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California Republicans

Conservative speaker Ben Shapiro is in Sacramento to raise campaign money for Ami Bera challenger

Ben Shapiro (Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images for Politicon)
Ben Shapiro (Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images for Politicon)

Yona Barash, a Republican surgeon seeking his first elected office, is getting his congressional campaign rolling with a conservative commentator who has stoked controversy in California.

Barash invited Ben Shapiro to his Tuesday evening fundraiser as he tries to build a war chest to unseat Sacramento-area Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat from Elk Grove. General admission tickets are $150, while attending the VIP reception costs $1,000.

Shapiro runs a website called the Daily Wire and previously worked at Breitbart News, although he's since become an outspoken critic of Stephen K. Bannon and President Trump. He was a frequent target of anti-Semitic harassment during last year's campaign.

Shapiro also has provoked a backlash with his criticisms of the Black Lives Matter movement and discussion of gender identity. Hundreds of police, some in riot gear, provided security while he spoke on UC Berkeley's campus last month.

The fundraiser is not Shapiro's only event in Sacramento on Tuesday. He also was invited by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) to a Capitol hearing on 1st Amendment issues titled "Combating Hate While Protecting the Constitution." Shapiro is expected to speak during the public comment period of the hearing.

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