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Bernie Sanders running short of cash entering California, financial filings show

As the hopes of a third-party candidate wane, Donald Trump continues to rack up support in the Republican Party.

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Donald Trump tells Latino church leaders: ‘You’re going to like President Trump’

Donald Trump told an annual gathering of Latino church leaders Friday that he will win the election in November and that they are “going to like President Trump.”

In a short video message played at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Convention in Anaheim, the presumed GOP presidential nominee abstained from the heated immigration rhetoric that has earned him many critics in the Latino community.

Instead, Trump stressed what he would do for poor and middle-class minority communities, vowing to lower taxes, improve schools and create jobs.

“I’m going to win and we’re going to take care of everybody,” Trump said. “We’re going to take care of you. You’re going to like President Trump.”

In her taped remarks to the convention, Hillary Clinton, Trump’s likely rival in the November general election, addressed Trump and his calls for mass deportations.

“We’re hearing some divisive and dangerous rhetoric in this election,” Clinton said, citing Trump’s allegation that Mexico is sending drug dealers and rapists to the United States. “That is not who we are as a people.”

Clinton repeated her promise to push for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would allow most of the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally to stay.

According to recent polls, most Latinos have an unfavorable impression of Trump and favor Clinton by large margins.

Latino evangelical Christians, many of whom embrace conservative social values, have long been seen as natural targets for Republican votes. Many of them supported GOP nominee Mitt Romney against President Obama in 2012.

But Trump’s targeting of immigrants in the country illegally over the past year has made it hard for some Latino Christians to support him, said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference.

“It offended me and my community,” Rodriguez said at a news conference shortly before Trump’s video aired. Immigrants, Rodriguez said, “are parishioners in our churches.”

But many evangelical Latinos also have doubts about Clinton, who supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

That puts evangelicals in a difficult position, Rodriguez said. “It is a weird year.”

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Snapshot from the trail: Bernie Sanders in New Mexico

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Hillary Clinton’s outside backers have sizable war chest to target Donald Trump

A super PAC backing Hillary Clinton has nearly $47 million in the bank as it gears up to pummel presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in the general election.

The group, Priorities USA Action, raised more than $8 million in April, according to filings submitted Friday to the Federal Election Commission.

The haul was boosted by several seven-figure donations, including $1.5 million apiece from Haim Saban, an entertainment mogul, and his wife, Cheryl, a philanthropist. The couple had previously given a combined $7 million to the group.

Alexander Soros, son of billionaire investor George Soros, also chipped in $1 million.

The group spent around $6.5 million in April, mostly on digital ads.

In all, the group has raised more than $76 million during the presidential election. And even while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is still squaring off against Bernie Sanders in the primary, her outside backers have trained their attentions on Trump, with Priorities USA releasing its first on-air salvo in key general election states.

“As Republican special interests begin to coalesce around their nominee, our continued fundraising success is crucial to our efforts to take the fight to Trump from now until November,” said Guy Cecil, the group’s chief strategist, in a statement. “Priorities is ready to do everything we can to contrast Hillary Clinton’s record with a con man like Donald Trump, who is too divisive and dangerous to ever be president of the United States.”

After months of bashing political fundraising as corrupt, Trump has recently warmed to the traditional campaign cash race, setting up a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican party. His outside backers, however, still lag far behind the Clinton allies when it comes to building a war chest.

Great America PAC, the main super PAC boosting Trump, raised just over $500,000 in April. The group owes $300,000 in debts, the bulk of which stems from a loan by Goldenwest Diamond Corporation, owned by William Doddridge.

The group spent around $130,000 in April, the bulk of which went to a mix of television and digital ads. Now that Trump has pivoted toward the general election, the super PAC is ramping up its efforts; the group will spend $1 million on television ads in coming weeks, according to FEC filings.

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Benghazi committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy now supports Donald Trump

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Money is becoming a challenge for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders could finally be plagued with a problem that has dragged down insurgent presidential candidates in the past — running low on cash.

Up until recently, the Vermont senator has been able to count on an impressive network of small-dollar donors to help him go toe-to-toe with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Not only did he sometimes raise more money than Clinton, who has relied more on a smaller number of wealthy donors, he spent more than her on television advertising in several states.

But now the money appears to be drying up as the primary nears its end and Sanders faces increasingly long odds of winning the nomination, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Sanders spent $38.6 million in April but raised only $26.9 million, ending the month with $5.8 million, records show.

Meanwhile, Clinton started May with $30 million in the bank. She raised $25 million and spent $23.9 million in April.

It’s a bad time for Sanders’ pockets to be getting lighter. He’s pledged to win California, which holds its primary on June 7, but campaigning here is notoriously expensive.

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Donald Trump wins NRA endorsement: ‘The 2nd Amendment is on the ballot’

Donald Trump won the National Rifle Assn.’s endorsement Friday afternoon in a further sign that the presumed Republican presidential nominee he is consolidating the party’s major constituencies.

Trump, speaking at the gun lobbying group’s national convention in Louisville, Ky., promptly promised to expand gun rights, appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court and “unsign” President Obama’s executive actions.

