Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for November 9, 2017


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  • CD25 (Santa Clarita/Antelope): changed from Toss-up to Leans Democrat
  • CD26 (Ventura): changed from Leans Democrat to Likely Democrat
  • CA39 (Fullerton): changed from Likely Republican to Leans Republican
  • CA45 (Irvine): changed from Leans Republican to Toss-up
  • CA48 (Huntington Beach): changed from Toss-up to Leans Democrat
  • AD33 (SB High Desert): added HOA president Socorro Cisneros (D) 
  • AD65 (Fullerton): changed from Toss-up to Likely Democrat
  • AD66 (Torrance): changed from Leans Democrat to Likely Democrat


Good morning, Noonerific people! Well, we had a nice rain overnight here at the Nooner Global Headquarters. However, I'm sorry, ski bunnies, the snow level remained high overnight, although Boreal was scheduled to open yesterday.

Let me start off by apologizing for using term "transgendered" yesterday. The correct term is either trans or transgender. The problem of writing too fast on the morning after an election...

DISTRICT RATINGS CHANGES: As you see above, I have changed several congressional districts, and they all move toward the Democrats. Sure, it's partially a response to the Virginia results, which saw suburban voters move sharply left. But, there are other reasons, and these races have been under the microscope all cycle. Here's what I evaluated before making the change:

  • each was won by Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump
  • each has significant suburban voters
  • while incumbents clearly have a financial advantage, Democrats showed fundraising ability at the reports that closed September 30
  • other factors, including candidate factors (i.e. Russia investigation, tax bill) 

Of course, as always, ratings are fluid throughout the cycle. We'll see how the year-end fundraising reports look and how things play out in Washington. Changes are likely also coming in some Senate and Assembly races, reflecting the down-ballot results we saw in Virginia on Tuesday.

More could change, as the DCCC (congressional races) and DLCC (state legislative campaigns) are using the momentum perceived this week to put a hard sell on possible candidates in districts in which national backing can be added.

The DLCC won't be playing in California, as while supermajority is sexy for Democrats here, the DLCC is focused on flipping state houses or holding close ones (i.e. Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Washington). This is particularly true in the states' upper houses, which generally have four-year terms, so flipping or maintaining control generally impacts 2021 redistricting.

The DCCC, however, sees that the biggest pot of gold in California in the quest to gain 24 seats to take back the House. Few knowledgable people believed it a possibility before this week, but now there is a new energy with donors and possible additional candidates. If that lasts beyond this week, it could be significant. Or, it could fall behind other political news. The next big political event is the special election for the Alabama U.S. Senate seat, which is December 12.

More House retirements are still possible. Just this morning, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announced his retirement. His Smoky Mountains district is not affected by the electorate changes we saw in Virginia on Tuesday. However, when a powerful committee chairman retires, it often means they fear losing control of the House and thus the powerful role. This is more true in the House than Senate, where being in the minority is generally miserable for members and staff alike.

Of the vulnerable Republicans in California, only Ed Royce has a prestigious chairmanship (House Foreign Affairs) after Issa lost his House Oversight chairmanship in 2015, although some have subcommittee chairmanships. Still, a graceful exit versus possible loss or becoming the minority may encourage some conversations with lobbying/consulting firms over the holidays. The most rumored has been Dana Rohrabacher, behind which there is a pretty strong bench of state and local officials.

The second most likely retirement would be Royce. There are several strong challengers, raking in endorsements and cash. One notable one this week is physician Mai Khanh Tran. As of September 30, she had $483,691, which includes a loan of $200,000 from herself (which does not have to be repaid). She can be emboldened by the election of fellow Vietnamese refugee Kathy Tran as the first Asian-American to the Virginia House of Delegates. Mai Khanh could likely tap into the same increasingly politically active and more moderate/Democratic community that allowed Kathy to flip a seat from red to blue.

Liberal Vietnamese-Americans nationally have been looking for someone to establish a more positive legacy than the only Southeast Asian to serve in Congress--Republican Joseph Cao who defeated William Jefferson, in a solidly Democratic Louisiana district, who was indicted for bribery and kept the cash in his freezer. Cao served one term. 

Of course, Mai Khanh would have to emerge in the top-two primary and Royce or another Republican, most notably against Andy Thorburn who has lent $2 million to his campaign and Gil Cisneros who has lent himself $550,000. As a pediatrician and only physician in the race, if health care is a big issue next year (as it likely will be), she is likely to use the issue to offset money and as the only woman in a field of nine candidates will likely be a darling of EMILY's list, which is already featuring her on its home page.

Darrell Issa, at 64, also might be tempted to hang it up, particularly after losing his visible chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee. As the richest member of Congress with a net worth of at least $250 millon. Senator Pat Bates is in the district, although she'd have to give up her State Senate seat, which is also up next year. Also in the district is Assemblymember Rocky Chavez, seen as a moderate member of the GOP who could perform better in a tough cycle, although he also would have to give up his seat to make a run.



POLL POSITION: We have a new poll from LA Times/USC Dornsife, report Seema Mehta and Phil Willon in the Times.


