in the November presidential election in California. Biden is currently polling at 55% according to the poll, with Trump at 32%, other candidates at 10%, and 3% remaining undecided. When compared to the final 2020 percentages in California, Biden is currently polling well below his final 63.4% showing from the last election, with Trump only down roughly 2% from 34.3% in 2020. However, Trump is also currently up from his 2016 showing in California, where he received just above 31% of the votes in the state. With a large percentage of voters still open and Biden’s 39% approval rating actually being several points behind where Trump’s approval rating was during the same time in his presidency in 2020, Trump could get a higher percentage of Californian voters than he did in 2020.

“When it comes to California, the consensus is that Trump will win the GOP primary hands down, but will lose to Biden. Shocker, right?,” said Michael Springer, an elections analyst in Washington who focuses on presidential primaries. “But this poll was pretty interesting. For Trump, even with the multiple lawsuits and everything going on with him right now, he is still polling just about as well as he did in 2020 in California. It’s still not enough to send Democrats there into any sort of panic, but if Trump polls above his 2020 total and does better against Biden in blue California than he did 4 years ago, that is going to speak volumes of how how people are perceiving Biden.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Former Chapman Law dean John Eastman appeals for more money as license is threatened

Column: The former president’s former lawyer has been watching the Georgia soap opera closely

As the soap opera in Georgia rivets the nation, the deadline for a California Bar judge to rule on John Eastman’s law license — can he keep it and earn money to fight those criminal charges in Georgia, or will he be disbarred for trying to overthrow democracy? — was supposed to be February’s end.

But decision day has been pushed back a month or so.

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Turns out the State Bar’s prosecutor incorrectly cited a court case in a filing and asked to fix it. Attorneys for Eastman, the former dean of Chapman Law School, responded with a long list of other things they consider to be factually incorrect in the prosecutor’s filings. So now Judge Yvette Roland’s decision will be due by March 27, a State Bar spokesperson said by email.

Eastman has been charged with 11 counts by the State Bar, the most colorful of which are “dishonesty and moral turpitude.” He’s accused of prodding state electors to send fake electoral votes for Trump to the Capitol, of filing false information with courts, of spreading incendiary lies that fed the rage that consumed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and cost several people their lives.

Meantime, the former dean is keeping an eagle eye on the drama in the Peach State — seeing, perhaps, a way out — and pushing for more contributions to cover millions in legal bills.

“The sixty four dollar question many people are asking is whether Fulton County (Georgia) District Attorney Fani Willis and her (apparently former) boyfriend will be removed from prosecuting President Trump, me and some 17 other defendants on ridiculous, politically-motivated charges,” Eastman wrote in an essay published Wednesday, Feb. 21, on City News OKC’s website.

“The answer, according to numerous legal experts is: they sure should be. Judge Scott McAfee’s hearing last week turned into a must-watch TV drama. It reminded me of watching O.J. Simpson driving his white Bronco on a Los Angeles freeway back in the day with TV helicopters hovering above and police cars behind. You just couldn’t turn away, wondering how things would end….

“I obviously am much more than just an interested observer in this legal drama. The two people at its center are seeking to ruin my life, destroy my reputation and put me in prison simply because I lawfully gave President Trump legal advice on questioning the integrity of the 2020 election.”

Willis’ Georgia grand jury indicted Eastman, Trump and others on racketeering and other charges, saying they aimed to disenfranchise Georgia voters.

The former president’s former lawyer has bemoaned the “surreal, exhausting battle to defend my integrity” in fundraising emails, pinning the price tag for his legal defense at some $3 million to $3.5 million. He faces “an onslaught of false charges leveled by radical leftwing lawyers working with lawfare groups. Tragically, many of these false charges were repeated nearly word-for-word by State Bar prosecutors and form the basis of the Bar’s prosecution against me,” he told potential contributors.

Eastman’s GiveSendGo account has hit $628,000, with more than $10,000 in small donations pouring in over the past month. A donor recently kicked in $1,000, saying, “I remain appalled that the California Bar is persecuting you for zealously representing your client. How could the ethics authorities be so unethical?”

Eastman is categorically innocent of all the charges against him, Eastman has said, and is doing everything in his power to defend himself and expose the truth.

“The unprecedented ferocity and extent of the various lawfare attacks against me have been grueling,” he wrote on CityNewsOKC. “I am fighting this lawfare assault vigorously but I’m going to need to raise over $3 million to contend with the totality of the assault being waged against me.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Biden heads to California to rev up his fundraising in anticipation of a costly rematch with Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden heads to California on Tuesday looking to soak up more cash for his reelection bid during a three-day swing through the state.

Going into the trip, Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that they had collected $42 million in contributions during January from 422,000 donors. Biden ended January with $130 million in cash on hand. Campaign officials said that is the highest total amassed by any Democratic candidate at this point in the cycle.

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez called the haul “an indisputable show of strength to start the election year.”

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“While Team Biden-Harris continues to build on its fundraising machine, Republicans are divided – either spending money fighting Donald Trump, or spending money in support of Donald Trump’s extreme and losing agenda,” she said.

The figures suggest Biden is cementing an early cash advantage over Trump, his likely general election opponent. But the numbers still lag what Trump had amassed during a similar period in 2020, when his campaign routinely smashed fundraising records.

Raising money is only part of the equation. How well that cash is spent is also a major factor — as Trump well knows. His 2020 campaign effectively lit his massive cash surpluses on fire through a series of questionable spending decisions.

This year, Trump retains his impressive ability to hoover up campaign cash, particularly from grassroots donors who typically chip in small amounts online. Trump, who hasn’t released his January fundraising numbers yet, also faces a new threat to his campaign’s finances: the staggering legal bills he racked up while defending himself in four separate criminal cases.

