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HOPE IS ETERNAL: I hope all subscribers are getting this today. Over the past few days, I was receiving a fraction of the out-of-office reply messages, which had me suspicious. Things seem to be working again as the server has been removed from the list of spam servers.
Remember, The Nooner is posted online by around 12:15pm each day. The hamsters head over to the massive server with their floppy disk in their little paws as soon as the emails have gone out.
NOT A NOOGIE, BUT AN EAR TICKLER: On the California Politics Podcast, John Myers, Melanie Mason, and Liam Dillon try to make sense of the end of session.
[n=500; 08/10-14/2018; landline/cell live calls and online/cell phone text messages to pre-defined likely voter universe; MOE +/-4.38%; breakdown of total components (definitely/lean) not provided]
BALANCE OF POWER:
BILLS, BILLS, BILLS: Friend of the Nooner lobbyist Chris Micheli counts the bills awaiting gubernatorial action:
No bills were reported as acted on yesterday. George Skelton has some advice for the governor on what to consider.
DAILY GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT: The current Real Clear Politics generic congressional ballot average of polls from 8/18-9/04/2018 has Democrats+8.5. (-1).
In the same period in 2014, Republicans had an edge of +2.4.
DAILY FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM PROJECTION UPDATE:
MOCK THE VOTE: The Department of Motor Vehicles registered more than 23,000 voters by error in the new opt-out automatic voter-registration program, reports John Myers in the Times. The issue was discovered on August 5 and just made it to the front of the line yesterday, five days after the Legislature left town for the year. Legislators were just left to tweeting their ire. In many cases, these were re-registrations, leaving recipients of confirmation cards in the mail perplexed.
"In the letter sent to affected DMV customers, Shiomoto said she “sincerely apologizes for this inconvenience” and urged voters to check their registration status online."
CA45 (Irvine): From our Fun with Slates file, Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Beach) has bought a spot for $4,553 on the "No Party Preference Voters Guide." Walters is also Deputy Chairwoman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Nothing is illegal about that, as long as the expenditure is reported respectively by both the candidate's committee and the slate card committee. Since there is no party named "No Party Preference," the card's name is in the clear, and there's no obligation to include the party registration of the candidates listed on a card.
Long-time readers know that one of my favorites is "Coalition for Literacy," which has two slate cards right now "Election Digest" and "Educate Your Vote." They are run by friend of the Nooner and Democratic political consultant Larry Levine. I have no doubt that the candidates believe in literacy, but there's no activity of the coalition to support such programs directly, which is a bit misleading.
But, that is the First Amendment in which I believe very strongly, in contrast to some on Twitter.
SANDY EGGO: Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins handed over $100,000 from her 2020 account to the San Diego County Democratic Party. The party spent big on Nathan Fletcher for Supervisor and is now a bit short on cash. Fletcher is a former Republican Assemblyman, is now a Democrat and is married to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, chair of the critical Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Atkins also contributed $1,000 from her 2020 account to Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia. Atkins clearly doesn't want to just be a trailblazer herself (as the first woman and first openly gay Pro Tem, but wants to help bring others along. Abrams would be the first woman governor in Georgia's history, and the first African-American woman governor of any state in the Union.
FOLLOW THE MONEY: In the hot race for SD22 between Democrats Mike Eng and Susan Rubio, we have an independent expenditure committee for Rubio that shows how difficult it is to track spending. It's called "Keep California Golden," which reports money from "Families and Teachers United," which is a committee sponsored by the California Charters Schools Association. That committee receives most of its money from the Charter Public Schools PAC and the California Charter Schools Association Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee.
Are you following the bouncing ball? We're now three levels deep, which now splits to two major donors, but no individuals.
Here we go, at the third level, we find basically the same collection of big donors that supported the independent expenditure committee on behalf of Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign for governor. These include Reed Hastings (Netflix), Doris Fisher (Gap, Inc.), and Alice Walton (Walmart). To be clear, these contributions are not specifically for Susan Rubio's campaign, but rather from the same committee, which also have many smaller donors.
