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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election

This morning Californians will see the first clash between six of California’s top candidates for governor, with front-runner Gavin Newsom expected to take the brunt of the attacks on the debate stage at USC.
 
Newsom leads in the polls and, by a wide margin, in fundraising, which could mean that the rest of the field will be battling for second place in the June primary.
 
But in California, second place is good enough. Under the state’s top-two primary system, only the two candidates who receive the most votes in June will win a ticket to the November general election.
 
Until now, voters have had only a few small tastes of the candidates going after one another on stage.
 
During a candidate forum in October between the top four Democrats in the race, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa accused Newsom of “selling snake oil” when he promised to support a state-sponsored single-payer healthcare system, but didn’t say how he would pay for it.
 
Newsom brushed off the charge, saying he proved it could be done while he was mayor of San Francisco, when the city enacted the nation’s first municipal universal healthcare system.
 
Republican candidates John Cox and Travis Allen also went after each other during the first GOP debate, in the Inland Empire earlier this month, with the sharpest and most frequent barbs traded over their support — or lack of it — for President Trump.
 
The newest Republican to join the race, former Sacramento Republican Doug Ose, was not invited to the USC town hall — and he wasn’t not too happy about it
 
With six candidates on stage and only 90 minutes to carve out their political positions, the town hall is expected to serve as a display of each candidate’s style, demeanor and political reflexes rather than a showing off the depth of their knowledge of the issues facing California.
 
The candidate town hall is being hosted by USC, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Empowerment Congress, a nonprofit civil organization in Los Angeles.
 
KABC-TV news anchor Marc Brown will moderate the debate along with KPCC-FM public radio political reporter Mary Plummer.

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  • Congressional races
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  • Congressional races
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Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) speaks at a Tea Party conference in Fresno in August.
Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) speaks at a Tea Party conference in Fresno in August. (Silvia Flores / For The Times)

Assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) said Friday that a protracted court battle prevented him from collecting signatures to qualify an initiative to repeal California’s new gas tax increase.

He said he will support a campaign for a similar ballot measure backed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. and rival GOP candidate for governor John Cox.

“What we are excited about is partnering with one of the state’s oldest and most respected taxpayer watchdog groups to make sure that we hold Jerry Brown to his campaign promise of no new taxes without a vote of the people,” Allen said. “I’m very excited to begin going up and down the state helping to collect the signatures we will need to repeal Jerry Brown’s gas tax.”

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) speaks at a Tea Party conference in Fresno in August.
Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) speaks at a Tea Party conference in Fresno in August. (Silvia Flores / For The Times)

Assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) said Friday that a protracted court battle prevented him from collecting signatures to qualify an initiative to repeal California’s new gas tax increase.

He said he will support a campaign for a similar ballot measure backed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. and rival GOP candidate for governor John Cox.

“What we are excited about is partnering with one of the state’s oldest and most respected taxpayer watchdog groups to make sure that we hold Jerry Brown to his campaign promise of no new taxes without a vote of the people,” Allen said. “I’m very excited to begin going up and down the state helping to collect the signatures we will need to repeal Jerry Brown’s gas tax.”

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  • Congressional races
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Mount SAC board member Jay Chen is running for the 39th Congressional District.
Mount SAC board member Jay Chen is running for the 39th Congressional District. (Tom Zasadzinski)

Another Democrat has joined the race for the 39th Congressional District, days after 13-term Republican Rep. Ed Royce said he would retire.

Jay Chen, a Mount San Antonio Community College trustee, announced his bid Friday on Facebook. He’s the only Democrat to enter the race so far with experience in political campaigning for himself.

Chen, 39, ran against Royce in 2012 and lost, getting 42% to Royce’s 58%.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Supporters of Antonio Villaraigosa created a super PAC on Friday in support of the Democrat’s gubernatorial bid, according to a filing with the California Secretary of State’s office.

Villaraigosa Governor of California 2018 can accept unlimited contributions from donors to support the former Los Angeles mayor’s attempt to catch up with front-runner Gavin Newsom ahead of the June 5 primary. Such independent expenditure committees cannot coordinate with candidates or campaigns.

The move comes as Villaraigosa is placing second in the polls and badly lags behind Newsom in fundraising.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (George Frey / Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown pleaded California’s case to prevent offshore drilling in a 20-minute phone call Friday with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, according to a summary of the call provided by Brown’s office.

The phone call came days after Zinke agreed to exempt Florida from a new Trump administration proposal to expand oil and gas drilling off most of the U.S. coastline. Zinke said the Florida decision, which critics denounced as a partisan favor for the state’s Republican governor, came as a result of local opposition and because its scenic coastline drives tourism.  

Brown told Zinke that the same conditions exist in California.

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (George Frey / Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown pleaded California’s case to prevent offshore drilling in a 20-minute phone call Friday with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, according to a summary of the call provided by Brown’s office.

The phone call came days after Zinke agreed to exempt Florida from a new Trump administration proposal to expand oil and gas drilling off most of the U.S. coastline. Zinke said the Florida decision, which critics denounced as a partisan favor for the state’s Republican governor, came as a result of local opposition and because its scenic coastline drives tourism.  

Brown told Zinke that the same conditions exist in California.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
(Jenna Schoenefeld / For The Times)

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called on President Trump to step down in response to reports that the president used a vulgar phrase when talking about immigrants from Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.

“You're a joke and a racist, President Donald J. Trump. Resign,” Newsom wrote on Facebook.

The gubernatorial front-runner was responding to comments Trump reportedly made Thursday during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers about immigration.