Essential Politics: Alaskan endorses New York values in Iowa

Essential Politics: Alaskan endorses New York values in Iowa

Good morning from the state capital. I’m Sacramento bureau chief John Myers, your Essential Politics guide this week while Christina Bellantoni is away.

More than five years ago, the political world buzzed over former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s trip to New York City, where she ate pizza with Donald Trump, a photo op that ended with more talk about forks than politics.

Fast forward to Tuesday, where the GOP presidential sweepstakes no longer includes Palin but instead seems squarely focused on Trump.

Or, as the headline puts it in geographic terms: the most famous Alaska politician of her era and the candidate defending his New York values come together in Iowa.

Cheering the “rock and rollers and Holy Rollers” and others assembled for Trump, Palin wholeheartedly threw her support behind the businessman-turned-front-runner. And you may never see a political figure better able than Trump to deliver a red-meat monologue than Palin.

On the outsider movement: “We’re not going to chill. It’s time to drill, baby, drill.”

On Trump’s campaign: “He’s going rogue left and right.”

Michael Finnegan and Seema Mehta have our detailed look at both the event and its potential to provide an 11th-hour boost to Trump in a close Iowa contest with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.


Meantime, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was also in the Hawkeye State on Tuesday doing what he’s done his entire political career: selling himself more than any particular ideology. And he’s confident, reports Chris Megerian.

The story includes a great quote from the campaign trail. "I'm like a fungus," Christie told a crowd in a Sioux City bar. "I grow on you."


Now that Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget is in their hands, legislators here in Sacramento are convening their first official hearings on the 2016-17 plan. On Tuesday, Democratic state senators raised a few questions about what’s not in the governor’s fiscal blueprint: more money for social safety programs.

And perhaps just as notably, the chairman of the state Senate’s budget committee suggested that there will be real debate about Brown’s call for stashing an extra $2 billion into rainy-day reserves.


The odds now look good that if an initiative to raise California’s minimum wage makes it to the November statewide ballot, it’ll have the blessing of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Melanie Mason reports that Newsom is backing rival minimum wage measures, as supporters of one of the proposals began submitting voter signatures on Tuesday to elections officials.

So why endorse two different measures? “The lieutenant governor supports raising the minimum wage — period," said Newsom’s spokesman.


One of 2015’s most closely watched debates at the state Capitol ended with the enactment of a law legalizing physician-assisted suicide — a law that's yet to take effect.

That's because the law, the first of its kind in state history, can’t take effect until 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature’s pending special session on healthcare.

Nonetheless, doctors are readying themselves for what comes next. Patrick McGreevy has an exclusive first look at the guidelines being issued to doctors about the assisted suicide law, guidelines that will also help doctors know their own rights when it comes to agreeing or refusing to participate.

Just last week, opponents officially came up short in an effort to overturn the new law via ballot referendum.


— The growing gap between eligible and voting Latinos may be the real takeaway from a study released on Tuesday. Kate Linthicum reports a Pew Research Center study finds growth in Latino voting power, but not equal to the potential based on population and demographics. And yes, part of the lack of national political power may be due to the dominance of Democrats in the states with the highest Latino populations.

— Christi Parsons and David Savage take a look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to weigh in on President Barack Obama’s sweeping immigration plan and the impact the court’s effort may have on the 2016 presidential race.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) will help Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack launch the “Great Green Fleet” today at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. Ships and aircraft in the fleet are powered by a blend of traditional fuel and biofuel.

— Phil Willon traveled up to the rural northern part of California where Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Duf Sundheim was campaigning over the holiday weekend. And, well, things were a little rough for the former state party chairman at an event with a local Tea Party chapter.


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