Around The Capitol

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  • BEFORE INDICTMENT: CA50 (East San Diego County): 
    • Projected vote: *Duncan Hunter (R): 56.9%, Ammar Campa Najjar (D): 43.1%
    • Probability to win: *Duncan Hunter (R): 29 in 30, Ammar Campa-Najjar (D): 1 in 30
    • My current rating: Leans Republican
  • AFTER INDICTMENT: CA50 (East San Diego County): 
    • Projected vote: *Duncan Hunter (R): 54.2%, Ammar Campa Najjar (D): 45.8%
    • Probability to win: *Duncan Hunter (R): 7 in 8, Ammar Campa-Najjar (D): 1 in 8
    • My current rating: Leans Republican

BALANCE OF POWER: Note that I don't list district-specific predictions below, but rather use probabilities in toss-ups to make projections. Individual race ratings are on the ATC district pages.

  • CA congressional delegation:
    • Current: 39 Democrats, 14 Republicans
    • My current projection for 116th Congress: 40 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 4 toss-ups (Toss-ups of Denham, Rohrabacher, CA39, and Walters; loss of CA49)
  • Senate:
    • Current: 26 Democrats, 14 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 27 Democrats, 13 Republicans 
  • Assembly:
    • Current: 55 Democrats, 25 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 56-58 Democrats, 24-22 Republicans



NET NEUTRALITY: After following a weird path through the legislative year, Senator Scott Wiener's net neutrality bill SB 822 passed out of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee yesterday on a 9-3 vote, reports Jazmine Ulloa at the Los Angeles Times. The bill treats internet service provides are blind wholesalers, forbidding them from limiting access or slowing access to sites sought by end users. Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while three Republicans opposed it and one (Maienschein) did not vote. 

Meanwhile, CapPubRad's Ben Bradford reports that Santa Clara County firefighters submitted a legal filing Monday alleging that Verizon throttled data access as they were responding to the Mendocino Complex fire. In yesterday's hearing, Verizon asserted that the slowdown had nothing to do with net neutrality, since it was the same slowdown that other Verizon users under the contract for "unlimited" service. The fire agency tried work with Verizon to explain that the data usage was because of the dispatch of firefighters to a declared emergency, and Verizon has responded that it was handled inappropriately because of a "customer service" problem.

A cell company with a "customer service" problem? Shocking, I tell you.

I'm sure that the issue will be fixed in the future, but it sure throttled the communication of Verizon's opposition to SB 822.


Why my unofficial rating on this district is WTF?!?:

Choose what "W" stands for, "what or who"...

Well, credit to Congressman Duncan Hunter, as he didn't hide from reporters yesterday. That said, he is full of crap. I believe that's a legal phrase. He also said that he was not resigning from his three congressional committees, which Speaker Paul Ryan said he would be removed from.

Duncan and Margaret Hunter each pleaded "not guilty" in a San Diego federal courtroom in the last half hour, which sets the stage for plea negotiations.

The SDUT's Andrew Dyer and Cristina Davis write "In a 15-minute back and forth with reporters, Hunter invoked a “deep state” conspiracy among “partisan Democrat prosecutors” as the reason why he and his wife, Margaret Hunter, were facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, falsification of records and aiding and abetting in the prohibited use of campaign contributions." 

The filing with the United States District Court for the Southern District of California is by U.S. Attorney Adam L. Braverman, who was appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He's a 43-year-old La Jolla Republican who graduated from George Washington University Law School in D.C.

Dyer and Davis continue "But Hunter, 41, told reporters in San Diego on Wednesday, “I’ve never used my campaign for personal expenditures — ever.”

He also said "There's nothing illegal about being poor" answering an on-camera question that is certain to be in the editing bay of campaign commercial producers already.

Hunter has a congressional salary of $174,000 plus his wife had a "campaign manager" salary of $36,000/year. Median household income of jury pool: San Diego-$62,962, Imperial-$41,807. They live with his parents. Hunter has slept in his office like his dad did and like his fellow 106th class freshman and now-Speaker Paul Ryan. House Majority Leader and Speaker aspirant Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) also sleeps in his office.

