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
Following a spate of Democrats announcing runs in the 48th Congressional District, GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher now has a challenger from his own party.
Orange County businessman Stelian Onufrei, a Romanian immigrant who owns a construction business, announced Thursday that he's running against the Costa Mesa Republican.
In a statement, Onufrei, 52, called Rohrabacher an "entrenched career politician" who has "become a political lightning rod." Much of that controversy has stemmed from critiques on the left, particularly over Rohrabacher's long-held belief that the U.S. should normalize relations with Russia.
Onufrei, who like many candidates this cycle has never run for public office before, said tax reform, "restoring religious freedoms" and instituting congressional term limits would be among his top priorities if elected. (The last one would probably require a constitutional amendment.)
Onufrei joins the race just after the latest campaign finance filing deadline, but said he would contribute $500,000 of his own money to fund his run.