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Happy Wednesday! Total firehose day on political news/data. 

It's going to be much cooler in Sacramento today, with a forecasted high of 77. Yesterday, I totally didn't know that the President of ABC Entertainment that canned Roseanne is an African-American woman who grew up in Sacramento. 

Regardless of whether you think it was a disproportionate reaction compared to other similar issues lately, ABC has to be concerned about Monday Night Football (shown on ESPN, owned by Disney/ABC) this year with the controversy over the "kneeling policy." That's a hugely valuable property and Roseanne and NFL would be a 1-2 punch for an already struggling ESPN. 

From PDI (as reported by counties at the end of the day yesterday--district results with demographics here):

BALLOTS MAILED: 11,547,095

Statewide: Dems: 622,438  / Reps: 475,595  / NPP: 245,892 / Others: 60,897

Ethnic (percentages are share of ballots mailed out and those received by county election offices. Of course, no ballots are counted until 8pm Tuesday night.):

  • African-American: Mailed: 3%, Returned: 2%
  • Asian: Mailed: 12%, Returned :11%
  • Latino: Mailed: 23%, Returned: 12%
  • White/Other: Mailed: 62%, Returned: 73%

The numbers are also likely a bit distorted by the Voters' Choice Act. Under the Act, five counties are mailing vote-by-mail ballots to every voter, rather than to those who requested them, either per election or permanently, in the past. The counties are Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo. Voters can return ballots by mail, or drop them off at voting centers or in drop-box locations. They can also vote in-person at voting centers.

The one thing is that the counties are likely underrepresenting African-American voters and perhaps Latino voters. All that means is that you can't draw on election night results by ethnicity. We just have so many more metrics to follow, which makes predictions that much more difficult. 

VOTER REGISTRATION: The Secretary of State's official 15-day pre-election voter registration report isn't out yet (perhaps today), but Political Data Inc. released its data yesterday. Like the Secretary of State, PDI gets its data directly from the 58 counties.

The news is bad for California Republicans, as it appears No Party Preference voters have exceeded the number of Republican voters for the first time.

  • Democratic: 8,436,493 (44.4%)
  • Republican: 4,771,984 (25.1%)
  • No Party Preference: 4,844,803 (25.5%)
  • Other Minor Party 954,526 (5.0%)

Now, of course, No Party Preference is relatively new. But, we can compare with teh same 15-day period in the June 2014 primary:

  • Democratic: 7,892,870 (43.41%)
  • Republican: 5,036,610 (28.42%)
  • No Party Preference: 3,749,215 (21.16%)
  • Other Minor Party: 1,243,511 (7.02%)

So, from June 2014 to June 2018, we have the following changes:

  • Democratic: +543,623
  • Republican: -284,626
  • No Party Preference: +1,095,588
  • Other Minor Party: -288,895

While minor party and Republicans are shifting to No Party Preference, Democrats continue to grow, mid-term to mid-term. Democrats have lost 283,924 since November 2016 presidential general and Republicans have lost 276,414 as part of the normal shrinking of the roles between the presidential and the mid-terms, so it's not all bad news for Republicans.

I wouldn't read this as bad news necessarily in down-ballot, but the GOP does have a real brand problem statewide in California, but that's not news. There is strong evidence that NPP voters align within each district roughly in the percentage of the underlying Dem/Rep registration. There are still plenty of solidly Republican districts in the state and, while we have some interesting congressional races this year, we're talking 5-7 out of 53 seats. 

POLL POSITION: LAT/USC Dornsife poll (candidates above 1%):


  • Travis Allen (R): 5%
  • John Chiang (D): 6%
  • John Cox (R): 10%
  • Delaine Eastin (D): 3%
  • Gavin Newsom (D): 21%
  • Antonio Villaraigosa (D): 11%
  • Undecided: 39%

U.S. Senate:

  • James P. Bradley (R): 3%
  • Kevin de León (D): 7%
  • Dianne Feinstein (D): 31%
  • Patrick Little (D): 2%
  • Undecided: 40%

Gas tax for road repairs repeal:

  • Keep the law: 38%
  • Repeal the law: 52%
  • Haven't heard enough to say: 9%
  • I wouldn't vote: 1%

Support federal tax bill?

