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John Chiang greets the audience at a rally in Sacramento.
John Chiang greets the audience at a rally in Sacramento. (Melanie Mason / Los Angeles Times)

Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls John Chiang and Delaine Eastin tried to imbue their runs with greater symbolic meaning in speeches at a women’s rally Friday evening, framing their campaigns as a strike against President Trump and a bid for women’s equality, respectively.

Speaking on the Capitol steps to a crowd of several dozen gathered for a preelection rally from the local chapter of the Women’s March, both candidates tailored their pitches to the predominantly female crowd.

Chiang, the state treasurer, told the audience that in Tuesday’s primary election, California voters will “send a powerful and clear signal back to Washington, D.C., that we're standing up to President Trump.”

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom made clear to a Central Valley audience Friday which candidate in the race for governor is President Trump's choice to lead California: John Cox.

“As a Democrat that’s running against 26 other people, we’ll see who we end up with. If it’s a Republican, it’s likely to be Donald Trump’s handpicked candidate, John Cox,” Newsom said in front of television cameras after hosting an economic roundtable with union leaders and members in Bakersfield. “Donald Trump twice tweeted in favor of John Cox.”

His campaign has been trying to boost Cox over Democratic rival Antonio Villaraigosa. If the Rancho Santa Fe Republican gets the second spot in the June 5 primary, as several recent polls suggest he will, Cox will move on to face Newsom in the general election, greatly increasing the likelihood that Newsom will win in November.

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  • 2018 election
Delaine Eastin speaks at a community forum at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles.
Delaine Eastin speaks at a community forum at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. (Michael Livingston / Los Angeles Times)

In one of her last appearances before California’s June 5 primary, longshot Democratic candidate Delaine Eastin criticized Gov. Jerry Brown’s record on children’s education.

“He has not been a supporter of preschool,” Eastin said at a community discussion held Friday afternoon at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles.

Eastin said that when Brown vetoed a bill mandating kindergarten in 2014, he set California children back on education. 

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at an April rally endorsing an initiative that would allow for the expansion of rent control
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at an April rally endorsing an initiative that would allow for the expansion of rent control (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

A statewide lobbying group that represents landlords is supporting a cap on rent increases in an effort to stave off a ballot measure that would expand rent control across California.

The California Apartment Assn. says it’s OK with limiting annual rent hikes to the cost of inflation plus 5% alongside property tax breaks for apartment owners who covert residences to low-income rentals. UC Berkeley researchers proposed both ideas this week.

“We like the direction where there’s a combination of anti-price gouging with tax incentives,” said Debra Carlton, the association’s senior vice president of public affairs.

  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers a speech during the R20 Austrian world summit in Vienna on May 15.
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers a speech during the R20 Austrian world summit in Vienna on May 15. (Ronald Zak / Associated Press)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who once famously warned Republicans that they were “dying at the box office,” has decided not to support either of the leading GOP candidates for California governor, a spokesman said on Friday.

The former governor’s decision to speak out against the candidacies of John Cox, a Rancho Sante Fe businessman, and Travis Allen, an Orange County legislator, stands in sharp contrast to his past refusals to weigh in on those who have followed him into office.

“They will not get his vote,” said spokesman Daniel Ketchell.

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  • 2018 election
Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, Eleni Kounalakis, standing, and Jeffrey Bleich, far left, are former Obama officials.
Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, Eleni Kounalakis, standing, and Jeffrey Bleich, far left, are former Obama officials. (Steve Yeater / Associated Press)

Obama administration aides are activating their network to help former colleagues running for office, including eight candidates in California.

The Obama Alumni Assn. sent an email to members this week with a list of all candidates on the ballot and urging them to take action.

“They need your help,” the email reads. “Ask your regional or constituency Obama alumni organization to get involved ... now is the time to donate, spread the word, ask your friends in these states to vote.”

  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)
Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Travis Allen is asking Californians to vote for him next week to be the state’s next governor. But for right now, he’s got a day job and he missed much of it on Thursday.

Allen, a Republican legislator from Huntington Beach, walked onto the Assembly floor just before 3 p.m., even though the lower house was called to order almost five hours earlier. Unlike many days of floor session when only a few bills come up for a vote, this is the week when bills must clear the house or be scuttled for the year. The Assembly had 459 bills to consider this week, with 133 on the docket for Thursday.

Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) wrote a series of tweets throughout the day, including a live video feed in the morning showing Allen’s empty desk on the Assembly floor.

  • Governor's race
John Chiang speaks to the congregation at Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City on Wednesday night.
John Chiang speaks to the congregation at Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City on Wednesday night. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In a Los Angeles campaign push ahead of next week’s primary, California Treasurer John Chiang spoke to parishioners at a Culver City church about his faith and why he believes that has prepared him to lead the state. 

People attending Wednesday’s service at the Agape International Spiritual Center meditated before the church’s founder and spiritual director, Michael Beckwith, introduced Chiang.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate spoke briefly about the struggles his family endured, including discrimination, and how their faith held them together.

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  • State government
Diana Dooley, who served seven years as health secretary, was chosen by Gov. Jerry Brown as his next chief of staff
Diana Dooley, who served seven years as health secretary, was chosen by Gov. Jerry Brown as his next chief of staff (Hector Amezcua)

Two months after the death of his longtime chief of staff, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday appointed the state’s top healthcare official to fill the post for his final months in office.

Diana Dooley, who served as secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency since 2011, now moves into the chief of staff role that Brown has designated as his executive secretary. She was a top staff member during the governor’s two terms that ended in 1983, including a stint as legislative affairs secretary. Dooley, 67, will earn a salary of $201,876.

She succeeds Nancy McFadden, who died in March and was widely seen as a key architect of Brown’s policy agenda over the last seven years. At her death, he called her “the best chief of staff a governor could ever ask for.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
Gubernatorial hopefuls, clockwise from top left, Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chang, Travis Allen, John Cox and Delaine Eastin.
Gubernatorial hopefuls, clockwise from top left, Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chang, Travis Allen, John Cox and Delaine Eastin. (Los Angeles Times; Associated Press)

Antonio Villaraigosa is struggling to secure second place in the June primary election for California governor and is several points behind Republican businessman John Cox for the No. 2 slot, according to a new poll released Thursday.

Cox was favored by 20% of voters surveyed in the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll. Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, had the support of 13%, according to the poll. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the front-runner in polls and fundraising since he entered the race in 2015, was the choice of 33% of likely voters, according to the poll.

"We think it's likely to be Cox against Newsom in the general election," poll director Mark DiCamillo told the Sacramento Bee.