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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
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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.”

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
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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  • 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.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Josh Schoonover for Congress)

Republican Josh Schoonover’s challenge to GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter was short-lived. Announcing his bid Monday, he spoke of being “frustrated by my congressman’s inability to conduct himself in an ethical manner” and said, “I can’t sit on the sidelines any longer.”

By Wednesday morning, after Rep. Darrell Issa announced he no longer would seek reelection in the neighboring 49th Congressional District, Schoonover had changed his mind.

“I think I resonate better with the people [in Issa’s district], better than Issa who’s a career politician,” said Schoonover, an attorney who lives in Hunter’s district. He said a business leader and supporter of Issa called him Wednesday morning to urge him to run in Issa’s district instead, but he declined to name the person.

State legislation that would have expanded rent control in California failed Thursday after a lengthy and heated debate that brought landlord and tenant groups from across the state to the Capitol.

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(Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Antonio Villaraigosa called on gubernatorial rival Gavin Newsom on Friday to drop a lawsuit challenging the right of San Francisco voters to set height limits on new buildings along the city’s scenic waterfront.

Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco, chairs the State Lands Commission, which filed the complaint.

The lawsuit seeks to nullify the Sierra Club’s Proposition B, passed by 59% of the city’s voters in 2014. It requires voter approval for any new waterfront building that exceeds the city’s height limit.