This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- Former NFL player Rosey Grier has dropped out of the race for California governor
- Angered by his decision to block a bill on single-payer healthcare, a group of activists has launched an effort to recall Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon from office.
- Rohrabacher faces hostile crowd during panel about Russia and Trump at Politicon in Pasadena
- How 2018 could be the year of the rookie in California's pivotal congressional races
Emily's List, the national abortion-rights advocacy group focused on electing women, is backing Orange County pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran in her race against Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).
Royce represents one of several Republican-held districts where Hillary Clinton outperformed Donald Trump in last year's elections, and which Democrats have made priority targets for 2018.
Tran, an immigrant who fled Vietnam as a child, spent summers picking strawberries in Oregon and later supported herself through college in part by doing janitorial work. A political neophyte, Tran told The Times last month that she was inspired to run because of Royce's vote for the GOP healthcare plan.
In a statement, Emily's List president Stephanie Schriock called Tran a "transformational candidate."
"As a pediatrician, Mai Khanh knows how devastating the Republican attack on healthcare will be for our country's most vulnerable communities," Schriock said. "In 2018, Democrats are going to flip the House because of candidates like Mai Khanh getting into the fight."
Emily's List has only endorsed one other California congressional candidate so far in the 2018 cycle: Democrat Katie Porter, who has already drawn support from U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. She is hoping to oust Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine).
Until recently, Tran, 52, lived in Fountain Valley and was represented by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), who has already drawn a crowded field of Democratic challengers. She recently moved to Yorba Linda, within Royce's district, and faces fellow Democrat Phil Janowicz and independent Julio Castaneda in her bid to unseat Royce.
FOR THE RECORD
10:34 a.m.: A previous version of this post stated that Mai Khanh Tran lives outside the district. She recently moved to Yorba Linda, within the district.