Apparently, he hasn't read the indictment. If he wants to prove the 200 incidents wrong, he has that constitutional right. However, if only a few are as alleged, he has enough guilt to go behind bars, with his wife likely to as well. Dyer and Davis: 

Reporters asked about items listed in the indictment going back to 2009, his first year in Congress.

“It’s the U.S. government trying to make you look bad,” he said. “They can make it look however they want to make it look, we all know this.”

Then Hunter said again, “I never used campaign funds for personal purchases — ever.”

The problem is that he admitted it previously and repaid on several occasions after the Union-Tribune and FEC started sniffing around. The biggest was $48,650.98 on November 4, 2016. On the filing, the payment was described as "REPAYMENT OF FUNDS AS DESCRIBED IN FORM." [2016 post-election report p. 18]
I can't find the description, but someone who "never used campaign funds for personal purchases — ever" doesn't just sell his house, move his family in with his parents, and write a check with that specific of an amount. That amount brought the cumulative repayments to $65,792.69 in the 2016 cycle.
However, even with those repayments, the DOJ alleges "The HUNTERS illegally converted and stole more than $250,000 in Campaign funds to purchase goods and services for their personal use and enjoyment." That was through 12/31/2016.
Undoubtedly, some of these are totally legitimate campaign expenditures or can be shoe-horned as such. A beer with a friend that talks strategy on how to vote can be arguably reasonably campaign related. (You can understand the easy slippery slope here.) Now, a $32.27 Uber ride at 7:40am on September 15, 2016  from Individual 18's (described as a "personal relationship" in the indictment) home to the office is a bit more difficult to explain the nexus to the campaign. Of course we only know the detail about the ride through the subpoena power of the DOJ and FEC.
That is one of the reasons this won't go to trial. Remember the federal jury pool would be from Imperial and San Diego counties. A change of venue is unlikely in this case. In the last 15 years, San Diego county residents have seen Congressman Duke Cunningham (R) serve time in prison for bribery and Mayor Bob Filner (D) step down after pleading guilty to false imprisonment and battery charges relating to a sexual harassment investigation.
Add in the alleged misrepresentations of spending money on personal items disguised as those for "wounded warriors" and the statement of by D. Hunter "tell the navy to go f*** themselves [no alteration in original]" to his Chief of Staff, puts the icing on the cake for the prosecution with a San Diego jury. San Diego has a very diverse economy now, but at its heart, it is still a Navy town.
Since 01/01/2017, the committee reports $37,107.13 in FOOD/BEVERAGE costs. Some of these are undoubtedly legitimate costs, although some, as I have written about previously, are suspiciously small to be for wooing would-be donors. Fundraising events are separately as "VENUE & FOOD/BEVERAGES." There have been 77 Uber rides totaling $1,507.88 during that period, and you can guess that investigators are looking at each of those. 
In the 2018 cycle after the 2016 post-election report, $2,335.16 has been reimbursed by the Hunters although it's unclear which line items they were for from what's online. 
So, there were lots of conversations among GOP insiders in California and DC about what to do. There is big regret that they didn't push out Hunter before the primary, and yes, most were aware of California's law about the inability to change candidates after the primary, unless they die 68 days before the general. This situation on top of the other headline issues is making the difficulty of either party in a first midterm much more challenging. 
Retiring Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) is awaiting the call to be positioned for a special election. However, many members on the moderate and right of the GOP conference want a new face. One person that several people are talking about is former Assembly and Senate Republican Leader and chair of the California Republican Jim Brulte. While he lives in Fontana 52 miles from the northern edge of CA50 in Temecula, residence is not required of for congressional candidates/members, and Issa doesn't live in the district either. Either likely could afford a residence in the district.
Brulte is currently a non-lobbying partner in California Strategies, a $6 million+ firm. It is not public information how much he receives as a partner.  Brulte is 62; Issa is 64.
Those of us who worked with him in the two houses in Sacramento that he is term-limited in know how much he loves legislative machinations. He worked advance for George Bush (#43). He likes the national scene, but he lives in Fontana, which is in Pete Aguilar's (D-Redlands) congressional district. Redistricting in 2021 is unlikely to place Brulte's house in a Republican district, as the region has only been going in the opposite direction.
What Republicans don't want right now is for progressive Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar to be elected in November in what otherwise is a safe Republican district. This requires an elegant ballet. They need to secure a Hunter to win on November 6, even if he resigns before then. The only reason to keep him around at this point is for him to cast the deciding vote for Speaker. If he wins and resigns on or after November 7, it would trigger a spring special election, but also could lead to a 217-217 tie in the House. The odds of that happening are extraordinarily slim, but all possibilities are being mapped out and calculated.
A move toward Brulte as the apparent successor would give security to GOP and GOP-leaning independents in CA50 to vote for Hunter on November 6 to "keep the seat red." Hunter would then be expected to resign after the vote for Speaker is complete. Remember, Hunter has clearly documented allegations of insults to the military and veterans in a district where that is deeply harmful. A campaign for the GOP must be about the seat and not Hunter.
Sure, local San Diego current and past GOP electeds would like a shot in a special, but nobody has a profile like Brulte or can mobilize endorsements and money with the same ability. Brulte is also carrying the duty of Republican gubernatorial candidate and San Diego County resident John Cox. President Trump would be happy with a Brulte candidacy, and even in these tough days for POTUS, that likely means something in this district.
Of course, the ballot ballet is difficult to choreograph. But if Will Bailey can elect an actual dead guy to keep a seat open (The West Wing, season 4, episode 7), the GOP can elect an all-but politically dead guy to hold the seat for a few months. Perhaps, though, only if they can effectively communicate that plan to voters.