In order to maintain an edge in what’s widely expected to be an expensive rematch with Trump, Biden’s campaign will need to accelerate his fundraising.

This week’s trip to Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area will mark Biden’s third visit to California in just over two months for political events. He’s trying to make up for lost time after largely avoiding the Democratic donor stronghold during last year’s strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA.

Biden heads first to Los Angeles, where he will take part in a fundraiser. He’ll also make campaign stops in San Francisco and Los Altos Hills this week and deliver a policy speech near Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Biden made a quick visit to Los Angeles earlier this month for a meeting with supporters in the city’s upscale Bel Air neighborhood. He and first lady Jill Biden also spent a weekend in December in the Los Angeles area for campaign events.

The first lady is traveling Tuesday to Guilford, Connecticut, to hold a campaign fundraiser on behalf of her husband.

While the Bidens will be pursuing deep-pocketed donors this week, the campaign points to the number of smaller donations it has raised as an encouraging sign for the president.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Anyone But HIM? At least he’s not Trump’ might not be the rousing campaign pitch Dems think it is

Apparently, it’s not the economy, stupid. Because if it was, based on the metrics, President Joe Biden would be coasting to a second term. 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

He’s not. Instead, Democrats are propping him up by lowering the bar. Their pitch: At least he’s better than Donald Trump. That’s a long fall from 2008, when Barack Obama, and Biden as his running mate, pitched voters with soaring rhetoric about “hope” and “change.” 

Grassroots Democrats are freaking out, especially after Special Counsel Robert Hur, who was investigating Biden’s retention of classified documents after his term as vice president, questioned Biden’s memory issues. The Trump-appointed U.S. attorney described Biden “as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz encouraged voters Friday to remember that elections are a “binary choice,” and said Hur’s report didn’t recommend criminal charges against Biden for his use of classified material, compared with Trump, who is facing 40 federal charges for obstruction and allegedly retaining dozens of sensitive documents after leaving Washington. 

“We’ve got someone who is not going to be exonerated as an option,” said Walz, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, “versus someone who has.”

Walz’s comments are illustrative of how the party’s leaders and top fundraisers say they’re not concerned, including Jim Messina, the San Franciscan who led Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection. Obama’s approval rating was 38% a year before Election Day.  

Messina tells me that Democrats should relax. It’s still early, and most voters haven’t tuned in yet. 

“You win a presidential election by having a very clear choice,” Messina told me this week before he co-headlined an abortion rights fundraiser at Oakland’s Grant Lake Theater. “I used to say to Obama, ‘If it’s a referendum on the incumbent, you lose. If it’s a choice, you win.’”

Messina pointed to recent Biden campaign internal research that found that nearly three in four voters they’re trying to target don’t believe Trump will be the Republican nominee.

Voters “haven’t started thinking about that choice,” Messina said. “And when they’re forced to think about that choice, that’s when the race gets better for Joe Biden, and really, not until then.” 

It’s an example of how Messina, now a top Biden fundraiser who is among those trying to raise a projected $2 billion for the president’s reelection, and leading Democrats are all banking on a version of the “at least he’s not Trump” pitch to drag Biden over the finish line.

It’s a cynical strategy for a cynical time in politics. A look at the polls shows it’s not working.

Republicans have successfully made the focus of Hur’s 345-page report the portions that recounted how Biden had trouble remembering when his son Beau died or the exact dates of his vice presidency.

The anecdotes cut to the core of why three-quarters of respondents, and half of Democrats, have concerns about Biden’s fitness for the job, according to an NBC News poll this month.

After the report came out, Biden seethed over Hur’s question about his late son: “I don’t need anyone, anyone, to remind me when he passed away … how in the hell dare he raise that?”

“I’m well-meaning and I’m an elderly man, and I know what the hell I’m doing,” Biden told reporters this week. “I put this country back on its feet.”

Messina told me Friday that “clearly the report is a problem,” but that “the issue was age both before and after the report.” 

“The question is,” Messina said, “does it fundamentally alter the race 269 days out?” 

Yet voters haven’t been moved by a continuing stream of positive macroeconomic numbers that should be helping Biden. The economy grew at a 3.3% annual rate last year. Unemployment is 3.7%, the 24th consecutive month that it has been below 4%, the longest such streak in half a century. More than 800,000 manufacturing jobs have been created during Biden’s term. Consumer confidence, a monthly barometer for Americans’ buying intentions, hit its best level in January since December 2021.  

“This is a good economy,” Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said this month. 

But polls say a lot of likely voters aren’t feeling it. The pace of inflation is slowing, but it is still up 3.4% from a year ago. Food prices remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

Good news about the economy usually takes about six months to resonate with voters, Messina said.  

But six months from now is a few weeks before Election Day. Is there enough time for voters to change their mind? 

Yes, Messina believes. Obama didn’t ultimately pull ahead of Republican nominee Mitt Romney until news broke in September 2012 that Romney told attendees at a private fundraiser that “there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what” because they are “dependent upon government” and don’t pay income tax. The Obama campaign used it to reinforce the perception of Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy. 

After months of Democrats melting down over Obama’s poor poll numbers, the race changed when voters made the comparison. 

Or, as Biden likes to say it, don’t compare him to the almighty, compare him to the alternative. 

When asked about concerns about young voters being unenthused about Biden, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi told the Chronicle last week that younger Americans “tell us over and over again they care about women’s right to choose, LGBTQ rights, gun violence protection and the planet. Now, all of those things are very much in jeopardy if Donald Trump becomes president of the United States.” 

But so much is different and uncharted in this race. This is the first time that two former presidents have squared off. Most voters have calcified opinions of each man. And who knows what will happen regarding the 91 criminal counts Trump faces over four different cases. Will any be adjudicated before Election Day? And if Trump is convicted, will voters desert him? 

