Democrat candidates make last efforts to rally voter support ahead of Tuesday’s N.H. primary

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, at a campaign event in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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UPDATED 10:23 AM PT — Monday, February 10, 2020

2020 presidential hopefuls are hoping to lock down voter support with New Hampshire’s Democrat primaries just around the corner. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) is eyeing a comeback after seemingly falling just short of first place in the Iowa caucuses.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg appeared to take the lead at the nation’s first test of electability in a shocking upset for the Sanders campaign. He managed to pull in a record 1,800 person crowd in a campaign event Sunday, which was the largest turnout among all Democrat candidates in New Hampshire.

During a Saturday Town Hall featuring his fellow contenders, however, Buttigieg was taunted by a large group of attendees. The group was protesting his acceptance of donations from billionaires and PACs.

Buttigieg also took a hit during last week’s Democrat debate when asked about the rise in African American arrests in South Bend after he took office in 2012.

“These things are all connected, but that’s the point,” he stated. “So are all of the things that need to change in order for us to prevent violence and remove the effects a systemic racism not just from criminal justice, but from our economy, from health, from housing and from our democracy itself.”

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign event, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Plymouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Meanwhile, a new Emerson survey showed Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) polling third place in New Hampshire, which is likely due to her performance at the Friday debate.

Klobuchar took fourth behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in Iowa. She attributed her rise in popularity to her message of unity and not budging to calls from the far-left to advocate for some of the controversial issues championed by progressives.

As for Klobuchar’s message to voters in New Hampshire:

“I’m the one with the receipts that can bring people with me. I think that’s why we have growing momentum in New Hampshire. And the most important thing, I’ve passed over 100 bills as a lead Democrat the U.S. Senate.”

New Hampshire voters will head to the polls Tuesday, where Sanders has recently dominated and as Buttigieg holds off on clinging to his more liberal agenda.

With President Trump’s approval numbers remaining steady, it will be up to the Democrat Party to find the nominee they believe can hold off a second victory for Republicans come November.

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2020 Dem candidates react to impeachment votes: ‘A sad moment’

closeNancy Pelosi speaks after House votes to impeach President TrumpVideo

Nancy Pelosi speaks after House votes to impeach President Trump

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday night adopted two articles of impeachment against President Trump, advancing them both to the Senate for a future trial, but one notable 2020 Democratic presidential contender voted "present" — rather than yay or nay.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, was the only member of Congress who voted "present", shirking her party's almost unanimous vote to move the impeachment articles forward.

"Throughout my life, whether through serving in the military or in Congress, I’ve always worked to do what is in the best interest of our country. Not what’s best for me politically or what’s best for my political party," Gabbard said in a statement following the vote. "After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no."

Meanwhile, other presidential hopefuls called the votes a "solemn moment" and a "sad day" for the country.

TULSI GABBARD VOTES 'PRESENT' ON TRUMP IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, BREAKS WITH DEMS

Former vice president Joe Biden, whose family has been the target of Trump's alleged quid pro quo deal with the leader of Ukraine to open an investigation into their family, called the vote a "solemn moment for our country."

"President Trump abused his power, violated his oath of office, and betrayed our nation," Biden said. "This is a solemn moment for our country. But in the United States of America, no one is above the law — not even the President."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. — who will likely be a juror when the articles move to a Senate trial — said on Twitter: "Today is a sad but necessary day for American democracy. The U.S. House has voted to impeach President Trump, and that is the right thing to do."

"No individual in this country, certainly not the president of the United States, is above the law, is above the Constitution," Sanders continued in a video statement. "Now the process moves to the U.S. Senate where there'll be a trial."

"We cannot have a pathological liar in the White House," he added.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., also called the vote on impeachment a "sad moment for our country."

"The three-month House impeachment process has uncovered alarming evidence that an American president used his official power for personal gain, put our national security at risk, and obstructed the investigation," he said.

"As this process heads to the Senate for trial, I'll uphold my sacred oath to protect & defend the Constitution," Booker added. "This trial demands an impartial & thorough review of the evidence. We must be presented with relevant witnesses & documents, and follow the evidence where it leads."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., echoed the oath of her fellow Democratic colleagues in the Senate, saying she is braced for the inevitable trial.

"Donald Trump has abused our diplomatic relationships and undermined our national security for his own personal, political gain. By voting to impeach him, the House has taken an important step to hold him accountable. I'm ready to fulfill my constitutional duty in the Senate," Warren tweeted.

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg, from South Bend, Indiana, also reacted to the House votes.

"Our lawmakers take an oath not to party but to country," he tweeted. "That oath is all the more important in the most difficult of times. Today it required Congress to defend the rule of law, our national security, and our democracy from a president who puts his own interests above America's."

