Political Landscape: Foley to run for Costa Mesa mayor in 2018

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley is planning to run for the city’s new at-large mayoral seat in 2018.

Foley confirmed to the Daily Pilot this week her intention to run. She said she has been planning it for some time and hosted a campaign fundraising event at a Santa Ana law firm in April.

Foley, an attorney who lives in Costa Mesa’s Mesa del Mar neighborhood, was first elected to the City Council in 2004. She won reelection in 2008 and left in 2010 after winning a seat on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board.

In 2014, she returned to the council for a four-year term. Last year, Foley’s council colleagues appointed her mayor, a largely ceremonial position.

Under new city rules taking effect in 2018, mayors will be elected by voters throughout the city. The council will be expanded to seven members from five, and council members other than the mayor will be elected by districts.

In the mayor’s race, Foley could face Gary Monahan, a former mayor and longtime councilman who recently expressed interest in returning to City Hall.

Candidates will not be able to pull papers to officially run until next year, but they can file other paperwork to begin campaign fundraising now.

Rohrabacher says he’s not paid by Russia

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) laughed when a reporter from The Hill newspaper asked Friday whether he is getting paid by Russia, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

“Am I getting money from Russia? No,” Rohrabacher said.

The question stemmed from a Washington Post story this week that disclosed an audio recording from last year in which House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) said he thought Rohrabacher and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump were being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A transcript of the tape notes McCarthy and others in the room were laughing, and McCarthy’s staff has said the comment was meant as a joke.

“That was a joke that didn’t make it,” Rohrabacher told The Hill, adding that he and McCarthy are friends.

For decades, Rohrabacher’s willingness to work with Russia has made him a bit of an outlier within the Republican Party, and people have questioned his stance repeatedly.

Rohrabacher told The Hill that McCarthy has apologized for his comment and the attention it has caused.

Rohrabacher’s 48th Congressional District is a target for Democrats in the midterm elections. His prospective opponents in 2018 have jumped on his friendliness toward Russia as a campaign issue, with one, Democrat Harley Rouda of Laguna Beach, even sending a letter asking the FBI to investigate.

The New York Times reported Friday that the FBI warned Rohrabacher a few years ago that Russian spies were trying to recruit him.

Rohrabacher told the paper that he appreciated the warning but didn’t need it.

“Any time you meet a Russian member of their Foreign Ministry or the Russian government, you assume those people have something to do with Russian intelligence," he said.

On Friday, Indivisible OC, an activist group that has held weekly protests against Rohrabacher since January, called on the FBI to investigate the matter. The group scheduled a protest for Friday night in Laguna Beach.

“Dana Rohrabacher speaks in our name. The loyalties and integrity of our House representative, and any politician to that matter, should not be in question,” Indivisible OC said in a statement. “As district constituents and as citizens, we have the right and the duty to ensure our democratic values and process are not compromised.”

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint

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