What worries Messina are  third-party candidates, such as Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and Jill Stein. Not that any of them could win. But that they could siphon off enough votes in those key battleground states to tip the election to Trump. 

Messina said that Biden defeated Trump by 10 percentage points among “double-haters” — voted who loathed both Biden and Trump in 2020. But if “there’s a place for those voters to go,” Messina said, “even if that person has no chance of winning, that keeps me up at night.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Burbank Democrat running for Senate, emphasized Biden’s passage of legislation addressing new infrastructure and climate change in a meeting with the Chronicle, and said “we have somebody running (Trump) who says he wants to be a dictator on Day One. And I think that as we get closer, that we will be able to make that case with increasingly greater clarity.” 

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle

Third Party Candidates Widening Trump’s Lead Over Biden

There’s a reason why Democrats are freaking out over comparative anti-interventionists RFK Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornel West.

Adam DelGiudice/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

Though the majority of general-election presidential polls at this stage of campaign 2024 feature only President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, a growing number are beginning to reflect what most voters’ ballots are going to actually look like: pretty crowded.

So what happens when other names are added to the two least popular presidents in the modern polling era? Led by former Democrat and current independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., they combine to attract support in the low double digits, usually. But what really has Democratic operatives in a funk is how the introduction of competition affects the spread between the Big Two. Long story short, it widens Trump’s lead. At least as of now.

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There have been at least 19 polls taken since mid-January that include both the simple Trump-Biden option and a choice that adds 1–5 additional candidates, thereby allowing an apples-to-apples numerical evaluation of the third party/independent impact on the same set of voters. In only two of those polls—one in Pennsylvania, the other in Georgia—did Biden’s position vis-à-vis Trump improve with those extra names; in 13, Trump gained ground.

For example, an I&I/TIPP survey of 1,266 registered voters released Wednesday showed Trump leading the two-way race within the margin of error—43 percent to 41 percent (with 10 percent saying “other” and 6 percent undecided). But adding five new candidates to the mix extended Trump’s lead by 4 points: 40 percent to 34 percent, with Kennedy receiving 8 percent, presumed No Labels candidate Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W. Va.) 3 percent, independent progressive Cornel West 2, and presumed Green nominee Jill Stein and presumed Libertarian Lars Mapstead tied at 1 percent apiece. (“Other” shrinks down to 2 percent, and undecided shoots up to 10.)

No Labels will decide whether it will jump into the fray, and if so with what ticket, sometime after the March 5 Super Tuesday primaries; the organization has amassed ballot access in 14 states and expects to achieve 32, with hopes that any eventual nominee can elbow onto most of the remaining 18. Cornel West, who raised just $250,000 in the third quarter of 2023 (compared to RFK’s $8.7 million in the third and $7 million in the fourth), and whose personal finances are notoriously shambolic, nevertheless has unofficially qualified for ballot access in two states, and is (like RFK) forming new political parties in selective states to reduce his petitioning burden.

The Libertarian Party, which has led the non-Democratic/non-Republican field for presidential ballot access five elections running, says it expects to be on 48 ballots; the Greens north of 30.

While much of the Democratic Party’s freakout over third-party challengers has focused on No Labels, with its untold millions and clustering of well-known centrist politicians (Manchin, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, and perhaps former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie), at least two factors suggest a low electoral ceiling for the group: 1) As I pointed out last July, “the centrist moneybags lane of presidential politics over the past half-decade is full of carcasses: Evan McMullinLarry HoganJohn KasichHoward SchultzMichael BloombergBill Weld, and American Renewal, for starters.” And 2) the organization and its floated candidates are considerably more hawkish on foreign policy than Joe Biden, at a time when much of the political passion being expressed particularly on the left is focused on criticizing Israel (and Biden’s support thereof) for its war in Gaza.

“It will be difficult for [Biden] to talk about redeeming the soul of the nation when he is enabling genocide,” Cornel West told The Washington Post in an article published Thursday.

Biden in his public appearances has been serially hounded by anti-Israel protesters. White House staffers in the hundreds have been engaging in semi-regular protests against his Mideast policy. Fifty-one percent of Democrats, per a YouGov survey in November, and 55 percent of all Americans ages 18–29 (a key Democratic Party demographic) consider Israel’s actions in Gaza to be a “genocide,” compared to just 29 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republicans.

A December New York Times/Siena poll showed that the 18–29 cohort thinks that Biden has been too supportive of Israel (45 percent vs. 6 percent who said too supportive of Palestinians); that the Palestinians were the most sympathetic side (46 percent to 27 percent for Israelis); that America should not send more support (55 percent); that Israel is not seriously interested in a peaceful solution (59 percent); and that Israel should stop the war even before all its hostages are free (67 percent). All of those numbers are way out of whack with the rest of American adults, and help explain why—in this one poll, anyway—the under-30 vote prefers Trump over Biden 49 percent to 30 percent.

“Forget No Labels. Biden’s Third-Party Peril is on the Left,” went the headline on a Politico magazine article this weekend written by the influential campaign journalist Jonathan Martin. “How many Biden speeches must be shouted down,” Martin wondered, “until Democrats realize that a hot war in Gaza this fall may mean 30,000 fewer votes apiece in Madison, Dearborn and Ann Arbor and therefore the presidency?”

In five-way general election polls this cycle—Trump vs. Biden vs. Kennedy vs. Stein vs. West—Stein and West are polling at around 2.2 percent apiece. That may not sound like a lot, until you consider that a combined 4.4 percent for left-of-the-Democrat candidates would be the highest number since the Progressive Party’s Robert La Follette over a century ago. Also, in the five such polls taken in 2024 that also feature the simple Trump vs. Biden matchup, the bigger ballot saw Trump’s lead widen by an average of two percentage points.