  • Strongly/somewhat support: 26% [12%/14%]
  • Strongly/somewhat oppose: 52% [42%/10%]

If local member of Congress voted for tax bill?:

  • Strongly/somewhat more likely to support: 20% [8%/12%]
  • Strongly/somewhat less likely to support: 56% [40%/16%]

Voters' Choice Act (mail-in-ballots+vote centers):

  • Strongly/somewhat support: 56% [30%/26%]
  • Strongly/somewhat oppose: 23% [12%/12%]

[n=517 likely voters; April 18-May 18; online; English/Spanish; MOE +/- 4% - Crosstabs]

GOV: Homebuilder/philanthropist Eli Broad added another $1,025,000 to the independent committee supporting Antonio Villaraigosa for governor, and San Francisco investor William Obendorf another $1,500,000. That gets Broad to $3,025,000 and Oberdorf to $3,500,000.

GOV: Yesterday, on his bus tour talking to journalists, Gavin Newsom argued that his strategy of trying to get Republican John Cox on the November ballot will not hurt Democrats' House chances in November, reports Ben Christopher for CALmatters. For CapPubRad, Ben Adler reports on the final stretch for the gubernatorial candidates.

AG: For the LAT, Patrick McGreevy reports that Republican attorney general candidate Eric Early filed a lawsuit alleging that Democratic candidate Acting Attorney General Xavier Becerra is ineligible for the office because he was on inactive status with the State Bar while in Congress, before being appointed AG in 2016 to succeed now-Senator Kamala Harris. Gov't Code §15103 requires an officeholder of the office of attorney general unless that person has been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California for the five years immediately prior to holding office. 

The same effort was tried against Jerry Brown when he ran for attorney general, but the efforts were rebuffed by the courts.

THE CHASE: In Capitol Weekly, PDI's Paul Mitchell writes that with so many people casting vote-by-mail ballots and 1.4 million already returned to county registrars, it provides a challenge for candidates to trying to persuade undecided voters. This would include voters like me who have filled out my ballot. I can drop it off at The California Museum at the Secretary of State's Office, which is nine blocks away. It's just been quite hot the last couple of days. But, the next couple of days will be perfect for the stroll with my ballot. 

The point is that far more than the 1.4 million ballots returned through yesterday have likely already been completed, but over $10 million will likely be spent on the airwaves in the next six days to persuade a relatively small share of the electorate.

$$$: One problem with the Voters' Choice Act is campaign mail inefficiencies. Historically, it has been carefully targeted using three (sometimes overlapping) universes--regular voters, newly registereds, and vote-by-mail voters. Now, with all voters receiving a vote-by-mail ballot in some counties (and in theory, all counties eventually), a lot more mail will be sent out and, without smart use of data, there will be lots of waste. 

I'm writing this as the last insert in today's Nooner because I just went out to my mailbox and went straight to my recycle bin. I remember the old days in Orange County with Paul Mitchell when we would go through the trash next to the PO boxes in targeted races we were helping out in, a strategy that I'm sure still being assigned to volunteers/interns. 

I bet that here in Sacramento County--a Voters' Choice Act county--those trash/recycle bins are even fuller now. 

Divorce sucked, but so did having my voter history wiped out since I moved across county lines (no, they are nothing near the same). But, it looks like I'm a 45-year-old who has voted twice--both in 2016. I've never missed an election.

In some cases, campaign consultants get compensated at least partially on the spending on media, including mail. So, they may not be motivated to narrow the universe of likely voters to mail to. I'm not blaming them, but I'm pointing out that, while we have more data now, things are not necessarily easier.

I plug PDI a lot. I've used PDI for twenty-two years since I was running voter operations in the Davis Democratic Headquarters while at UC Davis, when I think Paul Mitchell still was at American University in DC. I was the only person that knew how to work with the data. This was before online databases and I was literally getting a CD and import it into Microsoft Access. But, that was my introduction to voter targeting and I would build call lists for volunteers. 

