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Newsletter: Essential Politics: Forget everything you thought you knew about the California primary

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(LAT)

I’m Christina Bellantoni, and this is Essential Politics.

California’s jungle primary is wacky enough without a contested presidential contest at the top of the ticket. With June 7 shaping up to be a pivotal day in the race, we started to wonder what it might mean for Republicans and Democrats to share a ballot with Donald Trump.

Phil Willon, Patrick McGreevy and I got to the bottom of it and identified eight “what ifs” for all the ways the Trump candidacy could scramble the primary — from congressional races to a tax issue in Glendale.

CALIFORNIA VOTERS ARE NOT FANS OF TRUMP’S WALL IDEA

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Ahead of the campaign here, we have the final release from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, which found California voters reject the sorts of measures Trump has proposed to deal with illegal immigration — even though he leads the GOP pack. The immigration poll figures revealed a sharp divide on the issue, and suggest how you feel might depend on how old you are.

Almost two-thirds of California voters believe that illegal immigration is a major problem in the state, but by even larger majorities they reject the idea of mass deportations and favor allowing those currently living in the country without authorization to stay and apply for citizenship.

Kate Linthicum put the numbers into context with a stark reminder that California’s Republicans are not like the rest of the nation’s: Just 36% of Republican voters likely to participate in the state’s primary in June said immigrants already here should be required to leave.

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ANOTHER ANTI-TRUMP MOVEMENT IS BORN

Three veteran California Republican operatives with ties to some of the state’s top donors are launching a super PAC aimed at stopping Trump from clinching the GOP nomination in the state’s June 7 primary.

“It’s our state, and if we’re the last line of defense, we’re going to do our part to stop him,” Rob Stutzman, who previously worked for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, told Seema Mehta.

WHO IS THE BETTER NEW YORKER?

Evan Halper finds that Brooklyn native Bernie Sanders may sound like more of a New Yorker, and even look like more of a New Yorker, but he still faces a steep challenge in overcoming Hillary Clinton’s deep roots with Democrats in this crucial state that votes April 19.

POKING WALKER

Michael Finnegan looks at Trump’s merciless portrayal of how poorly Wisconsin has fared under Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who backs Sen. Ted Cruz. Par for the course with Trump, until you consider the remarks came just as Marquette Law School was releasing a poll that found 80% of likely voters in Wisconsin’s Republican presidential primary on Tuesday approve of Walker’s job performance.

We’ll be documenting all the latest campaign shenanigans on Trail Guide and via @latimespolitics.

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ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE

A measure raising California’s minimum wage to $15 per hour looks headed for speedy approval today in the state Legislature. It sailed out of an Assembly committee Wednesday with the blessing of all but one of the panel’s Democrats. The state senator who authored the bill told Liam Dillon that Gov. Jerry Brown could get the approved bill as early as this afternoon.

We covered the hearing live on Wednesday, and we’ll continue tracking the debate today on our Essential Politics news feed.

COASTAL COMMISSION FRACAS PROMPTS LEGISLATION

Widespread complaints that state commissions operate in the dark and are cozy with businesses had California lawmakers wrestling with a flurry of bills aimed at shedding light on the panels to regain public trust, Patrick McGreevy reports.

BILL CLINTON COMING TO LOS ANGELES

Former President Bill Clinton will campaign for his wife Sunday at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, a spot he’s visited before. Hillary Clinton held an event there last summer, hearing from local workers about their calls to raise the minimum wage to $15.

DNC SINGS THE TUNE OF INTRA-PARTY “KUMBAYA”

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Democratic National Committee Chief Executive Amy Dacey came through Los Angeles this week to attend a fundraiser with Asian American supporters and express her faith that that the party would not face a contested convention later this summer. “I’m fully confident that people are going to come together,” she told Javier Panzar of the factions behind Clinton and Sanders.

Dacey also defended a fundraiser Clinton is hosting with George Clooney later this month that costs $353,400 per person to attend. Sanders has called the pricey fundraiser “obscene.” The DNC will get some of those funds, and Dacey offered a reality check: “We are playing the election season on the field that we are on. And I think the bottom line is we are going to get all the resources that we need to do that.”

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

— George Skelton: Smoking pot might mean you’re a loser.

— Cruz went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Yes, he read mean tweets.

— The chief executive of the Los Angeles County Fair Assn., who made more than $1 million in total compensation in 2014 even as the organization reported millions of dollars in losses, resigned Wednesday. James Henwood Jr.’s departure comes in the wake of an investigation by The Times that found that he and other association executives received lucrative pay and benefit packages despite several years of red ink.

— After a failed attempt earlier this year to force drug companies to make information about their costs and profits public, the Legislature is trying again through a new bill from state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa).

— The Festival of Books is coming up. Here are details on the program, which will include panels featuring Team Politics.

LOGISTICS

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Please send thoughts, concerns and news tips to politics@latimes.com.


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