Restaurant Workers Union Backs Sanders, Warren: Campaign Update

(Bloomberg) -- When a California union local was fighting over a contract at a Loyola Marymount University, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders threatened to skip a debate at the California school.

Now the Unite Here Local 11 has returned the favor, with a joint endorsement of the two presidential hopefuls.

“I’m deeply grateful for @UniteHere11’s endorsement,” Warren tweeted. “They’re on the front lines of the fights for better wages, benefits, and dignity on the job -- including when they won their historic contract with Sodexo. I’m proudly fighting by their side.”

Warren was the first presidential candidate to say she wouldn’t cross a picket line for the debate in mid-December. Sanders followed a half hour later. By the end of the day, all seven qualifying candidates had joined them. The labor dispute was later resolved and the debate proceeded.

With many national unions holding back on endorsements this cycle, the backing of larger locals in key states has become more important.

Biden and Sanders Top Latest National Poll (4:13 p.m.)

Former Vice President Joe Biden is holding his lead in national polling just days before the Iowa caucuses, but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is keeping the gap narrow.

Biden takes the top spot in the latest Quinnipiac University national poll with 26% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, up slightly from 25% in a Jan. 13 survey. Sanders rose to 21% in the latest tally, up from 19% two weeks ago and his highest tally so far in the poll. The new survey was taken between Jan. 22 to Jan. 27.

“Biden’s support is holding steady -- but he no longer sits comfortably at the top of the Democratic presidential pack,” said Quinnipiac analyst Mary Snow.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was in third at 15%, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s spent $278 million on advertising since joining the race in November, placed fourth with 8%. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar had 7% support, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had 6% and entrepreneur Andrew Yang had 3%. No other candidate got more than 1%. The sample of 827 Democratic-leaning registered voters nationwide had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

National polls aren’t particularly predictive of the eventual nominee at this point. But winning in the early states is critical to generate momentum to continue on through Super Tuesday on March 3, when populous states including California and Texas hold their primaries. -- Bill Allison

Coronavirus Threat? Warren Has a Plan (9 a.m.)

The coronavirus has been in the news for only a few weeks, but Elizabeth Warren already has a plan to fight it.

With Hong Kong announcing restrictions on travel from mainland China as part of an effort to contain the SARS-like virus that has claimed more than 100 lives, Warren released a proposal Tuesday morning aimed at containing and treating infectious diseases.

“Diseases like coronavirus remind us why we need robust international institutions, strong investments in public health, and a government that is prepared to jump into action at a moment’s notice,” she wrote in a Medium post announcing the plan.

Warren criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the outbreak, calling it “a mess.” and assailed the administration’s proposed funding cuts for federal health agencies.

She said her administration would prioritize developing a universal flu vaccine and replenish funding for the Public Health Emergency Fund, with the goal of speeding outbreak response. She proposed restoring an Obama-era White House position for health security that Trump eliminated in 2018. Warren also cited outbreaks as a reason to move toward Medicare For All, a policy proposal that she has espoused, saying it would give infected people access necessary care. -- Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

Liberals Propel Sanders Into Lead in California (8:38 a.m.)

Bernie Sanders has not only taken the lead in several recent surveys of voters in Iowa, which holds the first in the nation caucuses on Monday, but he has also pushed to the head of the Democratic field in delegate-rich California.

The Vermont senator, who has had strong support from Latinos and young voters, has been propelled into the top spot by voters who self-identify as “very liberal,” according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times.

Sanders has support from 26% of voters likely to cast ballots in the state’s March 3 Democratic primary, drawing support from liberals largely at the expense of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren is now backed by 20% of likely voters, which is down from earlier surveys showing she had 22% in November and 29% in September in the state.

The rest of California’s likely primary voters remain divided among several candidates, which has left the party’s front-runner nationally, Vice President Joe Biden, with only 15% in the most populous state.

That cut-off is important in California because, under the state Democratic Party rules, delegates are awarded only to those candidates with at least 15% of the vote statewide or in individual congressional districts. The remaining candidates in the poll are all below that, with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7%, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 6%, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota at 5%, businessman Andrew Yang at 4% and billionaire Tom Steyer at 2%.

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

The UC Berkeley IGS poll was conducted online in English and Spanish from Jan. 15-21. The estimated margin of error for likely Democratic voters is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Trump Heads to Jersey Shore for Party-Switcher (6:38 a.m.)

President Donald Trump is headed to the Jersey Shore on Tuesday to host a political rally for Jeff Van Drew, the congressman who switched parties to join House Republicans in protest of the impeachment vote.

The president’s visit to Wildwood is intended to bolster the freshman lawmaker, who won his seat as part of the Democratic wave of 2018 but subsequently declared his “undying support” for the president during an Oval Office meeting. Trump has repeatedly touted Van Drew’s defection to argue that the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry is illegitimate, and told the lawmaker he would endorse his re-election bid.

“Everything was perfect, and they impeach,” Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this month. “It’s totally partisan. We had 195 to nothing, Republican votes. I guess we got a Democrat actually came over to the Republican side.”

The move has jumbled a Republican primary in which Hill International Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Richter and former Trump administration official Brian Fitzherbert had been expected to vie for the GOP nomination. Richter told Politico last week he was considering switching districts and instead challenging Democrat Andy Kim, a first-term Democrat representing New Jersey’s Third District.

Holding Van Drew’s seat will be important for Republican efforts to retake the House of Representatives in the November elections. But the rally’s location -- at a popular resort town on the southern tip of New Jersey frequented by Philadelphia residents -- should also ensure media coverage back in Pennsylvania, one of a group of swing states Trump hopes to win again to ensure his re-election.


Some of the Democratic candidates will debate again in New Hampshire on Feb. 7.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11. Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.

CNN will host town halls featuring eight presidential candidates in New Hampshire on Feb. 5 and 6.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

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