  • Newsom (D): 31% 
  • Villaraigosa (D): 21
  • Allen (R): 15
  • Chiang (D): 12
  • Cox (R): 11
  • Eastin (D): 4
  • Other: 6


  • Feinstein: 58%
  • de León: 31
  • Other: 10

[n=1,296, 10/27-11/6, online, MOE +/- 4%]

TAXING PROBLEMS: The LAT's Liam Dillon reports that Treasurer John Chiang is warning that the House GOP's proposed tax plan hurts affordable housing in GOP districts:

“As the list of projects shows, this is not an abstract issue, or one that impacts only one region or a small number of Californians,” Chiang wrote in a Thursday letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). “It is broad-based and affects constituents like yours and those in congressional districts across the state. We all have seen the tangible benefits of these vital programs; now we must come together to save them.”

DACA: Congressman Darrell Issa  joined fellow California Republican Jeff Denham in calling for a quick fix to the threatened end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan, reports Sarah D. Wire in the Times.

CLIMATE: Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa jumps into this week's climate change discussion, arguing that not enough attention is being paid to the impact it's having on low-income Californians, writes the LAT's Jaclyn Cosgrove.





Probolsky Research


DOES IT TRANSLATE? The LADN's Kevin Modesti looks at what Democrats' wins in New Jersey mean for Southern Californai congressional races.

Should Democrats be thrilled — and Republicans worried — after the opposition party scored its first big victories of the Trump era, including wins for governor by Ralph Northam in Virginia and Phil Murphy in New Jersey?

Experts said yes, maybe.

THE OASIS: Palm Springs now has an all-LGBT city council, report Jesse Marx and Barrett Newkirk for the Desert Sun.

SAD BUT TRUE: Tourists came to San Diego for Metallica, left with hepatitis A [Lauren Schroeder at SDUT]




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Candidate For Governor Travis Allen Donated To Democrats
Before he was elected in 2012, Assemblyman Travis Allen made campaign donations to the Democrats he now denounces -- including Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Democratic Party.

Southern California Air Quality Board Is Sued Over Adoption Of Industry-friendly Smog Rules
Tony Barboza @
Community groups and environmentalists filed suit Wednesday over Southern California air quality regulators' adoption of oil industry-backed smog regulations, saying the measures are so weak they violate state law and will hurt public health. The lawsuit seeks to negate the South Coast Air Quality...

Bannon: Mitch Mcconnell Should Resign - Politico

The former White House chief strategist blamed McConnell for allowing legislation passed by the House to pile up on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, sparing vulnerable Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 from having to take difficult votes on GOP-backed bills.

'when Will This End?' When Congress Has The Courage To Stand Up To The Gun Lobby
George Skelton @
Essential Politics

Jerry Brown's Climate Pact Takes On Trump | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Executives Who Resigned From UC Were Involved In Audit Interference - San Francisco Chronicle
One of the two executives who resigned this week from the University of California president’s office wrote emails directing campuses to reveal and sometimes alter their answers in a confidential state auditor’s survey, which tainted the review and prompted the state to demand an investigation. The other was his boss, who was copied on many of the emails.

Air Board Broke Law In Adopting Last-minute, Industry-friendly Smog Measure, Judge Rules
Tony Barboza @
Environmental groups sued after the South Coast Air Quality Management District board in December 2015 rejected a staff proposal to cut 14 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxide pollution from oil refineries and other big facilities and instead adopted an alternative Western States Petroleum Assn. plan to cut 12 tons per day, and more slowly.

Nonwhite voters proved key Va. governor's race

The Washington Post national political correspondent James Hohmann explains how important nonwhite voters were in the outcome of the 2017 Virginia governor's election.

More California Democrats Say They Won't Vote To Keep Government Open Without Fix For Daca
Sarah D. Wire @
Half a dozen California Democrats joined House colleagues Wednesday to say they won't back a bill that allows the federal government to...

Jerry Brown Blasts Climate Change Denialists | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Senate Tax Bill Expected To Delay Corporate Rate Cut Until 2019 - Politico

The Senate is trying to limit the revenue impact to allow a bill to pass with just 51 votes and avoid a possible Democratic filibuster. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

County Of San Diego Beach Water Quality

Senate Republicans gear up for 'moving and shaking mode' with tax bill

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said on Nov. 9 that the tax process is "very complicated," with senators, House members and President Trump all wanting different priorities included.

Democratic Wins Tuesday A Reason For California Republicans To Be Nervous - San Francisco Chronicle
There were no partisan elections in California Tuesday, but the state’s Democrats won big.

Poll: Support For GOP Tax Plan Ticks Down But Remains Positive - Politico

That's according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that also shows the proposed benefits to all Americans and small businesses are more popular than those for large corporations and the wealthy.

End May Be Nearing For Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant - San Francisco Chronicle
California’s last nuclear power plant — Diablo Canyon — may be one step closer to closing, despite a vocal campaign to save it.

To What Extent Can Gov. Brown Pursue Foreign Policy? -
Ben Bradford @
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

How California Ranks In The Nation's Opioid Epidemic - The San Diego Union-tribune
Kristina Davis @

The Democratic Party owes black female voters a big 'thank you'

Black women continued to support Democratic candidates at high rates in Tuesday's election, despite their frustrations that the party is focusing on white working class voters.