It took decades for John Chiang to hustle into the top ranks of California politics, and he relished all the schmoozing along the way.
On the Lunar New Year, Chiang turned up at a firecracker party in Westminster. Weeks later, he awoke early for a cattlemen’s breakfast in Sacramento. When the Fresno Rotary Club sought a luncheon speaker, Chiang made time.
His nonstop networking has paid dividends. He won five elections in a rout, most recently for state treasurer in 2014.
Consider where things stood at the same point in 2015. Then, there were 31 initiatives gathering signatures in hopes of landing on the November 2016 ballot. Out of that came 17 propositions that ultimately made it to voters.
By contrast, there are only five initiatives now in the signature-gathering phase. Nine others are awaiting a formal vetting.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's reelection campaign said she has raised $25.9 million for House Democrats' bid to retake the chamber in 2018, with the majority of the money going to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
At age 84, Dianne Feinstein is the oldest of the 100 U.S. senators. And the word, both in Washington and around California, is that she plans to run for reelection next year to a six-year term that will end when she’s 91.
The problem with yet another Feinstein candidacy is partly a matter of image. Ever since the tea party landslide of 2010 wiped out a generation of Democratic up-and-comers, many of the party’s central figures — Barack Obama decisively excepted — have been disproportionately older. Some of those Democrats have flourished with age: Sen. Bernie Sanders, technically an independent, has led a rebirth of the American left; Rep. Nancy Pelosi remains the most accomplished legislative leader Congress has seen in many decades; Rep. Maxine Waters has become the bubbe of the anti-Trump activists; and Jerry Brown, in his second go-round as California governor, has become the nation’s commander-in-chief in the fight against climate change.
Mai Khanh Tran came to the U.S. as a child refugee, worked as a janitor to put herself through Harvard University and is a two-time breast cancer survivor. But she describes the months-long process of deciding to run for Congress as an "agonizing" time.
“I am leaving a very nice, private life that I’ve worked very hard to build and to be at a position where I can now take it easy and enjoy my family," said Tran, a pediatrician who lives in Yorba Linda and has announced a run against Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton). “It’s going to be a year and a half of work that’s not in my comfort zone.”
This is Nguyen's first time running for office — she’s one of more than two dozen candidates who have never run for office before but have announced bids in California’s 13 most competitive congressional races.
Now, more than a month later, single-payer advocates have taken the first formal step to follow through on their threat, giving Rendon's office this week notice of intent to circulate a recall petition.
Rendon's move to stop the single-payer bill — which he called "woefully incomplete," noting it passed the state Senate without a method to pay for it — was the catalyst for the outcry.