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Democratic Presidential Candidates Head to California

More than a dozen presidential hopefuls will be vying for the spotlight as the California Democratic Convention gets underway Friday.

California Sen. Kamala Harris along with East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell will be there as well as some of the more well-known and high-profile candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Newcomers to the national stage, including South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke will make an appearance, too, along with a half-dozen other contenders.

The main no-show will be Joe Biden. The former vice president leads the most recent NBC News poll, with 40% of likely Democratic voters saying he had their vote earlier this month.

That lead is the reason NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston said he can afford to skip the California convention.

"He's the front-runner and has no need to rock the boat," Gerston said, adding that California's Harris and Swalwell will command disproportionate attention. 

Biden will be in California next month for a series of fundraisers, according to CNBC.

Some of the 14 candidates coming to the Golden State will also be looking for some green. They will hold some fundraisers as well as rallies and town halls.

Gerston said voters should watch for any moves to endorse someone, delegates taking positions on controversial issues like capital punishment and medicare for all, and how those stands might impact the candidates.

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