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.
Under a ballot measure filed Thursday, California's landmark Proposition 13 property tax breaks would be extended to young homeowners who sell their residence and buy a new one.
The proposal, which aims for a spot on the November 2018 statewide ballot, would allow homeowners of any age to carry a portion of their existing property tax rate across county lines when they purchase a new house. Homeowners often are reluctant to switch houses, given that Proposition 13's cap on annual property taxes ends once they sell and move somewhere else.
"A lot of people kind of feel locked into their properties," said Alex Creel, a lobbyist for the California Assn. of Realtors, who filed the proposed initiative. "This will free up those folks."
Fallout continued Thursday over Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes' support for the cap-and-trade extension, with one of his top lieutenants resigning her leadership position in protest.
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, from Lake Elsinore, was among the majority of Republicans who voted against the bill Monday because of concerns that it would increase gas and energy costs for Californians. In total, eight Republicans joined most of the Democrats backing the measure.
“Californians are struggling to make ends meet, and unfortunately, what I have witnessed by the Assembly Republican Leader is a dereliction of duty to preserve and promote the American Dream for every single Californian,” Melendez said in a statement.
Southern California Reps. Susan Davis, Alan Lowenthal and two other House members have been sued for displaying a rainbow flag in the hallway outside their Capitol Hill offices.
The plaintiff is Chris Sevier, an attorney who has an ongoing campaign against same-sex marriage and has also unsuccessfully sued states for the right to marry a laptop computer in order to try to make a point about rulings on same-sex marriage.
Besides Davis of San Diego and Lowenthal of Long Beach, Sevier sued Reps. Don Beyer of Virginia and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. All are Democrats.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has made several trips to Moscow during his 15 terms in Congress.
But the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats canceled a publicly announced trip to meet with the Russian parliament last spring with little notice.
Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) told the Times on Wednesday that he decided not to go because he was worried the national focus on Russia would make it difficult to have serious conversations with Russian officials.
Under pressure from some party activists to step down, Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley met with his caucus for more than an hour Thursday and emerged saying he remains its leader.
“It’s all good. ... I'm the leader,” Mayes told reporters after the closed session meeting.
The unscheduled gathering of the 25-member Assembly Republican Caucus is not expected to relieve pressure on the leader who has been criticized for standing with Gov. Jerry Brown as he and six other Assembly Republicans voted to extend California’s cap-and-trade program.
Backers of an effort to remove an Orange County Democrat from office believe their effort would have forced a special election this November, if not for a change in state election law enacted last month.
On Thursday, they took their complaint to a state appeals court.
The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that could delay a recall election against state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) until next year.
Tom Steyer, a major donor to Democratic causes and a potential candidate for California governor, has long signaled his political ambitions stretched far beyond climate change, his signature issue.
Now he's making it official, rebranding his organization as NextGen America instead of NextGen Climate. The new name reflects a broader desire to oppose President Trump and support progressive policies.
"This is a fight for the soul of American democracy, and we have expanded our mission to meet the challenge at hand," Steyer said in a statement.