California: Single-payer health backers disturb Democrat convention

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Advocates of government-funded health care for all have repeatedly interrupted speakers at the California Democratic Party's annual convention.

Single-payer health care has fired up the thousands of Democratic activists at the convention in Sacramento on Saturday.

Hundreds of advocates organized by the California Nurses Association stormed into the convention as it began Friday night and shouted down a greeting by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Speeches by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were interrupted on Saturday.

Nursing union director RoseAnn DeMoro warned Democratic officials not to assume activists will stick with them if they oppose single-payer health care.

State party chairman John Burton chastised the rowdy advocates, telling them single-payer is hardly a controversial issue in the Democratic Party and asking them to be courteous.

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Elected California Democrats are urging the party's fired-up activists to channel their energy into defeating some of the state's 14 Republican representatives in Congress.

Officials presented California as the epicenter of liberal resistance to Republican President Donald Trump and the GOP Congress on Saturday at the California Democratic Party convention.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris says Californians have an "outsized responsibility to keep up the fight" and called on activists to "hold these Republicans accountable in their districts." Harris is often mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2020.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says the world is counting on California to reject Trump. The candidate for governor says "Democrats do not succeed by playing it safe."

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12 a.m.

California Democrats meet Saturday with renewed optimism about their party's chances of adding to their huge majority among the state's 53-member congressional delegation and potentially tipping the balance of power in the U.S. House.

In a state where Democrats are itching to lead the liberal resistance to Trump and the Republican Congress, the party's activists find themselves singularly united behind the goal of stunting the GOP.

But the Democrats are also a party divided, still nursing deep divisions between insurgent supporters of Bernie Sanders and the party's establishment wing.

The divide was on clear display Friday as they opened their annual three-day convention in Sacramento. Activists demanding government-funded health care for all residents stormed into the convention center and interrupted an introductory speech.

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