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)
  • Event: Workforce development celebration: Tuesday, August 28th from 6pm to 8pm at the Citizen Hotel
  • Job: Attorney General's Office: legislative advocate
  • Job: California School Boards Association: legislative advocate
  • Job: California School Boards Association: regional representatives
  • Job: Climate Resolve: Communications Director (Los Angeles)
  • Job: Climate Resolve: Outreach Program Coordinator (Los Angeles)
  • Job: Local Health Plans of California seeks a Program Manager
  • Job: OPR Communications Account Executive
  • 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)
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels


Sure, I've got more . . .



CA50 (East San Diego): For Fox&Hounds, longtime GOP consultant Tony Quinn tries to make sense of what's happening in Hunter's congressional district and takes a shot at the California Republican Party for not opposing the top-two primary early-on, which included the elimination of general election write-ins.

I'll agree that the elimination of write-ins is unfortunate, not only in the CA50 situation, but also for minor parties. However, there is a problem is it applies to not just write-ins but also vote-by-mail ballots. The problem is we don't know how to write anymore. I sign a few checks for endorsement before deposit a few times per month and that is about it beyond scribbles with my finger on mobile electronic payment screens at farmers markets or a couple of meaningless  loops on a meaningless restaurant credit card receipt. 

In June, 67.7% of voters cast ballots by mail. For those of you who cast ballots, you remember (hopefully) to sign the outside of the envelope. That signature must match your voter registration. I've written about this before, but years ago I was going to Vegas and taking out cash at my local bank branch. The teller said that my signature on the withdrawal slip didn't match that on their computer system. I opened that account in high school. I don't know what my signature looks like at the bank nor on my voter registration.

We will have an election soon that will be decided based on fights over whether a signatures "match" voter registrations. Solutions have been floated, but none have gathered momentum. The actual name of a write-in is generally determined by whether the intent of the voter can be discerned by the scribbles of the voter as the name of a qualified write-in or a "reasonable facsimile" of the name of a qualified write-in on the ballot. If there is only one Lay on the ballot, that's easy. What if there is a Lay and a Lam? Or a Hertzberg and a Herzberg (~140 registered)? And yes, there are three Robert Herzbergs registered.

Something to think about in the off season.



