• Congressional races
  • 2018 election
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). (Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

Some vulnerable California House Republicans can thank House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Vice President Mike Pence for at least a fifth of the money they have raised for this year’s midterm elections.

A joint fundraising committee connected with Pence and McCarthy gave Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale $133,000, or almost 28% of the money he’s raised in the last six months.

Central Valley Rep. David Valadao of Hanford isn’t far behind. He got $137,350, or 23% of the money he’s raised.

  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • U.S. Senate race
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A powerful nurses union that has a history of jolting California elections endorsed state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Monday in his bid to topple fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein in the U.S. Senate contest.

National Nurses United and its state organization, the California Nurses Assn., said it was backing De León because of his support for single-payer healthcare, including SB 562, a bill that passed the state Senate last year, but stalled in the Assembly because of concerns about funding.

“At a time when 15 million Californians still have no health coverage, or pay for premiums and still can’t afford to get the medical care they need, Kevin de León demonstrated outstanding political courage and leadership in shepherding passage of SB 562 in the California Senate,” said Malinda Markowitz, co-president of both nurses’ groups. She said their organizations also strongly back De León’s efforts on climate change and immigration reform.

California state Treasurer John Chiang is riffing off the popular, kitschy Dos Equis beer ad “The Most Interesting Man in World” in a new digital spot for his campaign for governor.

The ad opens with scenes of Chiang walking through an orchard with a basket of fruit, shooting pool, strumming a guitar and sawing wood in a funky, frontier days hat.

The cool guy depicted in the spot might make anyone who knows Chiang smile. He’s embraced his low-key, wonky persona, saying he lacks the smoothness and political flash of his top rivals in the race, Lt. Gov. Gavin  Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa.

Eight years after losing a bitter Republican primary for governor and stepping away from California's political scene, Steve Poizner said Monday that he will run again for the elected office he gave up in that contest — state insurance commissioner.

This time, he won't run as a Republican.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, at a presidential debate more than a decade ago, linked gay rights with “transvestites,” polygamists and people who have sex with animals.

The Rancho Santa Fe businessman, who was asked about the “homosexual agenda” during a 2007 Values Voters debate, responded by saying that while the United States is a free country, the government should not “sanction” gay relationships.

Cox also made a derogatory remark about transgender people.

’16 was a wake-up call that we need to participate, that you have to protect your own rights, that American citizens have to stand up for their own interests because otherwise they’ll get trampled. If you are too tired by 2018, if you want to go back to bed, that’s going to be devastating for democracy itself. I worry about it but I’m hopeful,”

Crews continue placing rebar panels for the new sidewalls and structural concrete on the Lake Oroville flood control spillway on Oct. 13.
Crews continue placing rebar panels for the new sidewalls and structural concrete on the Lake Oroville flood control spillway on Oct. 13. (Kelly M. Grow / California Department of Water Resources)

California lawmakers unanimously passed new legislation Monday to inspect most dams and reservoirs annually, one year after state officials ordered emergency evacuations for hundreds of thousands of residents living below the Oroville Dam.

“More needs to be done to ensure the safety and integrity of our water infrastructure,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), the bill’s author.

Under current law, state inspectors are required to examine the condition of dams, but don’t have specified timelines.  Last year, after strong rainfall across Northern California, the Oroville Dam reached capacity and its main spillway was severely damaged. The threat of the spillway’s failure led to a sudden evacuation order due to fear of flooding and levee failures for miles around the dam.

  • Governor's race
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa receives the endorsement of the California Police Chiefs Assn. on Feb. 12
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa receives the endorsement of the California Police Chiefs Assn. on Feb. 12 (Phil Willon / Los Angeles Times)

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday received his second major endorsement from law enforcement in his 2018 bid for governor, giving him some influential and well-funded allies in a tightening race.

The California Police Chiefs Assn. announced its endorsement at a morning news conference a month after Villaraigosa was backed by the Peace Officers Research Assn. of California, the largest law enforcement organization in the state with 70,000 members.

“As a mayor of Los Angeles for eight years he tackled crime in one of the most challenging cities in the United States,” Gardena Police Chief Edward Medrano, president of the association, said at the news conference.

  • California Legislature
Expo Line service to Culver City commenced in 2012 as part of Metro's major rail expansion.
Expo Line service to Culver City commenced in 2012 as part of Metro's major rail expansion. (Los Angeles Times)

A coalition of 37 low-income housing and tenant groups in Los Angeles is opposing state legislation that would dramatically increase new housing around transit.

Senate Bill 827 from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would eliminate most local zoning restrictions within half a mile of rail and major bus stops across the state, allowing for new buildings that would be a minimum of four to eight stories tall. He argues that the bill is needed to address both the state’s housing shortage and environmental goals.

The tenant advocacy groups say the legislation would exacerbate the displacement of low-income Californians from neighborhoods surrounding transit.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom launched his first digital ad in the governor’s race on Monday, timed to the 14-year anniversary of when San Francisco issued the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The minute-long spot argues that Newsom showed courage by being out front on issues such as gay marriage as well as universal healthcare and gun control.

The online ad starts with archival video of gay couples exchanging vows in 2004, as Newsom’s voice is heard declaring, “Today we can confidently say is the first day in the state of California that we are providing marriage equally and fairly to everyone and denying no one their right and their opportunity to live their lives out loud.”