Anyway, whatever your vendor, there's an amazing amount of data available now, but you have to know how to use it if you're a consultant or a campaign operative, as it's going to get more important every year. 

THE DEMS: The DCCC is touting is siding this morning with two Democratic congressional candidates in congressional races with multiple primaries in California as they try to ensure a Democrat advances to November. Specifically, they cite Gil Cisneros in CA39 (Open/Royce) and Harley Rouda in CA48 (Rohrabacher-Huntington Beach). The unusual primary plays in contested Democratic primaries have divided local activists, who are unaccustomed to local plays. Of course, this is all because of top two and an unusual number of well-heeled Democratic candidates. 

The committee touts field organizers in four other districts (CA10-Denham, CA25-Knight, CA45-Walters, CA49-Open/Issa) where it hasn't endorsed a candidate and pledge support for TJ Cox in CA21 (Kings).


Classifieds below:

  • Education: Pepperdine Masters of Public Policy (GRE waived for legislative staffers)
  • Education: UOP/McGeorge School of Law: MPP/MPA (full-time or part-time, 3 miles from the Capitol)
  • Education: Capitol Seminars - learn how to lobby effectively
  • Job: Attorney General's Office is seeking a subject matter expert (advocate)
  • Job: Cargill Director of Governmental Relations (Newark-Bay Area)
  • Job: Local Health Plans of California seeks a Program Manager
  • Job: Randle Communications 
  • Job: The California Dental Association seeks full-time Associate Legislative Advocate
  • Job: Probolsky Research - Research Analyst - Public Opinion (Orange County)
  • Job: SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles)
  • Job: SEIU-UHW -- Political Capacity Organizer (Oakland or Sacramento)
  • Job: CA School Boards Association – Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representatives (Bay Area, LA North East, Orange, San Bernardino, San Joaquin North)
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels   


QUALIFIED: The ballot measure to allow state regulation of kidney dialysis clinics has qualified for the November ballot. The initiative is sponsored by SEIU-UHW, a health care labor union and is strongly opposed by the handful of large-scale dialysis clinic providers. Staffing standards is a big issue, including nurse/tech-patient ratios. Since I've accepted advertising from SEIU-UHW, I don't want to pretend that I know too much about it and, while I've followed it in the Legislature from the sidelines and have a small background in health care, I need to spend more time with it. 

BUDGET: The Conference Committee on the State Budget will hold its first meeting today at 1:30pm in Room 4202. As usual with the first hearing, the Legislative Analyst's Office will give an overview of the differences between the plans by the Senate and Assembly from the governor's May Revision budget proposal. The LAO report is included in the agenda

Both houses assumed higher revenues above the governor's plan--Senate at +$2.2 billion and Assembly at +$2.9 billion, but both would set aside (largely mandatory) modestly higher reserves than the May Revision. All three plans have total reserves over $17 billion to insulate the state government from the next recession.

Of the higher revenue projections, the Senate and Assembly use between 1/3-1/2 for one-time purposes, but the proposals significantly increase out-year ongoing costs.

SLATES: The Bee's Taryn Luna looks at the world of slate cards that are landing in your mailbox right now. Yesterday, some of us were having fun with the "Latino Family Voter Guide" which have paid spots for almost all non-Latino candidates, and against the two major contested statewide Latino candidates--John Chiang (bought by an IE) instead of Antonio Villaraigosa and Dave Jones over Xavier Becerra. Let's just be candid, this is pay-to-play. Totally legal, but totally deceptive. Slates have always been deceptive, but the continuing increase in independent expenditures make it even more so. 

DART! People ask me frequently what the frequent donor "DART Container Corporation" is. They make the famous red plastic beer pong cups, and most of the styrofoam containers used for take-out. Both are under attack by environmentalists. They have plants in Chino, Corona, and Lodi. 



Probolsky Research


HIGH-SPEED RAIL: In the Times, Jon Healey writes that voters in California favor high-speed rail, as long as they don't have to pay for it, according to the new LAT/USC Dornsife Poll (discussed on other issues above).



#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Pablo Benavente, Bridget Kolakosky, and Shawnda Westly!