Probolsky Research




CELEBRATIONS! There was a great reception for Jonathan Lightman yesterday at Ambrosia. Lightman is retiring after 19 years with the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) attended by colleagues, lawmakers, staff, and friends. Before FACCC, he served as director of governmental relations for the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. At NASW-CA, Lightman worked for Janlee Wong, the husband of former Assemblymember Mariko Yamada. Both attended last night's event.

While some often saw us on opposite sides in the community college world since he represented faculty and I represented college CEOs and elected trustees. Beyond that veneer, we are close friends and had great respect of each other as colleagues. While there were many constituencies involved in budget deliberations, there were only a few who gathered around conference room tables late at night and over weekends--frequently over pizza or Chinese food--to work out the most difficult budget years and present legislative leaders with a unified compromise. Make the best out of the worst could have been the theme over those years.

We also went through difficult personal times together and had the same challenges of being CEOs of complicated organizations. Far too often, I see newcomers taking an "us vs. them" attitude in this business. Advice: don't do that. You will need "them" at some point--whether for personal or professional support.

Jonathan said Friday that he intends four months off for a much-needed break, but then, "I'll be a free agent," with a trademark Jonathan grin.

Thank you Jonathan for working so hard to Keep the Doors Open for the last nineteen years.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Barry Broad, Ed Emerson, Dani Kando-Kaiser, and Karo Tossoian!



Add your classified of up to 100 words by emailing for $40/week.


  • Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is seeking an experienced Legislation Analyst with excellent writing and communication skills to assist the Legislation Department with advancing SCAG's policy interests and planning priorities through regional, statewide, and national engagement and advocacy. Under general direction of the Manager of Legislation, the Legislation Analyst III will navigate high-level policy discussions and communicate emerging issues to SCAG's staff and Regional Council. This role will assess the impact of proposed legislation and work with the Manager to coordinate a response to all applicable legislative proposals. This role requires a legislative expert who can navigate complex political environments to increase the visibility of SCAG's legislative efforts. This role requires an understanding of transportation, housing, and air quality legislation and policy and an ability to communicate how those issues will affect the SCAG region. To apply please visit
  • Enough about California politics, how about some Arizona politics?  Everything you need to know about Tuesday's Arizona primary election, discussed on ARIZONA POLITICS THIS WEEK.  Watch and subscribe for free at
  • Communications Director - Climate Resolve (Los Angeles)
    Reporting directly to the Senior Operations Director while working closely with the Executive Director, the Communications Director will lead the communications and media activities for the organization. This position will develop a vision and strategy to support policy, project-based, and funding/development initiatives, as well as maintain day-to-day communications for social media. The Communications Director will generate a workplan that elevates Climate Resolve’s brand in the public sphere and grow the organization’s audience. 4+ years experience desired; Knowledge of environmental and CA policy landscape preferred. 401K, medical benefits, dental/vision stipend. $69-78K DOE. Candidates with sense of humor, please apply here:
  • Outreach Program Coordinator - Climate Resolve (Los Angeles)
    Reporting to the Senior Operations Director, the Outreach Program Coordinator will assist the programmatic staff to uphold the mission of the organization via public-facing projects. The Outreach Program Coordinator will perform assignments promoting climate solutions related primarily to energy efficiency and water conservation, including online and in-person outreach, public speaking engagements, and media and communications generation while contributing to additional policy work and projects as needed. Willingness to drive for outreach work throughout both LA County and adjacent counties up to [3] days per week + automobile required (Reimbursement provided). 401K, medical benefits, dental/vision stipend. $48-52 DOE.
  • TBW Media/TBWB Strategies -  Seasonal campaign staffers needed for a variety of roles on campaigns for Democratic elected officials and nonpartisan ballot measures for the fall 2018 cycle. Looking for hard working day-to-day managers, communications, finance directors and staff, field directors and organizers. Also will be hiring for seasonal positions at our consulting firm. Send resume and cover letter indicating availability to No Phone Calls.
  • Join the California Workforce Development Board, California Community College's Chancellor's Office, and the California Workforce Association for an evening of celebration, as we herald the best that regional workforce development has to offer on Tuesday, August 28th from 6pm to 8pm at the Citizen Hotel in Downtown Sacramento.

