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594 posts
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Gavin Newsom with his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom, right, greet Andre Truth, left, and Zhani Jackson at The Serving Spoon in Inglewood.
Gavin Newsom with his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom, right, greet Andre Truth, left, and Zhani Jackson at The Serving Spoon in Inglewood. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Gubernatorial front-runner Gavin Newsom said he felt confident about his chances in Tuesday’s primary election, but was taking nothing for granted as he greeted voters at a diner in Inglewood on Monday.

“I feel good,” the lieutenant governor told reporters at the Serving Spoon. “At this stage, it’s just about getting out the vote. … Polls don’t vote, people vote, and that means all this is academic until people get out there, send their ballots in, or show up on election day.”

The former San Francisco mayor kicked off the day with a television appearance in Los Angeles before heading to Inglewood with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The region’s voters are critical to the campaign of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Newsom has spent considerable time here trying to edge his Democratic rival.

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The dome of the California Capitol in Sacramento is lighted up.
The dome of the California Capitol in Sacramento is lighted up. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Just days after the chairwoman of California’s campaign watchdog agency abruptly quit, an internal power struggle came to a head Monday with its governing board restructuring itself to transfer powers from the chairperson to other members.

The remaining four members of the state Fair Political Practices Commission decided to shift some powers over budget, personnel, legal and policy matters from a full-time chair to the other four commissioners, who are part-time appointees and could meet behind closed doors as two-person committees to mull key issues.

Former Chairwoman Jodi Remke voiced concerns about the proposal last Friday as she resigned from her appointment, made by Gov. Jerry Brown.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, center left, and California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, center left, and California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

While Democrats campaign down to the wire, hoping to ensure their candidates are not kept out of crucial House races by California’s top-two primary, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is thinking ahead as party leaders plot their path.

Pelosi and Gov. Jerry Brown will headline a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills on June 18, less than two weeks after Tuesday’s primary.

The event is being hosted by film mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife, Marilyn, at Spago — Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant — and tickets are $25,000, according to an invitation obtained by The Times. Tickets for event co-chairs are going for $250,000, the invite says.

Antonio Villaraigosa, left, prays with the Rev. Johnteris Tate at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Antonio Villaraigosa, left, prays with the Rev. Johnteris Tate at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Los Angeles on Sunday. (Kent Nishimura)

As he waited in the wings to take the stage at Gardena’s City of Refuge church, Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa started swinging his hips and grooving in place as the choir belted out an extended version of the gospel song “He Got Up.”

The cavernous sanctuary was his last stop in a morning full of visits to African American churches in the Los Angeles area Sunday on the final weekend before election day. His top rival in the race for California governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, was hopscotching from church to church in the city as well.

Villaraigosa apologized from the pulpit for his short visit, blaming it on the whirlwind campaign season. He reminded churchgoers that he wasn’t a newcomer.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigns at Greater Zion Church Family church in Compton on Sunday.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigns at Greater Zion Church Family church in Compton on Sunday. (Jay Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Gubernatorial front-runner Gavin Newsom visited African American churches Sunday morning, greeting worshipers, clapping along as gospel choirs sang and invoking Martin Luther King Jr. as he spoke of the economic divide in California.

“The Bible teaches us many things, but nothing more important to me than this: The Bible teaches us we are many parts but one body, and when one part suffers, we all suffer,” Newsom told worshipers at the Greater Zion Church Family in Compton, drawing shouts of “Amen!” from the pews.

The lieutenant governor noted that eight million Californians, including two million children, live beneath the poverty line. 

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, speaks with students from Hayward's Tennyson High School in San Francisco.
Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, speaks with students from Hayward's Tennyson High School in San Francisco. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Wealthy supporters of Antonio Villaraigosa reported Saturday spending an additional $1.7 million to oppose Gavin Newsom, bringing their total efforts against the Democratic front-runner to more than $4 million in less than one week, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state.

The money was spent by the independent political committee called Families & Teachers for Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor 2018, funded largely by more than a dozen billionaires and multimillionaires who back charter schools and oppose the agenda of teachers unions. In all, the group has raised roughly $23 million.

The bulk of the money — $16.5 million — was initially spent promoting Villaraigosa’s candidacy. The committee also spent $1.9 million opposing Republican candidate John Cox, whom Villaraigosa is battling for second place in the June 5 top-two primary, and $241,000 to support Republican Travis Allen, part of an effort to divide the GOP vote and boost Villaraigosa’s chances of advancing to the November runoff.

  • 2018 election
Pat Harris
Pat Harris (Emma McIntyre / Getty Images)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is expected to get through Tuesday’s primary without trouble, and polls say fellow Democratic state Sen. Kevin de León is the most likely to grab second place and become her opponent on the November ballot.

But several recent surveys have shown other candidates with some support in the crowded field of 32.

In the latest, a Berkeley IGS poll released on Friday, Feinstein was favored by 36% of likely voters, while De León was in second with 11%. Republican James P. Bradley was close behind, though, with 7%. And about 25% of voters were undecided.

  • Politics podcast

After months of campaign events and millions of dollars’ worth of TV ads, decision day is close at hand in California’s statewide primary.

On this week’s episode of the California Politics Podcast, we take one last look at the races for governor and U.S. Senate. And, as with all political discussions this year, a key part of what to watch is the impact of the top-two primary.

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John Chiang greets the audience at a rally in Sacramento.
John Chiang greets the audience at a rally in Sacramento. (Melanie Mason / Los Angeles Times)

Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls John Chiang and Delaine Eastin tried to imbue their runs with greater symbolic meaning in speeches at a women’s rally Friday evening, framing their campaigns as a strike against President Trump and a bid for women’s equality, respectively.

Speaking on the Capitol steps to a crowd of several dozen gathered for a preelection rally from the local chapter of the Women’s March, both candidates tailored their pitches to the predominantly female crowd.

Chiang, the state treasurer, told the audience that in Tuesday’s primary election, California voters will “send a powerful and clear signal back to Washington, D.C., that we're standing up to President Trump.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom made clear to a Central Valley audience Friday which candidate in the race for governor is President Trump's choice to lead California: John Cox.

“As a Democrat that’s running against 26 other people, we’ll see who we end up with. If it’s a Republican, it’s likely to be Donald Trump’s handpicked candidate, John Cox,” Newsom said in front of television cameras after hosting an economic roundtable with union leaders and members in Bakersfield. “Donald Trump twice tweeted in favor of John Cox.”

His campaign has been trying to boost Cox over Democratic rival Antonio Villaraigosa. If the Rancho Santa Fe Republican gets the second spot in the June 5 primary, as several recent polls suggest he will, Cox will move on to face Newsom in the general election, greatly increasing the likelihood that Newsom will win in November.