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Rep. Devin Nunes.
Rep. Devin Nunes. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) and Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) fell behind in one election handicapper’s ratings on Thursday, giving more optimism to Democrats who hope to regain control of the House in November. 

Nunes’ and McClintock’s districts were downgraded to “likely Republican” from “safe Republican” by analysts at Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics on Thursday.

Nunes has made a name for himself as a Trump defender and as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a newfound notoriety that the analysts said could both hurt and help him. He raised more than $1 million in the first quarter of 2018, but so did his Democratic opponent, Andrew Janz, a Fresno County deputy district attorney.

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In a Central Valley barn decked out in red, white and blue, dairyman and state Senate candidate Johnny Tacherra drew cheers from a crowd of fellow farmers when he said he opposes the California Legislature’s hike on gas taxes and vehicle fees.

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  • State government
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

In his first television ad in the governor’s race, state Treasurer John Chiang touts his record on fiscal issues as California faced the recession.

“Some thought we were done,” Chiang says in a voiceover in the 30-second spot he released Thursday, with images of him standing seriously at a lectern and complimentary headlines about his work as controller and treasurer. “But I knew better. I made the tough calls. And brought California back from the brink of financial disaster because you trusted me to manage our economy.”

Chiang’s campaign is spending about $500,000 to air the ad in Los Angeles and San Diego in coming days.

On a recent trip to Iowa, Eric Garcetti — the mayor of Los Angeles and a possible 2020 White House contestant — raised eyebrows with a bit of exuberant outreach.

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A proposal to borrow $8.9 billion for improvements to California’s water quality systems and watersheds and protection of natural habitats is eligible for the statewide ballot in November, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced in a press release Wednesday.

Padilla said the measure, which is backed by agricultural interests, had exceeded the 365,800 valid signatures it needed to qualify for the general election ballot.

The bond measure will appear on the ballot unless proponents withdraw it by June 28, the release said.

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(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

A mother of two turned ringleader of “the resistance” and more than a hundred of her faithful followers gathered on Tuesday morning outside Rep. Darrell Issa’s office in a northern San Diego County suburb. Across the street was her foil, a wedding DJ in a red “Make American Great Again” cap, setting up hefty speakers for an upcoming war of words.

For about 65 weeks the deep divide in America played out along this 100-yard stretch of road in Vista. Here, at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, passersby found signs, chants, songs and, if they were lucky, sometimes a 20-foot-tall inflatable chicken with a Trump-esque coif.

They’d also glimpse the state of the body politic in 2018, a time when shock has turned to anger and post-2016 calls for reconciliation have morphed into grudging acceptance that each side might be better off in their respective corners. Or in this case, their sides of the street.

Jane Un, chief executive and founder of Abba Bail Bonds, works with a client.
Jane Un, chief executive and founder of Abba Bail Bonds, works with a client. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In recent years, the seriousness and number of official complaints related to the bail industry in California have significantly increased while bail agents and bounty hunters face limited oversight, putting vulnerable communities at risk of fraud, embezzlement and other forms of victimization.

This year, as Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged to work with lawmakers in a push to overhaul how courts assign defendants bail and to better regulate bail agencies, even some who profit from the court practice admit it’s time for regulation. These bail and bail-recovery agents could become unlikely allies, saying they advocate for change because they’ve seen the system abuse the poor.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats

After a sleepy campaign, California voters are now being bombarded with television advertisements in the governor’s race, an onslaught that is expected to ramp up in coming weeks.

The ads most frequently seen on television are those promoting Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the front-runner in the race, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is trying to secure the second spot in the June primary.

Newsom’s campaign and an outside group backing Villaraigosa are spending seven figures weekly on these efforts, according to filings with the California secretary of state’s office and a media buyer who asked not to be identified in order to freely discuss the ads.

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  • Ballot measures
  • California Republicans
A Chevron gas station in Sacramento shows prices last year.
A Chevron gas station in Sacramento shows prices last year. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Republican activists said Tuesday that they have collected at least 830,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal recent increases in California’s gas tax and vehicle fees, more than enough to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

The activists need 585,407 signatures of registered voters to qualify the ballot measure.

Because signatures are still being processed and counted by the campaign, backers hope to have 900,000 by the time they begin turning them in to the counties on Friday, according to Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Council member and organizer of the drive.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, has filed paperwork to establish a legal expense fund amid an ongoing federal criminal investigation into misused campaign cash.