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(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

The very mention of Conor Lamb’s name got the crowd of Democrats packed into a Palmdale community center for a congressional debate Thursday night hooting and clapping.

The Pennsylvania Democrat’s apparent upset victory in a U.S. House district that President Trump carried by a large margin in 2016 is giving liberal activists fever dreams of a blue wave that could flip dozens of seats currently held by Republicans. 

So the question was posed to the three Democratic candidates looking to oust Republican Rep. Steve Knight this November in a district that Hillary Clinton won in 2016: What lessons does Lamb’s victory offer Democrats?


Althea Krim, 62, watched from the front row as the three top Democrats trying to defeat Republican Rep. Steve Knight squared off at a debate Thursday night.

It was the first political debate Krim, a recently retired audio visual installation manager from Palmdale, had attended. She didn’t follow politics until Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.

Now, the 32-year Antelope Valley resident is a bona fide political agent: She is knocking on doors trying to boost turnout to oust Knight from the Democratic majority district.

  • California Legislature
Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco)
Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A Bay Area legislator is unveiling new legislation to provide major state funding for cities and counties to finance low-income housing, transit and other infrastructure.

Assembly Bill 3037 from Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would re-create a version of a program known as redevelopment that set aside billions of dollars in property taxes each year for local economic development and affordable housing. Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers eliminated that program in 2011 during the depths of the state’s budget crisis, arguing the effort was too costly and rife with abuses, such as money financing upgrades to luxury golf courses.

Chiu said lawmakers have learned from the previous program’s failures and that the new version will provide enough money to help local governments meet key state housing affordability and climate change goals while also adding greater accountability to the spending.

In theory, Democrats hoping to win back congressional control have two of their best shots in California, where two Republicans are retiring from racially diverse districts that have been trending against the GOP.

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

An attorney and immigrant rights activist is the first person living in the U.S. illegally to be named to a statewide appointment in the nation's most populous state, California’s Senate leader announced Wednesday.

The Senate Rules Committee appointed Lizbeth Mateo to be an advisor on college access and financial aid.

Mateo is well-known for championing protections for people without legal authorization to live in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) framed her appointment as a rebuke of President Trump's immigration policies.

Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) casts his vote for a Democratic party endorsement last month.
Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) casts his vote for a Democratic party endorsement last month. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

The chairman of the California Democratic Party has asked the secretary of state to reject Tony Mendoza’s ballot designation as “state senator,” saying it is misleading because Mendoza resigned from the Senate last month under threat of expulsion over sexual harassment allegations.

Party Chairman Eric Bauman said in a letter released Thursday that “law and common decency dictate” that Mendoza, a Democrat from Artesia, should be required to describe himself another way on the ballot.

Mendoza is running to reclaim the 32nd Senate District seat in a special election June 5  for the last six months of the current term, and for a new four-year term.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Three congressional Democrats who represent Orange County are endorsing Harley Rouda in the race against Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

Reps. Lou Correa, Alan Lowenthal and Linda Sanchez, who is also vice chair of the Democratic caucus, all announced their endorsement of Rouda on Thursday morning. 

In a statement, Sanchez said Rouda “represents the best choice to move California’s 48th Congressional District forward.”

A Los Angeles lawmaker says California needs new statewide laws that boost earthquake safety, and wants to toughen rules on how strong new buildings should be and require cities to identify buildings at risk of collapse.