Both Stein and West and the entire field currently seeking the Libertarian Party nomination are decidedly more anti-interventionist, and critical of the American empire, than Biden or Trump. For most of the 21st century, comparative foreign policy skeptics have punched far above their weight in presidential elections: Ralph Nader in 2000, Howard Dean in 2004, Ron Paul and Barack Obama in 2008, Paul again in 2012, Trump in 2016.

The wild card this time around might be RFK Jr., who initially thrilled many anti-interventionists with his dovish take on the Russia-Ukraine war only to alienate them with his staunch post–October 7 support for Israel. According to The Washington Post, Kennedy’s advisers “say he will deliver a speech soon to address concerns both among leftist activists and libertarians that his approach to Israel is too hawkish.”

You will rarely go broke betting against independent and third-party candidates to undershoot their expectations and to fail (as they have every presidential election after 1968) to win a single state. Many, though not all, of the conditions that dampened third-party enthusiasm in 2018, 2020, and 2022 remain in place, chiefly high negative polarization and the related anxiety that the worse of the two major parties will introduce authoritarianism. Third-party poll numbers almost always march steadily downward from February to November, and even the final day’s polling typically overstates support by a third.

But America’s anti-interventionist sentiment almost always dwarfs that of their highest representatives in Washington, even those who were elected promising a more humble foreign policy. And it’s not hard to imagine overseas entanglements sprouting all over the globe this calendar year, against a domestic backdrop of highly charged politics and profound youth-vote alienation from the rest of the country.

“This is a disaster politically,” an unnamed House Democrat told Politico‘s Martin. “The base is really pissed—and it’s not just the leftists. I have never seen such a depth of anguish as I’ve seen over this Gaza issue.”

Click here to read the full article in Reason

No Impeachment: Tom McClintock, GOP holdout on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary, helps sink vote

Rep. Tom McClintock was one of three Republicans bucking party by voting against the impeachment of President Joe Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary over his handling of the southern border.


His and other defections sank a vote to impeach Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — something GOP leadership pictured as a victory last week that was soon cast into doubt.

The vote failed, 216-214. Tuesday night. It is expected to be reconsidered in another vote, though no specific date or time was announced. “The only way to stop the border invasion is to replace the Biden administration at the ballot box,” McClintock wrote on social media Tuesday.

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“Swapping one leftist for another is a fantasy, solves nothing, excuses Biden’s culpability, and unconstitutionally expands impeachment that someday will bite Republicans.” McClintock, R-Elk Grove, wrote a 10-page memo released Tuesday against impeaching Mayorkas.

With a razor-thin House majority, Republicans could only stand to lose a few members’ support tonight to impeach Mayorkas, assuming all available members voted. Democrats were united in opposing impeachment. On Tuesday night, McClintock, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., and Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo. voted no.

Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, changed his vote to “no” so the articles could be reconsidered at a later date. To propose reconsidering a vote, a House member has to be on the side that won. Buck said he’d vote no last week, confirming his conviction in an opinion piece published Monday.

The Colorado Republican is leaving Congress in 2025 due to disagreements with party members who continue to raise false claims about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Previously, McClintock blasted the impeachment effort as based on policy disagreements.

He said while Mayorkas was the “worst cabinet secretary in American history, guilty of malfeasance, neglect of duty and maladministration,” those weren’t grounds for impeachment. “The founders specifically rejected terms like malfeasance, neglect of duty and maladministration as grounds for impeachment,” McClintock said in a November statement, “because they feared such vague terms would be twisted for political ends and render the executive subordinate to the legislative branch.”

Impeachment is one of Congress’ highest powers of checks and balances to charge and try federal officials for treason, bribery or “other high crimes and misdemeanors.” While the House has the power to impeach an official, only the Senate can remove one from office through a trial.

“This baseless impeachment should never have moved forward; it faces bipartisan opposition and legal experts resoundingly say it is unconstitutional,” said DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg. There are 219 Republicans and 212 Democrats in the House.

Four seats are vacant. With all the remaining members voting, Republicans needed 216 yeses to meet the majority threshold to impeach Mayorkas. If Mayorkas is impeached, the Senate is expected to quickly convene a trial. It would take two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes, to remove him from office. Since 51 senators typically vote with Democrats, that’s probably impossible.

McClintock was one of three California Republicans who helped block a floor vote to impeach Mayorkas in November. But the other two Californians, Reps. John Duarte, R-Modesto, and Darrell Issa, R-Vista, said they would vote to impeach after the Homeland Security Committee put forth articles through the normal process.

The November attempt, pushed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., was thwarted 209-201, with eight Republicans joining all Democrats against it. McClintock, who leads the House subcommittee on immigration and border security, called her effort unconstitutional. He chastised the impeachments of former President Donald Trump when Democrats held the House majority.

“We must not allow the left to become our teachers,” McClintock said. “If these clear constitutional principles are not restored, now, that power will be just one election from being turned against the constitutionalists on the Supreme Court, or upon any future Republican administration.”

The Homeland Security Committee last week approved two articles of impeachment that claim Mayorkas failed to enforce U.S. immigration laws and breached public trust in congressional testimonies about the U.S.-Mexico border.

The committee had started interviewing former officials in June to try to build a case that Mayorkas was in “dereliction of duty.” Democrats, including Biden and Mayorkas, have criticized the effort as baseless. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters last Wednesday: “Congressman Tom McClintock said, ‘These are not impeachable offenses.’”

“Our challenge to House Republicans is this,” Jean-Pierre added: “Will you go against the very voices you typically listen to play a dangerous, unconstitutional game?”

