Mark Haefele talks with KPCC's Shirley Jahad about Super Tuesday, coming up in a week and a half. This week they are talking about the Democratic candidates and their potential in the Golden State.
Shirley Jahad: Super Duper Tuesday coming up in about a week and a half. The biggest prize, of the course, the Golden State. Today, we want to talk about the Democratic candidates. Next week, we're going to talk about the Republican candidates.
Some high profile endorsements for Hillary Clinton; the mayor has been campaigning for her. For Barack Obama, Maria Elena Durazo has expressed her personal endorsement for him. She is the leader of the very powerful L.A. County Federation of Labor.
Mark Haefele: Right. It's interesting to me that Antonio basically went out and talk to Nevadans, talked to the union members, talked to the employees at the casinos and the hotels on behalf of Hillary, and he seems to have been influential in either getting or keeping Latino voters in her column. The question is, will he be able to do that in California?
Jahad: In Southern California, unions reign strong in terms of being able to get voters out on election day. What does the endorsement of Maria Elena Durazo mean in terms of that for Barack Obama?
Haefele: Well, it's a little bit complicated, I think. She certainly is going to score very strongly in heavily African-American areas where there is a very high proportion of union membership, particularly in south Los Angeles, is the classical area for that.
The question is, can she pull away Latino votes into Obama's side? That's still up for grabs. And interestingly enough, Obama is doing some pretty intense organizing of his own, particularly in the San Fernando Valley.
Jahad: Obama's people are bringing in some Chicago style political tactics. By that, I mean precinct organizing. Haefele: It's an unprecedented thing for a statewide campaign in California. Obama has recruited some 3,000 precinct captains all over the state, trying to use the kind of ward style organization that big cities like New York and Chicago are more familiar with, than our state of California. And in the San Fernando Valley, he's had a particularly strong foothold, as in Brad Sherman's district, which includes most of the San Fernando Valley, he's doing door to door work.
Jahad: And what kind of organizing are we seeing in the Hillary Clinton campaign?
Haefele: There seems to be a presumption in the Hillary Clinton campaign that she's so strong with regular Democrats, and the regular Democratic organization, that we aren't seeing this kind of organizing going on that I know of.
She's got a majority of elected officials on her side, and I think she's just going to count on her superior past exposure to carry her through here. It'll be very interesting if that doesn't happen. If Obama wins, I think we're going to see a lot of campaign strategy changing in California, and not just in the presidential primary.
Jahad: Everybody thinks of Orange County as a Republican stronghold, but there are a lot of immigrants there, there are a lot of varieties of communities there. Democrats getting more and more votes in Orange County in recent years. Are the candidates making any efforts in Orange County?
Haefele: I think they'd be crazy not to. Interestingly enough, Shirley – this kind of shows you just how deeply split the Democrats are in California – we have two Sanchez sisters representing portions of Orange County. One's for Hillary, one's for Obama. It's going to be tight down there too. I hope everyone goes out and tries to get the vote out there.
Jahad: Thanks so much, Mark.
Haefele: Thank you, Shirley.
Jahad: We've been talking with Mark Haefele. He is dean of the city hall reporters. I'm Shirley Jahad.