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675 posts
  • Governor's race
Democratic candidates for California governor Gavin Newsom, left, and Antonio Villaraigosa take part in a NARAL Pro-Choice California event in San Francisco on Jan. 30.
Democratic candidates for California governor Gavin Newsom, left, and Antonio Villaraigosa take part in a NARAL Pro-Choice California event in San Francisco on Jan. 30. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Anyone expecting fireworks at Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate in San Francisco must have been sorely disappointed.

On the heels of two chippy clashes between the candidates in the last two weeks, the four Democrats on stage for a debate sponsored by the abortion-rights organization NARAL Pro-Choice California agreed on almost every issue. And they played nice.

In fact, the only one who was criticized was Gov. Jerry Brown. All four candidates criticized the governor's veto of a bill last year that would have barred employers from firing workers for having an abortion, or giving birth to a child out of wedlock.

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  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Democrat Bryan Caforio, left, speaks in a debate against incumbent Rep. Steve Knight in 2016.
Democrat Bryan Caforio, left, speaks in a debate against incumbent Rep. Steve Knight in 2016. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The winnowing process began this weekend for the dozens of California Democrats vying to take control of Republican-held House seats in the midterm election.

The rank-and-file delegates who make up the state's Democratic Party met last weekend in small groups all over the state to cast early votes for their favorite candidates in House races.

These so-called "pre-endorsement conferences" are the first steps in the process to winning the party's endorsement ahead of June's primary.

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  • Governor's race
State Treasurer John Chiang.
State Treasurer John Chiang. (Los Angeles Times)

State Treasurer and Democratic candidate for governor John Chiang on Tuesday announced his office will study whether California should create a state bank to serve California’s newly legalized marijuana industry.

The effort will be coordinated with the state attorney general’s office, with both agencies trying to determine the costs, legal implications and other possible barriers to creating a state-run bank.

The biggest risk may come from Washington. U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has indicated that the federal government will begin enforcing federal laws banning marijuana in states where cannabis is legal.

  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
Sen. Tony Mendoza had his leave of absence extended up to 60 days on Thursday.
Sen. Tony Mendoza had his leave of absence extended up to 60 days on Thursday. (Steve Yeater / Associated Press)

With state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) on a leave of absence pending a sexual harassment probe, Montebello Mayor Vanessa Delgado said Tuesday that one reason she is considering a possible election challenge to the incumbent is that there is no one standing up for the Senate district with him absent.

Mendoza, a Democrat from Artesia, is facing criticism from within his party for allegations he acted inappropriately with three former female aides. Mendoza denies wrongdoing. 

“I am seriously considering it,” said Delgado, who is also a Democrat. “We’re unrepresented. We have been for some time, given Tony Mendoza’s leave. The way the timeline works out for his leave and a possible expulsion, somebody has to be positioned to run if he is going to leave early or not.”

(Douglas Graham / CQ Roll Call)

If the worst were to happen on Capitol Hill during President Trump’s speech tonight, Rep. Mike Thompson would be tasked with helping to rebuild the government.

The concept of a designated survivor is by now well known: The little known Cabinet secretary who doesn’t attend the State of the Union in order to preserve the line of succession in case the country’s leaders are attacked when they are all in one building. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, House and Senate leaders have picked members who would restart the legislative branch as well.

Thompson of St. Helena, who along with Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento was tapped by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Democrats’ designated survivors, said it is not exciting at all. He’s done it once before, and there is no underground bunker or undisclosed location. He’ll be at his home in Washington. 

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  • California Legislature
Plastics and other detritus line the shore of the Thames Estuary earlier.
Plastics and other detritus line the shore of the Thames Estuary earlier. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images)

The state Senate on Tuesday deadlocked for the second year in a row on a measure that would have prohibited California restaurants from providing take-out orders in disposable polystyrene food service containers starting in 2020.

Sen. Benjamin Allen (D-Santa Monica) was unable to get votes from even some fellow Democrats as the bill failed 18-16, three votes shy of the majority needed for passage.

Allen signaled that he may bring the proposal back next year.

  • California in Congress
UCLA graduate and Dreamer Denea Joseph speaks at a news conference. She will attend President Trump's first State of the Union address.
UCLA graduate and Dreamer Denea Joseph speaks at a news conference. She will attend President Trump's first State of the Union address. (Pete Marovich)

Hoping to keep pressure on President Trump and Congress to find a legislative fix for “Dreamers,” nearly two dozen members of Congress, including seven Californians, are bringing people who entered the country illegally as children to the State of the Union on Tuesday night.

“What I want Donald Trump to see tonight are the faces of these Dreamers,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus chairwoman, said at a news conference Tuesday.

Chu said her guest, Jung Bin Cho, 23, of Springfield, Va., is representative of the country’s 130,000 Asian American Dreamers.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election

Tom Steyer isn’t the only politico launching ads in California during tonight’s State of the Union address.

Sara Jacobs, a congressional candidate running for Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat, will launch her first TV ad during Tuesday’s coverage of the President’s speech. 

The ad features video of Trump and says, “If we want to hold him accountable, we need to win back Congress.” Jacobs, who turns 29 this week and has the backing of pro-abortion-rights group Emily’s List, closes the 30-second spot by saying “It’s time for a new generation to change Washington.”

For years members of Congress have used their State of the Union guests to send a silent message to the president. More and more, they are sending a different message by sitting it out entirely.