"But this is not just about this moment or this president," he added. "It's about our democracy itself. It's about the era to come after this president leaves office. More than ever, we need leadership to pick up the pieces and move our nation forward."

Original Article

Democratic debate in jeopardy amid labor disputes as candidates express frustration over’artificially narrowed’ field

closeDemocratic presidential candidates threaten to boycott Los Angeles debateVideo

Democratic presidential candidates threaten to boycott Los Angeles debate

With workers at the university hosting the debate on strike, every major candidate vows not to cross the picket line; Ellison Barber reports.

Controversy continues to roil this week’s upcoming Democratic presidential primary debate in Los Angeles amid an ongoing labor dispute, anger over the tightening qualification standards and discontent with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

The debate, which was originally slated to be held at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), was moved to Loyola Marymount University after AFSCME Local 3299 – the union representing more than 25,000 University of California service and patient technical care workers – and the state school forced UCLA to inform the Democrats and its media partners to abandon plans to host the debate at the Luskin School of Public Affairs.

But another labor dispute at Loyola Marymount University is now once again threatening the December 19 debate and the top Democratic primary candidates are threatening to boycott the event if they have to cross a picket line to get to the stage.

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A labor union called UNITE HERE Local 11 says it will picket outside the event, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders responded by tweeting they wouldn’t participate if that meant crossing it. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, environmental activist Tom Steyer and businessman Andrew Yang followed suit.

“The DNC should find a solution that lives up to our party's commitment to fight for working people. I will not cross the union's picket line even if it means missing the debate,” Warren tweeted.

Only 7 candidates have qualified for next Democratic debateVideo

Sanders tweeted, “I will not be crossing their picket line,” while Biden tweeted: “We’ve got to stand together with @UNITEHERE11 for affordable health care and fair wages. A job is about more than just a paycheck. It's about dignity.” The other candidates used Twitter to post similar sentiments.

UNITE HERE Local 11 says it represents 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers and servers working on the Loyola Marymount campus. It says it has been in negotiations with a food service company since March for a collective bargaining agreement without reaching a resolution, and “workers and students began picketing on campus in November to voice their concern for a fair agreement. The company abruptly canceled scheduled contract negotiations last week.”

Loyola Marymount said that it is not a party to the contract negotiations but that it had contacted the food services company involved, Sodexo, and encouraged it “to resolve the issues raised by Local 11."

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“Earlier today, LMU asked Sodexo to meet with Local 11 next week to advance negotiations and solutions. LMU is not an agent nor a joint employer of Sodexo, nor of the Sodexo employees assigned to our campus," the university said in a statement. “LMU is proud to host the DNC presidential debate and is committed to ensuring that the university is a rewarding place to learn, live, and work."

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa said both the DNC and the university found out about the issue earlier Friday, but expressed support for the union and the candidates' boycott, stating that “Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to, either.”

Cory Booker unhappy with DNC debate rules; Joe Biden spars with caucus goerVideo

“We are working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution that meets their needs and is consistent with our values and will enable us to proceed as scheduled with next week’s debate,” she said in a statement.

Perez, meanwhile, received a tersely worded letter from a number of Democratic candidates, asking him to relax the qualifications for January’s debate in South Carolina.

WARREN SLIPS AS BUTTIGIEG, BIDEN, AND SANDERS BATTLE FOR TOP SPOT IN NH: POLL

“The escalating thresholds over the past few months have unnecessarily and artificially narrowed what started as the strongest and most diverse Democratic field in history before voters have had a chance to be heard.” The letter, which was signed by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, along with Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer, Warren, Yang and former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro, stated.

The letter continued: “As a result, candidates who have proven both their viability and their commitment to the Democratic Party are being prematurely cut out of the nominating contest before many voters have even tuned in — much less made their decision about whom to support.”

Kamala Harris out of the 2020 presidential primary runningVideo

Given the continually escalating qualifications for the debates – and issues with fundraising – the Democratic field has already seen household names like Sen. Kamala Harris of California and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas abandon their presidential bids.

“[W]hile we know this was an unintended consequence of the DNC’s actions, many of the candidates excluded due to these thresholds are the ones who have helped make this year’s primary field historically diverse,” the letter stated.

The controversies surrounding the debates and concerns over the party producing a viable candidate who can defeat President Trump in next year’s general election have cast doubts on Perez’s leadership of the party.

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In a lengthy interview with the New York Times that was published on Saturday, Perez said that the qualifications for next month’s debate were not going to change – despite the pleas from Booker – and said if voters are upset over the lack of diversity on the debate stage they should voice it when asked.

