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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Diedra Greenaway
Diedra Greenaway (Greenaway campaign)

Saying she needs to respond to Republican attacks on women’s rights, immigration and the social safety net, Diedra Greenaway is challenging Rep. Steve Knight in the Antelope Valley’s 25th Congressional District.

“The current political climate is more dangerous now than it has been in my entire life,” she said.

Greenaway of Lancaster said she’s also running because she doesn’t think the Republican Knight of Palmdale has been responsive to voters.

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  • Politics podcast

Few presidents of the University of California have ever had the political resume of Janet Napolitano. In the coming weeks and months, she may need those skills more than ever.

On this week's California Politics Podcast, we discuss the new report that concluded there was "interference" by Napolitano's staff during a state audit into her office's finances.

We also take a look at the changes announced by the leader of the state Senate in how sexual harassment allegations will be investigated, as well as proposed sanctions against one senator from Los Angeles County.

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  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

California Democratic leaders voted Sunday to make it harder for incumbents to win the state party’s endorsement, a move that will present an early test in next year’s U.S. Senate race.

The proposal, written by members of the party’s liberal wing, was approved on a voice vote on the final day of the state party’s executive board meeting in Millbrae. Incumbents will now need 60% of party delegates’ votes to win an endorsement, the same amount challengers need. Until now, incumbents needed a simple majority.

Proponents said the move levels the playing field between incumbents and challengers.

A desire to impeach President Trump inspired Santa Clarita immigration attorney Scott McVarish to run for the Antelope Valley seat held by Republican Rep. Steve Knight.

McVarish, 48, said the most important question that should be asked of congressional candidates in 2018 is “whether to impeach Donald Trump or not, and I am firmly in the camp that he must be impeached.”

McVarish, who lives in Santa Clarita and got his law degree at UCLA, in August left the immigration law firm he founded to start the nonprofit organization Common Sense Democracy. The organization pushes Democrats to campaign on impeaching the president and end gerrymandering, among other causes.

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California Democratic Party delegates are circulating a petition to seek the resignations of two state lawmakers who have been accused of sexual misconduct in recent weeks.

“When we remain silent in the face of sexual assault or harassment, we contribute to a culture of impunity for those that use their power to oppress, we send a message to survivors that they do not matter, and we normalize abhorrent behavior, allowing perpetrators to believe that they can act without consequences,” the petition reads. “We must now speak out in support of survivors.”

The petition asks for the resignation of Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). Bocanegra was disciplined eight years ago after a female Capitol staffer accused him of “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact” while he was also a staffer. Three women have accused Mendoza of inappropriate behavior in recent weeks, something he’s denied.

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  • California Legislature
State Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
State Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

California Senate Leader Kevin de León said he knew nothing about sexual harassment allegations against a Senate colleague until earlier this month. 

“I’m as shocked as everybody else is because I never witnessed it,” De León said in an interview with The Times during California Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting in Millbrae. 

De León (D-Los Angeles) shared a home in Sacramento with Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), who in recent weeks has been accused of inappropriate behavior toward women, including an allegation that he invited a young female legislative fellow to review her résumé at his home after hours earlier this year. 

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) speaks Saturday at the state Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) speaks Saturday at the state Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting. (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

As weeks of sexual harassment allegations have engulfed the state Capitol, California Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) used his speech Saturday at the state Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting to pledge that the state Senate would be a leader in protecting victims.

“If we fail the women who work in government, then government itself has failed to serve the public trust,” De León said.

De León, who is running to unseat longtime Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said he originally planned to use his speech to extol the Legislature, which he called the most progressive and productive in the nation. But the outpouring of women who have called the culture of sexual harassment at the Capitol “pervasive” convinced him to instead lay out the steps the Senate has taken to change, he said.

  • California Democrats
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaks to the Women’s Caucus at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Millbrae.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaks to the Women’s Caucus at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Millbrae. (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein told party officials Saturday morning that the sexual harassment allegations that have rocked the federal government and state legislatures across the country could lead to a wave of new women lawmakers not seen in decades.

“I predict based on what I see out there that we are going to have another Year of the Woman,” Feinstein said, referencing the year she was first elected to Congress alongside many other women in 1992.

Feinstein, who seldom appears at state party functions, spoke Saturday morning to the Women’s Caucus at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Millbrae. She’s facing an intra-party fight for reelection next year against state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León of Los Angeles.

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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California's Senate leader on Friday expanded an effort to transfer sexual harassment investigations to outside experts, while taking action to remove a Los Angeles lawmaker accused of inappropriate behavior from an influential committee chairmanship.

The decision by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) comes less than one day after the latest accusation against Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). Mendoza would be suspended from his chairmanship of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, as well as other "boards and commissions" pending the outcome of an investigation, according to a statement from De León's office.

The Senate Rules Committee would be asked to formally approve that action later this month.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in 2014
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in 2014 (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

The Washington Post crunched campaign numbers on the top spenders at President Trump’s properties and, surprise, two of his biggest fans from California are on the list.

GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a big Trump supporter who has been trying to bend the president’s ear on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has spent $12,545 at Trump International Hotel this year, most of it for a June fundraiser in the hotel’s Franklin Study.

Rohrabacher’s campaign was fourth in spending at Trump companies nationwide, according to the Post. Topping the list was the president himself, whose campaign spent $534,864 at his company’s properties.