“I will not let you down,” Trump said.

“The 2nd Amendment is on the ballot in November,” he added, pointing the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia and what he said was the potential to appoint as many as four other justices during the next presidential term.

As he introduced Trump, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive, spoke little about the GOP candidate and mostly about the threat posed by Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. In a scathing speech, he called on gun owners to unite against Clinton, even if Trump was not their first choice.

“If she gets just one Supreme Court nomination, Hillary’s court will hold that the 2nd Amendment is a government right and not an individual right, and you can kiss your guns goodbye,” LaPierre said.

The attacks against Clinton were harsh. Just before Trump and LaPierre spoke, during a speech by NRA executive director Chris Cox, the NRA played a video of Clinton barking like a dog.

Clinton has made tighter gun laws a centerpiece of her campaign. She favors a variety of measures, including increased background checks, federal criminal laws directed at people who buy guns on behalf of felons, and prohibitions to stop domestic abusers from owning guns.

Trump continued the barrage, calling Clinton “heartless” and “crooked,” his usual moniker. He challenged her to name potential Supreme Court justice nominees, as he has, and criticized her for favoring gun restrictions, which he said compromised the right to self-defense in “a rough community, a bad community.”

“This is the most basic human right of all, yet Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” he said.

He repeated his prior assertion that terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino would have been stopped or mitigated had they been met with more armed civilians.

“If we had guns on the other side, it wouldn’t have been that way,” he said

The speech was fairly unusual for Trump. In addition to his usual riffs about a border wall, terrorist threats and bad trade deals, he read from prepared remarks about gun policy, specifically tailored to the audience.

Trump pointed to his sons in hopes of winning over any skeptics, but may have hit an off-note: “They have so many rifles and so many guns, sometimes I even get a little bit concerned.”

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Donald Trump focuses on a usual target - Bill Clinton

As polling data continue to showcase his troubles with female voters, presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is doubling-down on pointing to Bill Clinton’s past issues with women.

Trump did so again on Friday in response to questions related to Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, who has noted that she will look to her husband for advice on economic issues.

“Maybe she just wants him around the White House so she can keep her eye on him,” Trump, in a jab toward Bill Clinton, said on Fox News.

As Trump faces an onslaught of criticism for his comments about women — among other things, he speculated that Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly was menstruating when she questioned him harshly last year — he has sometimes responded by accusing Bill Clinton of treating women far worse.

In a CBS News/New York Times poll released this week, 60% of women surveyed said they had an unfavorable view of the New York real estate mogul. Other polls have shown similar discontent.

This week, Trump called the 42nd president the “worst abuser” of women in “U.S. political history.”

On Fox News, he also mentioned again an old rape allegation against Clinton, which the former president has repeatedly denied. No criminal charges were ever filed.

When asked about Trump’s “abuser” comments this week, Bill Clinton demurred. And in an interview on CNN, Hillary Clinton said not to expect engagement on the issue.

“I know that that’s exactly what he’s fishing for. I’m not going to be responding,” Clinton said.

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These Republicans couldn’t possibly vote for Trump, but will they go for Clinton?

(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Atlanta-area attorney Mathew Titus, a faithful Republican and suburban father of three, is so disheartened with Donald Trump as the presumed GOP nominee he plans to sit out the presidential election this year.

Titus, 36, preferred what he saw as Sen. Marco Rubio’s modern, optimistic approach to Republican ideology

Trump’s surprise ascent even persuaded Titus to reconsider his dream of running for local office. When he votes in November, he expects to leave the top of his ballot blank rather than vote for the New York businessman.

“That the party, the electorate, would favor Trump is crazy in my mind,” Titus said, adding that several of his friends feel the same way. “I definitely feel like an orphan. ... Am I even part of this party?”

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Donald Trump’s Illinois delegates are a mix of the angry, eager and eccentric

A couple of them started GoFundMe efforts for travel money. A few of them plan to bunk up as roommates. Only a handful have any history of political activism. And many of them said they believe the nation and its politics have become too politically correct.

They are the 39 elected members of Illinois’ Donald Trump delegation to the Republican National Convention — an eclectic, slightly organized group chosen across the state in the March 15 primary who found a common cause in the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

And like the candidate they are pledged to support, some of them don’t shy away from controversy.

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Horsey: Now it is Democrats, not Republicans, at war with each other

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Thousands have left California’s American Independent Party in the last month

A new analysis finds nearly 32,000 voters in California’s American Independent Party changed their official registration and left the party in the two weeks after a Los Angeles Times investigation identified widespread confusion among the party’s members.

The change comes after a series of stories last month about voters who had intended to be politically independent, what’s known in California as having “no party preference.” A poll conducted for The Times found 73% of American Independent Party members did not know they had registered with an actual political party.

Paul Mitchell, a political data specialist whose firm sells exclusive analyses of voter data to California political campaigns, worked with The Times on the stories. He conducted the new analysis for The Times on a pro-bono basis.

Using voter data from each of California’s 58 counties, Mitchell found that 31,772 AIP voters left the party in the two weeks prior to May 1. The first story was published in The Times on April 17.

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