Tom Perez: More Americans think Trump needs to be impeached than notVideo

“I’m not doing the polling,” Perez said. “I’m a huge fan of Cory Booker. I think the world of him. I worked with him dating back to when he was mayor. And if voters are disappointed that he hasn’t qualified, then when they answer the phone, they need to express their preference for Cory Booker.”

Perez also confirmed that he will not be seeking another term at DNC chairman.

Fox News’ Lee Ross and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Democratic debate once again in peril as candidates threaten to boycott over union dispute

closePundits say Warren slippingVideo

Pundits say Warren slipping

Medicare plan finally draws spotlight.

Next week's Democratic debate is now in jeopardy after all seven candidates slated to participate said they will refuse to take the stage over a labor strike at the proposed venue — chaos that comes after the location was already moved once.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Vice President Joe Biden, environmentalist Tom Steyer, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar all announced in rapid succession Friday afternoon their plans to sit out the Thursday debate at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) if the college's food service workers are picketing.

TRUMP SLAMS PELOSI, SAYS DEMS USING IMPEACHMENT FOR ‘POLITICAL GAIN’ AFTER JUDICIARY VOTE

"I stand with them," Warren tweeted Friday. "The DNC [Democratic National Committee] should find a solution that lives up to our party's commitment to fight for working people. I will not cross the union's picket line even if it means missing the debate."

Sanders immediately followed with his own tweet in support of the workers of Unite Here Local 11, a labor union representing the hospitality and food service workers at the university.

A Sanders campaign spokesperson told Fox News that if the labor dispute isn't resolved and there isn't an alternative venue, Sanders will skip the Los Angeles debate, which will be co-hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico.

"He's not going to cross the picket line. Simple as that," the campaign spokesperson said.

The Democratic National Committee did not immediately have a comment.

The debate was initially scheduled to be held at the University of California, Los Angeles, but the DNC canceled the location on Nov. 6 over ongoing labor disputes between the university and AFSCME Local 3299. LMU was picked as the alternative site.

Local 11 announced Friday it would protest the debate's second site because contract negotiations have stalled between the union and Sodexo, which runs food operations for students and employees at LMU's campus. About 150 dishwashers, cashiers, cooks and servers are affected by the union dispute.

“We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week. Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus,” Susan Minato, the co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, said in a statement.

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVES ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST TRUMP, AS GOP SLAMS ‘KANGAROO COURT’

A union rep told Fox News the foodservice employees had been working without a contract for several weeks and had already held several pickets in an attempt to force school leaders to provide them with better wages, benefits and working conditions.

The employees were planning to work as normal on debate day, but didn't rule out the possibility of work stoppage, the union spokesperson said.

A source familiar with the matter said the DNC and LMU were not made aware of the issue until after the union sent a letter to the candidates Friday about their picket. Officials at the DNC were looking into the matter on Friday.

A Sodexo spokesperson told Fox News they are searching for a solution.

"Sodexo is 100 percent committed to reaching an agreement, and any statement that we have left the bargaining table is not accurate," the spokesperson said. "We have been negotiating in good faith with the Unite Here Local 11 since December of last year with a goal to reach a new collective bargaining agreement that is equitable for everyone, including our employees, and we still intend to achieve such an agreement.”

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It's unclear whether the DNC could move the debate location again in such short notice with the avalanche of candidates threatening to bow out.

"We must live our values and there is nothing more core to the Democratic Party than the fight for the working people," Yang tweeted.

"We’ve got to stand together with @UniteHere11 for affordable health care and fair wages," Biden said. "A job is about more than just a paycheck. It's about dignity."

Steyer tweeted: "I support @UNITEHERE11. If their dispute with @sodexoUSA is not resolved before the debate, I will not cross the picket line. I trust the DNC will find a solution ahead of the debate, and I stand with @LoyolaMarymount workers in their fight for fair wages and benefits."

"I stand in solidarity with the workers of @UNITEHERE11 at Loyola Marymount University and I will not cross their picket line," Buttigieg said.

"As I said at my event with labor leaders here in Miami, I will not cross the picket line and I will stand with @UniteHere11 to fight for the dignity of work," Klobuchar tweeted.

LMU released a statement Friday distancing the university from the Sodexo-union dispute and encouraging the two sides to talk in advance of the debate.

“LMU is not a party to the negotiations between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11,” the statement said. “The university has encouraged and continues to encourage Sodexo to resolve issues raised by Local 11. Earlier today, LMU asked Sodexo to meet with Local 11 next week to advance negotiations and solutions.”

The university added: “LMU is not an agent nor a joint employer of Sodexo, nor of the Sodexo employees assigned to our campus. LMU is proud to host the DNC Presidential Debate and is committed to ensuring that the university is a rewarding place to learn, live, and work.”

Fox News' Andrew Craft and Lee Ross contributed to this report.

Original Article