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  • Former Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Yvonne Burke discuss the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in this exclusive interview:
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  • The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, in Sacramento offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees to both full-time students and those earning a professional degree while working. Our focus on the interconnections of law, policy, management, and leadership provides unique competencies for your success. Students gain a deep understanding of statutory interpretation and regulatory processes critical to modern governance. Learn more at or contact us at
  • Cal State Student Association seeks Legislative Policy Analyst
    The position is responsible for researching and analyzing legislative policy issues. Additionally, the position will be responsible for externally representing the organization in legislative meetings and committees. Lastly, the position will be responsible for advising our board of directors and legislative affairs committee. For more information and to apply, visit
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    California YIMBY is looking for an innovative, resourceful, inspired individual to serve as the Finance & Operations Manager to manage day-to-day finances and operations, act as internal authority on grant requirements, and create and track annual budget. Reports directly to the CEO. $65,000-$85,000/year DOE + benefits. for details.

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    California YIMBY is seeking an innovative, resourceful, inspired individual to serve as the Digital Director to create digital program to tell story of CA's housing crisis. Reports directly to the Chief Advocacy Officer. $75,000-$90,000/year DOE + benefits. for details.

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    California YIMBY is seeking a motivated, tenacious, creative individual to serve as the Organizing Director to conceive large scale organizing strategy and develop, write and implement a comprehensive strategic organizing plan. Reports directly to the Chief Advocacy Officer. $75,000-$90,000/year DOE + benefits. for details.

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  • SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles)
    This position is responsible for a broad range of program objectives to build and strengthen our infrastructure and engage our members to be a powerful force at their worksites, in the legislative process, in the community and at the ballot box. Proven track record is a must. Competitive salary and excellent benefits. For more information on the position and to apply please visit our candidate portal at
  • SEIU-UHW – Political Capacity Organizer (Oakland or Sacramento)
    This position is responsible for working in close collaboration with multiple levels of staff and members to develop goals and execute plans for members participation in all areas of the political program and hard dollar fundraising.  Also provides staff support to our Political Action Advisory Committee, in collaboration with representational staff.  Candidate will train and mentor COPE chairs and member activists to help them achieve political goals.  Proven fundraising track record is a must.  Competitive salary and excellent benefits.  For more information on the position and to apply please visit our candidate portal at

Add your classified for $40/week.

Judge Readies For Update On Trump Personal Lawyer Probe | The Sacramento Bee
A court-appointed official gave a New York judge in advance of a hearing Wednesday an upbeat report on how fast attorney-client privilege designations are being applied to materials seized from President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

Trump: ‘i Wish’ I Had Not Picked Sessions For Attorney General - Politico

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he wished he had not picked Jeff Sessions for attorney general in the first place. | Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

New Ca SEIU 1000 Leaders Want Return To 'core Functionality' | The Sacramento Bee
Adam Ashton @
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Eu Trade Chief: U.S. Likely To Impose Trade Penalties Friday - Politico

Earlier Wednesday, Ross told a panel at an intergovernmental meeting that the European Union should still negotiate a trade deal with the U.S. even if President Donald Trump imposes tariffs or quotas.

Trump's New Insurance Rules Are Panned By Nearly Every Healthcare Group That Submitted Formal Comments
Noam N. Levey @
The extraordinary one-sided outpouring came from more than 300 patient and consumer advocates, physician and nurse organizations and trade groups representing hospitals, clinics and health insurers across the country, the review found.

Michael Cohen's Lawyers Accuse Avenatti Of 'reckless And Improper' Behavior - Politico

Attorneys for President Donald Trump's associate Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels sniped at each other in court Wednesday, accusing each other of leaking to the press and otherwise behaving badly.

Republicans Target Trump Voters In California Push | The Sacramento Bee
Katie Glueck @
By Katie Glueck

Treasury Slaps New Sanctions On Groups Linked To Iran Regime - Politico

The Office of Foreign Assets Control, the section of the Treasury charged with enforcing sanctions, also announced financial penalties against a prison where the Iranian regime reportedly holds and tortures political opponents.