Essential Politics: Trump ramps up California effort


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

Donald Trump may have scrapped his event in Rancho Palos Verdes last week, and he’s the only GOP candidate who hasn’t accepted an invitation to speak at the state party convention at the end of the month, but he’s starting to build a campaign.

Trump has hired Tim Clark as California state director to lead his effort here. Voters might remember him from his two decades in state politics. Clark ran Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s unsuccessful race for state controller in 2014. He also has worked for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman.

Clark told Seema Mehta that Trump’s focus on the economy, national security and reining in the federal government would appeal to Republican voters here.


“We’re seeing something we haven’t seen in a long time — that is excitement among the Republican base. There are people talking about voting who haven’t voted in a decade or more,” said Clark, 49.

Team Trump promised the front-runner would visit the Golden State several times ahead of our June 7 primary.

“It’s our intention to deliver 172 delegates for Trump to the national convention,” he said.


Of course, Trump would need to win each of California’s 53 congressional districts, the statewide vote and the backing of state party officials to achieve such a clean sweep.

You can always track the delegate race in real time.


Maybe I’m not cut out to be a tabloid headline writer. But what a time to work in New York media.

The stars of the first competitive presidential primary in New York in decades are not the candidates, but the tabloids that have pounded on them and set the tone of the campaign, Evan Halper reports.

And candidates who ignore the rules of the tabloid game are doing it at their peril, if they can figure them out at all.

Also reporting from the Empire State, Cathleen Decker examines how there is more than delegates on the line for three of the five candidates who can claim New York heritage: bragging rights.



Mehta also reports that Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign is inquiring about buying television airtime for ads in the Los Angeles market.

The news comes after the Texas senator’s Southern California campaign swing, and an interview with The Times in which he dismissed the scenario of a surprise candidate emerging at a brokered convention.


Also, as California Gov. Jerry Brown ponders whom he will endorse in the Democratic primary, Mehta looked back at the long, fraught history between Brown and the Clintons.

You know who else has a long history? The Clintons and Trump.

You might be surprised what the latest release from Bill Clinton’s presidential archives revealed, from “The Art of the Deal” to the billionaire’s presidential aspirations — in 1999.

As always, find the latest news about the campaign on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics.



Three accusers of Bill Cosby who were unable to press charges against the comedian because their alleged sexual assaults occurred too long ago told a Senate committee Tuesday that the Legislature should allow rapes to be prosecuted no matter when they happened.

Their testimony, among others, bolstered support for a bill from state Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) to eliminate California’s current 10-year statute of limitations on most rape cases. Liam Dillon reports on the measure’s next steps.

Keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed as we track this measure and others in Sacramento.


— A sweeping bill to open up some police misconduct records to public disclosure advanced out of a California Senate committee on Tuesday. Expect more changes aimed at smoothing law enforcement opposition as it moves forward.

— A statewide soda tax proposed by state Sen. Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) was pulled from the docket before a committee vote Tuesday after failing to garner enough support — even among Democratic lawmakers. The bill is likely done for the year.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich suggested Trump and Cruz are on a path of darkness.

— Don Lee sees a clash between Trump and a Las Vegas union as a standoff that highlights not only the Republican front-runner’s unpredictability, but also how he might balance the demands of being both businessman and politician.

— The Times has assembled a new list of Hollywood celebrities who have waded into the presidential race. Check out our celebrity endorsement tracker.

Rep. Duncan Hunter paid his campaign back for mistaken expenses for his children’s school and oral surgery, among other charges.

Secretary of State John Kerry lauded the Pacific trade deal as vital to Silicon Valley and Hollywood at a stop in California on Tuesday.

Sen. Charles Grassley made clear in his meeting with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland that there will be no Senate vote this year.

— ICYMI, Speaker Paul Ryan really doesn’t want to be president.

— U2 frontman Bono testified in Washington Tuesday that comedy should be used to help defang extremists sowing chaos in the Middle East and driving millions of families from their homes.

Sen. Barbara Boxer got some help from famed pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger Tuesday in urging her colleagues to set the same rest standards for pilots of both cargo and passenger planes. The Federal Aviation Administration has different rules for how long a pilot can fly based on whether the plane is carrying passengers or just cargo, and Boxer wants them streamlined before she leaves Washington in January.

— What do you think of Trump? Readers can weigh in with our quick survey.


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