Click here to read the full article in the Sacramento Bee

Ron DeSantis ends presidential bid ahead of New Hampshire primary, endorses Donald Trump

WASHINGTON — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his Republican presidential campaign on Sunday, ending his 2024 White House bid just before the New Hampshire primary while endorsing his bitter rival Donald Trump.

The decision leaves Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley as the last major candidates remaining in the race ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. This is the scenario Trump’s foes in the GOP have long sought, raising the stakes for this week’s contest as the party’s last chance to stop the former president who has so far dominated the race.

But as some Trump critics cheered, DeSantis nodded toward Trump’s primary dominance – and attacked Haley – in an exit video he posted on social media.

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“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” DeSantis said in the straight-to-camera video, delivered in a cheerful tone, through forced smiles.

He continued: “I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee and I will honor that pledge. He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

Haley fired back during a campaigning stop in Seabrook, New Hampshire, just as DeSantis announced his decision.

“He ran a great race, he’s been a good governor, and we wish him well,” she told a room packed with supporters and media. “Having said that, it’s now one fella and one lady left.”

SEE ALSO | Authorities ‘concerned’ about potential threats ahead of New Hampshire primary

DeSantis’ decision, while perhaps not surprising given his 30-point blowout loss last week in Iowa, marks the end of an extraordinary decline for a high-profile governor once thought to be a legitimate threat to Trump’s supremacy in the Republican Party.

He entered the 2024 presidential contest with major advantages in his quest to take on Trump, and early primary polls suggested DeSantis was in a strong position to do just that. He and his allies amassed a political fortune well in excess of $130 million, and he boasted a significant legislative record on issues important to many conservatives, like abortion and the teaching of race and gender issues in schools.

Such advantages did not survive the reality of presidential politics in 2024. From a high-profile announcement that was plagued by technical glitches to constant upheavals to his staff and campaign strategy, DeSantis struggled to find his footing in the primary. He lost the Iowa caucuses – which he had vowed to win – by 30 percentage points to Trump.

DeSantis’ allies said that private discussions began shortly after Iowa to decide how to bow out of the race gracefully.

The Florida governor notified top donors and supporters of his decision through a series of phone conversations and text messages between senior campaign officials to top donors and supporters on Sunday afternoon, according to two people who received such communications. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the private conversations.

DeSantis had returned to Florida by then after a rollercoaster weekend that included stops in New Hampshire and then South Carolina ahead of another scheduled stop in New Hampshire Sunday evening that was ultimately canceled. The campaign also canceled a series of national television experiences earlier in the day, blaming the cancelation on a miscommunication with DeSantis’ super PAC.

DeSantis was physically worn after spending weeks on the campaign with little, if any, time off, even as he stormed across frigid Iowa and New Hampshire, often without a winter coat.

He ultimately decided that he needed to endorse Trump given his popularity in the party, despite the deeply personal feud between them.

“While I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden. That is clear,” said DeSantis, who is in his second and final term as Florida’s governor, which ends in January 2027.

The endorsement was a stunning tail-between-his-legs moment for DeSantis, whom Trump has mercilessly and relentlessly taunted in deeply personal terms for the better part of a year now.

For Trump, whose team includes many former DeSantis staffers, the attacks have often felt more like sport than political strategy. Trump and his aides have blasted the governor as disloyal for running in the first place, mocked his eating habits and his personality and accused him of wearing high heels to boost his height.

DeSantis’ team joined Trump in attacking Haley as news of his departure rippled across the political landscape. Some doubt Haley, who was seen as splitting Republican votes and preventing a head-to-head match up between Trump, would benefit from DeSantis’ decision.

“She will not be the nominee,” key DeSantis supporter Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told AP. “She will not be the president of the United States.”

Trump had already shifted his focus to Haley in recent weeks, but minutes after DeSantis’ announcement, the former president’s campaign released a new memo highlighting the pressure on Haley to win New Hampshire.

“Now that we are a mere 48 hours from the primary, the tone has shifted mightily. We see it, you see it, but make no mistake, if Nikki Haley loses in New Hampshire – there are only two options,” wrote senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles.

Click here to read to the full article at 7 News

Former Chapman law dean John Eastman pushes for big money to help defense

Column: The ex-Trump lawyer is trying to boost his legal defense fund. Fact-checking conservative O.C. attorney rips into his take on reality

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Screenshot of John Eastman’s GiveSendGo fundraising site

John Eastman bemoaned the “surreal, exhausting battle to defend my integrity” in a recent fundraising email, pinning the price tag for his legal defense at some $3 million to $3.5 million and politely pleading for donations.

The erstwhile dean of Chapman Law — who faces criminal charges in Georgia for trying to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election defeat, and the potential loss of his law license in California — said he faces “an onslaught of false charges leveled by radical leftwing lawyers working with lawfare groups. Tragically, many of these false charges were repeated nearly word-for-word by State Bar prosecutors and form the basis of the Bar’s prosecution against me.”

Eastman’s GiveSendGo account — whose fundraising goal creeps ever higher — has surpassed $615,000, but is nowhere near enough. “Though I have been blessed with over half a million in donations to my legal defense fund, I have already incurred legal costs of three times that amount,” his email says. “I urgently need your help to move forward with my defense.”

The pitch goes on to make factual claims that, at best, raise a few eyebrows. For a fast fact-check we turn to “Eastman Claims vs. Reality,” an entertaining, if stinging, analysis by Laguna Niguel attorney James V. Lacy.

We’ll remind you here that Lacy is no leftwing radical engaged in “lawfare,” but a bona fide conservative who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations, and as a Trump delegate in 2016. Lacy maintains that Trump would have been much better off if he never met Eastman.

‘Claims v. Reality’

Says Eastman: “This has been a surreal, exhausting battle to defend my integrity and legal actions from an onslaught of false charges leveled by radical leftwing lawyers working with lawfare groups.”

