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675 posts
  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
California Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey
California Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

Diane Harkey, chairwoman of the state Board of Equalization, said Wednesday she’s jumping into the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa, hours after the nine-term Republican said he wouldn’t seek reelection.

In a statement released by Harkey’s campaign, Issa said, “I strongly support Diane Harkey’s candidacy” and called her a “dedicated public servant and tenacious candidate.” Issa’s statement stopped short of calling it an endorsement.

Harkey said in a news release that she would “focus on keeping America safe and our economy strong and growing” if elected.

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  • Congressional races
  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

Rep. Darrell Issa’s retirement announcement means Democrats have a better chance of winning the district, one election handicapper said Wednesday.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said Wednesday he is moving the race from a tossup to their Leans Democratic category.

Issa of Vista is the second Southern California Republican to announce plans to retire this week. 

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  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

Vista Republican Rep. Darrell Issa will not run for a 10th term in Congress.

The former chairman of the House Oversight Committee narrowly won reelection in 2016 and was widely considered the most vulnerable incumbent in the House going into the 2018 election.

The richest man in Congress, Issa had already drawn a handful of well funded opponents.

  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
Assemblymen Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) and Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) speak with reporters in Sacramento.
Assemblymen Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) and Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) speak with reporters in Sacramento. (John Myers/Los Angeles Times)

Saying it’s time for his party to regain its relevance in California, the former Assembly Republican leader said Tuesday he’s launched a new political organization to focus on issues where the GOP can find common ground with voters who now routinely elect Democrats.

“I think a lot of us are feeling very nervous about going into 2018 with the current dynamics that we’re facing today,” said Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley). “And I think, in large part, that’s because Republicans have failed to be able to reach out to folks, to average folks, in California.”

“They don’t think we care about them. They don’t think we are working for their benefit,” he said.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

A day after announcing he would retire at the end of 2018, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) has weighed in on who should replace him.

Royce has endorsed former state legislator Young Kim, a one-term assemblywoman who was unseated in a 2016 rematch with Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva. Kim worked in Royce’s district office before being elected to the Assembly.

“I can attest to Young’s dedication and abilities because she worked for me for almost 20 years,” Royce said in a statement. “She knows our district, its people and its needs. She is a tireless and dedicated public servant.”

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), right, walks hand in hand with her spouse, Jennifer LeSar, to the rostrum when she was elected as Assembly speaker in 2014. She will be the next leader of the Senate.
Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), right, walks hand in hand with her spouse, Jennifer LeSar, to the rostrum when she was elected as Assembly speaker in 2014. She will be the next leader of the Senate. (Associated Press)

State Sen. Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) was unanimously elected Tuesday by her Democratic colleagues to take over as the next president pro tempore of the Senate on March 21.

Atkins replaces Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) as senate leader. He is running for the U.S. Senate.

De León described Atkins as “a person of vast experience and unimpeachable integrity,” and said he is proud that the state senate will be led for the first time by a woman and member of the LGBTQ community.

  • State government
Nancy McFadden.
Nancy McFadden. (Robert Durrell / For The Times)

Nancy McFadden, the highest-ranking advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown, said Tuesday that she will work less frequently in the Capitol in the coming months as she recuperates from cancer treatments.

McFadden, 59, is Brown’s executive secretary — a post other governors have designated as chief of staff. As such, she leads the governor’s efforts on a vast array of policies and has been one of his most influential advisors since 2011.

McFadden made the announcement about her reduced role on Twitter. She explained that ovarian cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2001, returned four years ago.

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Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) has proposed a way to expedite the clearing of records of marijuana convictions.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) has proposed a way to expedite the clearing of records of marijuana convictions. (Alexis Cuarezma / For The Times)

Proposition 64, approved by California voters in 2016 to legalize recreational pot use, allows people to petition the courts to have past convictions for marijuana offenses expunged from their records. But the process can be difficult and expensive, according to supporters of pot legalization.

In response, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would make it easier to have criminal convictions removed from the records of marijuana users, potentially opening more doors to employment and housing.

Rather than require people to petition the courts for a determination, AB 1793 would require criminal convictions for marijuana-related offenses to be automatically expunged, placing the burden on the courts, Bonta said.

State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A proposal to allow Californians to dodge a new cap on federal income tax deductions would create “the most generous tax credits ever allowed in California history,” according to a new legislative analysis.

The legislation, Senate Bill 227 from Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), would create a state-run nonprofit to accept donations from residents concerned about their federal tax liabilities under the GOP-led federal tax overhaul.

The federal plan caps the deductibility of state and local taxes at $10,000. De León’s bill would allow Californians to reduce their state income tax payments above $10,000 dollar-for-dollar by instead donating to the state what they owe, allowing residents to take a federal charitable deduction instead.