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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Costa Mesa Republican.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Costa Mesa Republican. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

With the announcements of two congressional retirements in less than a week, many California politicos are wondering who could be next as the GOP delegation faces an increasingly hostile outlook for the mid-term elections.

In a statement Wednesday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) said it loud and clear: It won’t be him.

“I am unequivocally running for re-election and confident that my views reflect the values and the needs of my constituents here in Orange County,” Rohrabacher said in a statement posted to his website and on social media. “I’ve never run away from a fight over things I believe and I’m not about to start now.”

Gov. Jerry Brown, shown at a 2017 rally for raising gas taxes, on Wednesday proposed $4.6 billion for road repairs and other projects.
Gov. Jerry Brown, shown at a 2017 rally for raising gas taxes, on Wednesday proposed $4.6 billion for road repairs and other projects. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Wednesday to spend $4.6 billion from new gas taxes and vehicle fees on repairing California’s roads and bridges and improving rail systems in the next year, and downplayed the threat that voters might repeal the levies in November.

Brown’s transportation budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 depends heavily on funds generated by the new taxes, which are the focus of an initiative drive by Republicans who want to repeal the new charges.

“It hasn’t qualified yet,” Brown said when asked by a reporter about the initiative. “Secondly, there will be a very strong opposition to it.”

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
(Getty Images)

A federal grand jury is slated to hear evidence this month regarding campaign finance transactions by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), who has been under scrutiny since the spring of 2016 over questionable personal expenditures.

A subpoena dated Dec. 21 was issued by the U.S. District Court in San Diego to a business in Hunter’s district. Federal Election Commission records show Hunter’s campaign spent thousands of dollars at the business in 2012 and 2014. The subpoena ordered the witness to appear before a grand jury in San Diego later this month.

Hunter has denied intentional wrongdoing but has reimbursed his campaign for more than $60,000 of purchases including video games, oral surgery, groceries, garage door repair, family vacations, surfing equipment, dance recital trips, school lunches, school tuition and school uniforms.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) says he’s joining the fray in the 49th Congressional District hours after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) announced he won’t seek reelection there.

Chavez is the first Republican to jump into a race that has already attracted several well-funded Democrats. He has the advantage of representing nearly two-thirds of Issa’s constituents in the California Legislature.

“It’s time we come together and focus on progress, not partisan politics and gridlock,” Chavez said in a statement Wednesday. “This has guided my work in the state Assembly and it will guide my work in Congress.”

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) got progressive praise Tuesday for abruptly releasing testimony from the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the research firm behind a notorious dossier of allegations about President Trump’s ties to officials in Russia.

On Wednesday, she told reporters that she had apologized for not giving Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) a heads-up about it first. Republicans had previously said the testimony to the committee would not be released. 

A spokesman for Grassley called Feinstein’s release of the testimony “totally confounding.” Feinstein said in a statement Tuesday that she released the testimony to counteract “innuendo and misinformation” about the co-founder’s testimony.

  • California budget
Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2018-19 budget on Jan. 10.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2018-19 budget on Jan. 10. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Seeking to capitalize on another year of unexpectedly strong tax revenue collections, Gov. Jerry Brown asked state lawmakers Wednesday to fully fund California’s rainy-day cash reserve fund to $13.5 billion by next summer, the largest cash reserve in state history.

Brown said the decision will help the state ready itself for the next recession, which he believes is already overdue.

“The only way you can prepare is to watch your spending every year and build up the rainy-day fund,” he said at a news conference in Sacramento to unveil his proposed $190.3-billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July.

Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown (Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown estimated Wednesday that the state will receive $643 million from excise taxes on marijuana during the first full year of legalization in California, much more than the cost to the state of issuing licenses and enforcing new rules.

Brown’s estimates are contained in the budget he proposed for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and fall short of some past state projections that legalized cannabis could eventually bring $1 billion annually to the state’s coffers. This year, with only six months of taxing, the budget estimates $175 million in pot taxes.

“The amount and timing of revenues generated from the new taxes are uncertain and will depend on various factors including local regulations, and cannabis price and consumption changes in a legal environment,” Brown’s budget says.

  • California budget
  • California Democrats
  • 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.