Says Lacy: “Are the charges false? The facts charged are based on his own actions, like calling Georgia legislators and trying to arrange for fake electors. They include conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer. Two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree. Two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings. Conspiracy to commit filing false documents.

“And… are they leveled by ‘radical leftwing lawyers?’ No, plenty of right-wing lawyers are leveling the charges, including the former Reagan White House Counsel and Appellate Judge John worked for, J. Michael Luttig, and Vice President (Mike) Pence’s counsel Greg Jacob, who went to the same law school as John.”

Says Eastman: “My legal team has demolished the State Bar’s claim that there was no evidence of fraud or illegality in the 2020 elections….our team did a magnificent job and made a clear and compelling case that my representation of President Trump had a strong factual basis as well as a compelling legal basis under the law and constitution.”

Says Lacy: “This is total baloney. Eastman was never able to establish meaningful proof of fraud or illegality. To the extent there was ‘illegality’ it had to do with empowering voters during a pandemic. The law favors voting. There has never been any finding anywhere of meaningful election fraud or illegality. Eastman’s ‘experts’ at the trial almost to the person did not qualify as experts, and his top Constitutional expert John Yoo actually testified he did not agree with Eastman’s interpretation of the Constitution and that Biden won the election ‘fair and square.’”

Says Eastman: “Our team put on a wide array of credible witnesses that, for the first time, laid bare in a courtroom many of the illegal and fraudulent activities that occurred in critical states such as Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania.”

Says Lacy: “As above, most of the witnesses were not qualified as experts because they were not. Former California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown was not qualified as an expert and her testimony was basically she did not know him too well, met him a couple times a year at legal conferences, and had a good impression of his scholarship. Nothing about election fraud.”

Says Eastman: “I had the courage to assist President Trump bring lawful, substantive allegations of election illegality before courts and appropriate elections officials pales in comparison to what we still face.”

Says Lacy: “He lost everywhere.”

‘Big lie’

Eastman’s big lie is in the first sentence of his first, infamous, two-page memo, Lacy said: “Seven states have transmitted dual slates of electors to the president of the Senate.”

“It was not true. There were not dual slates of electors in any legal sense,” Lacy said.

“Fake elector facts: The fake certificates were created by Trump allies in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico, who sought to replace valid presidential electors from their states with a pro-Trump slate, according to documents obtained by American Oversight.

“They sent these fake certificates after Trump himself failed to block governors from signing the real certificates. Specifically, Trump encouraged Republican governors in states like Georgia and Arizona not to certify the election results, and falsely claimed the elections were fraudulent. But these GOP officials ignored Trump, followed the law and awarded the electors to Biden.”

Lacy reminds us of the words of former Marine and current U.S. District Judge David O. Carter (“Based on the evidence, the court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021″ and “Dr. Eastman likely acted deceitfully and dishonestly each time he pushed an outcome-driven plan that he knew was unsupported by the law”).

Eastman faces a slew of criminal charges in Georgia, including violating the state’s RICO Act, filing false documents, soliciting a public officer to violate the oath of office and other criminal conspiracies. He has pleaded not guilty.

He awaits a decision on charges of “dishonesty and moral turpitude” from a California State Bar judge, which may well cost him his law license. Eastman has indicated he’ll appeal an unfavorable decision to the California Supreme Court and possibly beyond, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Which, of course, would cost more money.

‘$3 million+’

“As difficult as these past months have been, it’s clear to me that what my family and I have endured thus far because I had the courage to assist President Trump bring lawful, substantive allegations of election illegality before courts and appropriate elections officials pales in comparison to what we still face,” Eastman’s email says.

“If the State Bar judge rules against me and recommends that I be disbarred, I have the right to appeal but my law license will be suspended in the process. This will cripple my ability to earn a living doing what I have loved and excelled at for decades. Meanwhile, I face a highly-partisan prosecutor in Georgia who is determined to put me in prison for years to come….

“They are trying to completely destroy me. I am categorically innocent of all the charges against me and I am doing everything in my power to defend myself and expose the truth.”

Eastman said he’s $1 million in the hole, on top of what the legal defense fund has covered, and needs another $1 million by February to defend himself in Georgia.

“My wife and I have worked hard all our lives to earn a middle-class living for our family. We have no way to handle the $3 million+ in legal expenses that this lawfare assault will cost. We’re completely dependent on the generosity of people of good will like you to help,” it says.

Click here to read the full article at the OC Register

Iowans Propel Trump’s bid to be GOP pick

DES MOINES — Former President Trump has passed the first milestone in what his allies hope will be a quick march to a third presidential nomination.

Republican presidential candidate former President Trump speaks at an Iowa caucus site on Jan. 15, 2024. 
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

The voting by Iowa Republicans on Monday moved the country closer to a presidential contest unlike any other in U.S. history: A defeated former president facing four criminal cases and multiple felony allegations — including an effort to subvert the last election — taking another shot at the White House.

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Trump’s win in the Iowa caucuses came thanks to the resolve of his die-hard supporters, who turned out on a bitterly cold night that state officials described as some of the worst weather for a caucus in half a century.

Even before voting had begun at some caucus locations, the Associated Press and television networks projected Trump’s victory based on polls of voters entering the caucus sites and results from key precincts.

The swift announcement drew an angry reaction from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was projected to take second place, just a few percentage points ahead of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

In a statement from his campaign’s communications director, DeSantis accused the news media of “election interference.”

“The media is in the tank for Trump, and this is the most egregious example yet,” the statement said.

Speaking to his supporters, Trump said he was honored by the early call, congratulated his opponents and called for unity in the GOP.

“It would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out the problems and straighten out all the death and destruction we’re witnessing,” Trump said. “It’s going to happen soon.”

