Advertisement
  • Politics podcast

Even after last week’s disclosure of dozens of records of sexual harassment investigations from the past decade, the most important questions about workplace harassment at the state Capitol may still lie ahead.

On this week’s California Politics Podcast, we discuss the broader implications of lawmakers releasing new details about sexual harassment investigations since 2006 — namely, whether advocates for new rules and additional oversight now have a better sense of what’s likely to work.

We also review the newly filed campaign cash reports from major candidates in the races for governor and U.S. Senate. While it’s still early in both races, the tallies show one candidate in each race with a sizable advantage.

  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and supporters walk in the hallway during the California Democratic Convention in San Diego.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and supporters walk in the hallway during the California Democratic Convention in San Diego. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The California Democratic Party on Saturday opted to forgo endorsing either of the two candidates in the running for state attorney general.

Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, who was appointed to the post in early 2017 by Gov. Jerry Brown, is running against two-term state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to become California’s top law enforcement official.

To win the party endorsement, one of the candidates needed to nab 60% of the votes cast by delegates at the party’s convention in San Diego this weekend. Jones received 56% and Becerra got 42%.

Advertisement
  • California Democrats
Upper L to R: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa and John Chiang. Lower: Delaine Eastin, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León.
Upper L to R: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa and John Chiang. Lower: Delaine Eastin, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León. (Los Angeles Times)

The California Democratic Party decided not to endorse in the U.S. Senate contest on Saturday, an embarrassing rebuke of veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Feinstein, who has represented California in the Senate for a quarter-century, is facing an insurgent bid by fellow Democrat, state Senate leader Kevin de León. Though De León did not get the endorsement, his success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists.

Feinstein has never been a state party glad-hander, while De León has cultivated relationships with the party’s delegates. He still faces a significant challenge in trying to topple Feinstein, who trounces De León in all public polling and fundraising.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

One of the top tasks for California Democrats at the convention is settling whether the state party will endorse in some congressional races. Some of those endorsements were decided at the local level in January.

Some races with crowded fields were left for small meetings among district activists at the convention Saturday.

Races where Democrats didn’t agree will be decided Sunday on the convention floor. Some campaigns are attempting to challenge initial results. Here’s what we know so far.

  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) casts his vote for a Democratic party endorsement
Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) casts his vote for a Democratic party endorsement (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

Two days after state Sen. Tony Mendoza resigned his post following a sexual misconduct investigation, he arrived at the California Democratic Party convention to confirm he’ll seek the seat again.

Party activists in his district rebuffed his attempt to win the Democrats’ endorsement by a sizable margin.

The vote on Saturday evening capped off a wild week for the Democrat from Artesia, who faced a potential expulsion vote by his colleagues on Thursday after an independent investigation found it was likely he made unwanted advances toward six women during his tenure as a lawmaker, including four women who worked as his staffers.

Advertisement
  • Governor's race
  • California Democrats
Clockwise from top left: Gubernatorial candidates John Chiang, Delaine Eastin, Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom.
Clockwise from top left: Gubernatorial candidates John Chiang, Delaine Eastin, Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

The top Democratic candidates for California governor pitched their cases to a raucous, fractured audience at the state Democratic Party’s convention in San Diego on Saturday, hoping to win the party’s  endorsement.

The five-minute speeches hit all the familiar Democratic themes — including plenty of President Trump bashing — and were laced with subtle and not-too-subtle digs at one another.

Here are some of their most interesting comments.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, left, and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, left, and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and rival Kevin de León offered contrasting messages to California Democrats on Saturday, hours before delegates vote on an endorsement in the race.

De León, the state’s Senate leader, repeatedly and forcefully criticized Feinstein, though not by name.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because the days of Democrats biding our time, biting our tongue and triangulating at the margins are over,” De León said. “And I’m running because California’s greatness comes from acts of human audacity, not from congressional seniority.”

  • California Democrats
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Maxine Waters knows how to take advantage of a good viral moment when she creates it. More than six months after she cut off Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin during a committee hearing and declared she was “reclaiming my time,” she took the stage at general session of the California Democratic Party and repeated the same words.

“I shut down him down,” she told the audience, which cheered and held signs that bore the three-word slogan as she said it three times more: “Reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time.”

Blasting Republicans in Congress as “spineless, unpatriotic, intimidated” and calling President Trump “the most unworthy, untrustworthy, duplicitous human being this country has ever witnessed,” Waters held nothing back. 

Advertisement
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaking at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego Saturday.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaking at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego Saturday. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris addresses the California Democratic Party convention.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris addresses the California Democratic Party convention. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

California Democrats got a glimpse Saturday of four up-and-comers considered potential contenders for the White House in 2020, each of whom talked of ending what they described as the dark era of President Trump.

Three were California’s own, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Kamala Harris and billionaire political activist Tom Steyer. The fourth, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, lives a state away.

Just back from a trip to the early presidential primary state of South Carolina, Garcetti was the first of the group to address the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego.

Advertisement