- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sen. Kamala D. Harris has vaulted into the lead of the Democratic presidential race in her home state of California, said a new poll released Wednesday.

She climbed to 23% support as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden faded to 21% in California, making the race too close to call, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.

The jockeying for the lead followed Ms. Harris‘ break-out performance in the Democrats’ first 2020 debate, where she hit Mr. Biden for opposing busing to desegregate public schools in the 1970s.

Mr. Biden remains the front-runner in national polls but has lost ground as Ms. Harris gained momentum.

California, with a jackpot of 416 delegates up for grabs, became a key player in 2020 by moving its primary up to the “Super Tuesday” vote March 3.

In a Quinnipiac poll in April, Mr. Biden led in California with 26%, trailed by Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont with 18%, Ms. Harris with 17% and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 7%.

The new poll showed Mr. Biden continued to outpace the field with the vote for best leader at 26%.

“California Democrats catch the national wave as native daughter Kamala Harris leaps from promising contender to prominent player putting her neck and neck with former Vice President Joseph Biden,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“But who do California Democrats pick as the best candidate to take on President Donald Trump?” he asked. “Hands down, it’s Biden.”

Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren remain in the hunt in the new California poll, with 18% and 16%, respectively.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has been making headway in the national race, garnered 3% support.

Other findings in the poll included:

• While Mr. Biden led on the best leader question with 26%, he was closely followed by Ms. Harris at 18%, Mr. Sanders at 17% and Ms. Warren at 14%.

• California voters credit Ms. Warren with the best policy idea at 28%, followed by Mr. Sanders at 20%, Mr. Biden at 11% and Ms. Harris at 9%.

Mr. Biden led with 45% saying he had the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in 2020, trailed by Mr. Sanders at 12%, Ms. Harris at 11% and Ms. Warren at 8%.

Mr. Biden has made his electability versus Mr. Trump his chief argument in the race for the Democratic nomination.

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