He called President Biden “the worst president that we’ve had in the history of our country” and pledged to “seal up the border” and “rescue our economy.”

With nearly all the vote tallied, Trump was holding just over half the total, with DeSantis and Haley each pulling about one-fifth. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy was far behind in fourth place and was expected to drop out of the race.

The weather and the lack of suspense about the outcome did lead to sharply lower turnout than in 2016, when about 180,000 Iowans took part in the GOP caucus. This time around, Iowa Republican officials said about 100,000 voted.

The near-tie for second could mean that the Iowa result won’t have much effect on either the Haley or DeSantis campaigns’ ability to move forward to the next contest, in New Hampshire next week.

Despite her projected third-place showing, Haley claimed to have the momentum needed to overtake Trump in future contests and told her supporters, “I can safely say tonight, Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race.”

“Seventy percent of Americans don’t want another Trump-Biden rematch,” she said. A rerun of the 2020 contest would result in another close election, but Haley said she would beat Biden “in a landslide.”

She’s well-positioned to overtake Trump in New Hampshire, where moderate voters and independents are a much larger share of the electorate than in Iowa.

After that, however, her prospects dim. Trump continues to have a huge lead in Haley’s home state, which votes in February, as well as in many of the 15 states that vote on March 5, this year’s Super Tuesday.

In California, for example, Trump currently has the support of two-thirds of likely GOP voters for the March 5 primary, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, which was released Monday morning. Trump is on track to win all of the state’s delegates to the GOP convention, which amount to 14% of the votes needed for the nomination.

Democrats did not hold a presidential caucus Monday. The party flubbed the 2020 caucuses so badly that no winner was ever formally named. Amid concerns that Iowa’s overwhelmingly white population did not represent the nation’s changing demographics, Democrats last year decided to begin their nominating contest with primaries in South Carolina and Nevada.

After the race was called for Trump, the Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement outlining the case that Democrats plan to make against him.

As he campaigned in Iowa, “Trump showed us exactly what he would do to America if he gets the chance: ban abortion nationwide, cut Social Security and Medicare, make our communities less safe, and give handouts to the wealthy while raising costs on middle-class families,” the statement said.

Monday’s results showed that Trump retains the fervent backing of his loyalists. His margin of victory was on track to break the record for a contested Iowa Republican caucus, set in 2000 by George W. Bush.

Unlike a primary, where voters can cast a ballot at any time during election day — and in many states for weeks before the election — caucuses require voters to attend at a specific time, typically starting at 7 p.m., and stand in front of their neighbors to announce whom they back.

At the 1,657 precinct-level caucus sites around the state, supporters of the candidates delivered speeches, often expressing the grievances and anger that have animated many Republican voters about the border, pandemic-era lockdowns and perceived bias against conservatives.

In preelection polls, Trump voters were far more enthusiastic about their candidate than were backers of the other candidates, and that enthusiasm carried over to caucus night.

“There is a great awakening happening across the country right now,” said Kathryn M. Heilesen, a certified public accountant in Denison, in western Iowa, who was a caucus captain for Trump. She did not clarify her reference to the “Great Awakening,” a phrase that dates to 18th century evangelism in the U.S. but in recent years has been picked up by devotees of QAnon conspiracy theories.

Heilesen’s vote for Trump was a matter of faith but also of prophecy, she said. “And you just need to listen to the prophets — if you listened to them in 2016, they predicted this,” she said.

Although the population of Crawford County, where Denison is located, is almost 30% Latino, the caucus turnout was almost entirely non-Latino white voters.

Nearly half of Trump’s supporters described themselves as “extremely enthusiastic” about their candidate, according to a Des Moines Register-NBC-Mediacom poll of Iowa voters conducted last week. By contrast, only 9% of former United Nations Ambassador Haley’s backers were similarly excited, as were 23% of voters for DeSantis.

Trump led among all demographic groups tested in the poll but was especially strong among voters who identified themselves as evangelical Christians and the 4 in 10 likely caucus voters who labeled themselves as backers of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement. Among Trump backers, 60% called themselves either “ultra MAGA” or “regular MAGA,” the poll found.

About half of Haley’s backers identified as “anti-MAGA,” while 1 in 10 said they were MAGA supporters.

DeSantis voters fell between those two poles, with more than half saying they were neutral toward the MAGA movement, the poll showed.

Kurt Moore, 54, a DeSantis supporter in Ames, home to Iowa State University, said he hadn’t caucused in past elections because “sometimes you know you’re not going to change anything.” This time, he said, he would have “driven through a blizzard” to take part.

“A lot of us think we’re coming to an end as a country if we don’t take a new direction,” he said. “We have a great country … only if we don’t destroy it. Now with all these people flooding across the border … people’s tax dollars [are] being used to house illegal aliens in schools. We don’t know what a man or a woman is. It’s a mess, and we have to fix it.”

Voters are “willing to go out in 2-degree weather to fix it,” he added, looking at the roughly 120 people gathered in an elementary school cafeteria for their caucus.

Nearby, Ami and Rolf Duvick said that they supported DeSantis because Trump had backed lockdowns during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a nutshell, we really liked Trump, but DeSantis led way better when it came to COVID,” Ami Duvick said.

In Iowa, as elsewhere, Haley appears to have consolidated the support of those who have rejected Trump, including disaffected Republicans, independents and some Democrats who crossed over and participated in the Republican caucus, which Iowa’s rules allow.

She appeared to be doing best in precincts with high percentages of college- educated voters, a result consistent with the preelection polls that showed her having her strongest support among two groups that have consistently resisted Trump: suburban voters and white women with college degrees.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California could give Trump early boost, poll says

Survey of state’s voters shows tepid support for Biden and less for Kennedy.