    This is your opportunity to network with the leaders of workforce development from across the state, and discover the ways that regional economies are coming together to put California forward as the leader in innovative, sustainable workforce strategies for the entire nation!

    Please register to attend the event here:

  • Job Openings – Account Executive
    OPR Communications is seeking account executives for its media relations and public affairs teams. As the leading public relations firm in the Inland Empire, the award-winning OPR team specializes in developing and executing public affairs, media relations, public education and community outreach programs on behalf of a wide range of land-use, transportation, healthcare, energy and government agency clients. Salary DOE. Detailed info here
    Apply at

  • CA School Boards Assn- Legislative Advocate (West Sacramento) Under supervision of the Assistant Executive Director for Governmental Relations, researches, analyzes, and evaluates proposed and current state and federal legislation, legislative issues, statutes, regulations, and policies; communicates and advocates for the Association’s position to influence opinion in favor of public education; develops, summarizes, and maintains reports and records; fosters cooperative working relationships among Association staff and acts as liaison with various legislative, educational, community, public, and government agencies; and performs related work as required.


  • Attorney General's Office is seeking a Legislative Advocate with subject matter expertise in areas such as civil law, criminal law, public rights and law enforcement. The Advocate represents the Department of Justice on legislative matters before the State Legislature. The job can be viewed here.   
  • CA School Boards Assn- Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representative (Bay Area)
    This position serves as CSBA’s liaison to local school and county boards of education, key decision-makers and the community-at-large, and is responsible for implementing CSBA’s grassroots program, establishing relationships, and facilitating local and regional outreach and activation efforts. Communicates about issues in education that require familiarity with educational laws, regulations and trends.  Executes grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, support and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. BOE. Details:
  • CA School Boards Assn- Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representative (Orange County)
    This position serves as CSBA’s liaison to local school and county boards of education, key decision-makers and the community-at-large, and is responsible for implementing CSBA’s grassroots program, establishing relationships, and facilitating local and regional outreach and activation efforts. Communicates about issues in education that require familiarity with educational laws, regulations and trends. Executes grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, support and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. BOE. Details:
  •  CA School Boards Assn- Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representative (San Joaquin North)

    This position serves as CSBA’s liaison to local school and county boards of education, key decision-makers and the community-at-large, and is responsible for implementing CSBA’s grassroots program, establishing relationships, and facilitating local and regional outreach and activation efforts. Communicates about issues in education that require familiarity with educational laws, regulations and trends.  Executes grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, support and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. BOE. Details:

  • 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
  • GRE waived for qualifying government & legislative staffers to apply to the Pepperdine School of Public Policy’s Master of Public Policy program, considered the most unique policy graduate program in the country. Specialization tracks, including State & Local Policy, allow students to personalize their policy studies. Current State & Local Policy courses include, “Advanced Topics in Politics and Budgeting,” “Public Policy for Criminal Justice, Cannabis, and other Drugs,” “Permissions Development and the Environment,” and “Leadership through Public Engagement.” Find out more about this Top 10 in the West/Top 5 in California MPP program located in Malibu:
Duncan Hunter Articles, Photos, And Videos - San Diego Union Tribune

City Of Berkeley Launches Updated Online Public Records Portal
According to Worthington, the city has been making a conscious effort to expand in the technology realm. The new online portal is just one aspect of the Digital Strategic Plan, which also involves a revamped city website, customer service initiative and customer service management.

Betsy DeVos Eyes Federal Education Grants to Put Guns in Schools

The Education Department is considering allowing states to tap a fund for educational reform and improvement to buy guns for educators, a use not approved by Congress.

UC Berkeley Researchers Build Part Of Solar Probe Launched By Nasa
The Parker Solar Probe, or PSP, was launched into space Aug. 12. Two of its four instruments, FIELDS and SWEAP, were built by campus researchers.

Graham Hints That Trump May Oust Sessions 'sooner Rather Than Later' - Politico

"Replacing him before the election, to me, before would be a nonstarter, but the idea of having a new attorney general in the first term of President Trump's administration, I think is very likely," Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters. | Leigh Vogel/Getty Images