Two-thirds of Californians most likely to vote in the Republican primary intend to cast their ballots for Trump, according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by The Times.
 (Associated Press)

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No matter the results of the Iowa caucus on Monday night, new polling suggests that Republicans vying for the presidential nomination face the equivalent of a brick wall on Super Tuesday in the form of former President Trump.

In California, one of 15 states holding Republican primaries on March 5, two-thirds of voters considered likely to take part in the Republican primary said they would cast their ballots for Trump, according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. That’s up from an already dominant 57% in October.

The poll, taken Jan. 4-8, suggests that California conservatives could provide a significant boost to Trump’s efforts to clinch his party’s nomination early in the primary season, despite his relatively light presence in early primary states.

This year’s primary is the first under new “winner-take-all” rules set last summer by the California Republican Party, which allocate all 169 delegates — the most of any state — to a candidate who wins more than 50% of the vote.

California’s delegation accounts for nearly 14% of the delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination.

“It’s now a different ballgame, and it certainly benefits Trump if he can follow through on these numbers,” said Mark DiCamillo, the director of the Berkeley IGS poll. “If Trump carries California, he’s a long way toward securing the nomination.”

Previously, Republican presidential candidates received three delegates for each congressional district they won in California, meaning several candidates could make gains in the Golden State.

Trump holds similarly large leads in several other Super Tuesday states, according to recent polls. All told, just over one-third of the delegates to the GOP convention will be settled that day. Trump’s strategists hope to win enough of them to put the nomination out of contention at that point, which would be before any of the four criminal trials he faces are scheduled to begin.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is now Trump’s closest competitor in California, but she is running a distant second place, with support from 11% of likely voters, the new poll found.

Haley backers hope that a strong showing in Iowa coupled with a possible win in New Hampshire this month could give her enough momentum to truly challenge Trump for the nomination.

The poll suggests why that will be so difficult. She performs best among the relatively small segments of California Republicans who described themselves as politically moderate or liberal and those with a postgraduate education. Among self-described “strongly conservative” voters, who play an outsize role in Republican primaries, 5% back her.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in February of last year was leading Trump in California, is “falling like a stone,” DiCamillo said. DeSantis is now the choice of 8% of the state’s likely Republican voters.

The general election is a different story. The outcome of the race has been clouded by Trump’s legal battles, President Biden’s sinking popularity among younger voters and Latinos, and the presence of third-party and independent candidates, including progressive activist Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The poll suggests that support for Biden in California continues to be tepid, despite the state’s deep-blue politics.

Half of California voters have a favorable view of Biden, while 48% say their view is unfavorable. His job approval among all registered voters — 44% approve and 52% disapprove — hasn’t moved significantly from October, when, for the first time, a majority of Californians disapproved of Biden’s job performance.

“He’s underwater, which is not a great place to be in a blue state,” DiCamillo said.

Biden’s support has eroded more among some voter groups, including Latinos.

Democrats have a 2-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans among Latinos in California, DiCamillo said. But the poll found that just 38% of likely Latino voters in California have a favorable view of Biden.

That number falls to 34% among Latinos for whom Spanish is their dominant language, a group that in past elections has tended to be more Democratic than other Latinos.

Biden is also struggling to retain the support of young voters. Just 4 in 10 likely voters younger than 30 have a positive view of Biden, compared with 6 in 10 likely voters older than 75.

“Those are big changes, and they’re typically a very key Democratic constituency,” DiCamillo said.

Asked about a hypothetical five-candidate field that includes West, Kennedy and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the poll found that Biden would hold a 16-point lead over Trump in California, 47% to 31%, significantly less than his 30-point victory margin in 2020. The poll found 6% support for Kennedy, 2% for West, and 1% for Stein, while 12% of likely voters remained undecided.

In a head-to-head contest with no third-party candidates, Biden’s lead over Trump would increase to 19 points, 56% to 37%, with 7% undecided, the poll found. If Vice President Kamala Harris were the Democratic nominee, she would beat Trump in the state by an almost identical margin, 55% to 37%.

Biden would also beat Haley in California, 51% to 34%, but with 16% of voters undecided, the poll found.

Younger voters’ and Latinos’ souring on Biden is not unique to California. In some swing states, where the contest is much closer, polls have found Biden trailing Trump in hypothetical 2024 matchups.

But the mixed reception for Biden’s job performance is better than how voters in California see Trump: 34% positively, 63% negatively, including 58% whose view of the former president is “strongly unfavorable.”

Kennedy, who is running as an independent, has clocked double-digit support in some polls of swing states. That isn’t the case in California, where he is polling at 6% among likely voters.

Kennedy worked as an environmental lawyer in New York for years, but now lives part time in Los Angeles with his wife, actor Cheryl Hines. He has played up his California ties since he launched his campaign, recording videos at the Venice Boardwalk and in the Santa Monica Mountains and hosting fundraisers with Westside yoga teachers.

That appeal hasn’t seemed to have worked in California, where his approval rating is 31%, the poll found.

Nearly two-thirds of California Democrats report disliking Kennedy, who spent decades as a Democrat and ran as a Democrat in the presidential primary until he launched his independent bid in October.

“Republicans are much more positive in their views of Kennedy” than Democrats or voters with no party preference, DiCamillo said. “It’s really interesting.”

The poll found that 50% of California Republicans have a strongly favorable or somewhat favorable view of Kennedy, who founded the anti-vaccine organization Children’s Health Defense.

Among conservative voters, Kennedy is the second-most popular political figure, following Trump, suggesting that he could be an option for disaffected Republicans.

West, who launched an independent bid for the presidency in October, is far less known among California voters than Kennedy. The poll found 15% of likely California voters with a favorable opinion of the progressive activist, while 27% say they see him unfavorably, and 58% don’t have an opinion.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times