Got that straight? By going three levels down, the actual biggest funders don't have to be disclosed to voters in the State Senate race independent expenditure. Rather, the disclosure (I believe) is something like: "Paid for by Keep California Golden, with major funding by Families and Teachers United, Charter Public Schools PAC, and The California Charter Schools Association Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee," if that.
Rubio is the sister of Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio. Former Assemblymember Eng is the husband of Congresswoman Judy Chu.
TIME TO DO THE LAUNDRY! On 08/09, the Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG), which opposes contracting out state engineering services, reported $25,000 each to the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee, the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee, the Democratic Central Committee Of Marin, the Napa County Democratic Central Committee, the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee, the Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee, and the Tehama County Democratic Central Committee.
The same day, it also gave $30,000 to the Democratic Party of Orange County and the San Diego County Central Committee, and $35,000 each to the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee, the Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee and the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee.
If I have those numbers right, that's $340,000 to local party committees. Of those, Fresno and Orange are really the only two with legislative seats in play. In Fresno, we have AD32 (Kings), which has Democrats on defense to keep Rudy Salas.
In Orange, there is SD34 (Westminster/Santa Ana), which Democrats have as one of their two possible pick-ups with former Assemblyman Tom Umberg challenging Sen. Janet Nguyen and AD72 (Seal Beach), where Tyler Diep (R) is facing off against Josh Lowenthal (R), which would be a Democrat pick-up in the seat currently held by Travis Allen.
PECG has two big interests on the November ballot--the defeat of Proposition 6, which would repeal the gas tax/VLF hike for transportation projects and the restoration of the supermajority in the State Senate that was lost when Josh Newman (D) was recalled on June 5 over his vote on the gas tax.
No offense to the county Democratic central committee members, but PECG isn't in it for you. I used to be one of you. The game has changed from bean feeds, spaghetti dinners, and crab fests.
We know that this money is not for general party building and for door-hanging in your district. There's plenty of money to oppose Prop. 6 and little money in support of it. The money that is being distributed to county parties and others will be legally laundered for big money flowing in to the above three races, as well as in support of Assemblywoman Anna Caballero's (D) election to SD12 (Monterey-Merced), where Anthony Cannella (R) is being termed out. (Note: Cannella was the lone Senate Republican to vote in favor of the gas tax.)
The Assembly's supermajority for Democrats is pretty much set unless there is a fundamental shift in the November political outlook, which is very unlikely at this stage in the game. Dems picked up AD76 (Oceanside) in June when two Dems advanced in the race to succeed Rocky Chávez. and are strongly favored to pick up AD40 (Redlands) in the race to pick up the seat currently held by Marc Steinorth, who is running for county supe.
Thus, the two biggest legislative races are SD12 (Salinas-Merced) and SD34 (Westminster-Santa Ana) and money will flow in heavily from interests on both sides in support of their candidates. In SD12, Caballero is favored and in SD34, we have a true toss-up. There will be enough money on the Democrats' side to outspend the GOP unless some big donors come forward. Although GOP Chair Jim Brulte is obligated to say publicly to say that John Cox for governor is the top priority, let's be candid and say that these two State Senate races top the list.
It's just not as easy for the Republican leadership. Democrats have allies in unions, which through automatic contributions amass huge war chests. However, to get one GOP donor akin to the state's professional engineers' union to write a $340,000 check to ultimately target a few races is a big challenge. Unions have expert political strategists and they don't have to explain to each donor why Merced matters or the split in the Asian communities in Orange County that opens up the doors for Democrats to gain a supermajority in the State Senate this November. It's a huge challenge to amass a 150 $100,000 donors, which is probably what the state GOP needs to match the amount unions will be able to spend on races--directly or indirectly this year.
And, the PECG contributions are only from one of many public and private employee unions with warchests for the Democrats. And, we still have the $1 million given to the California Democratic Party during the wildfires debate by the California State Electrical Workers Association.
Below the jump, Duncan Hunter...
CA50 (East San Diego): While my head was all in campaign finance yesterday, I missed this article in the Union-Tribune, in which Jeff McDonald and Morgan Cook look at the less savory part of the story of the likely fall of Duncan Hunter--his personal relationships. With DOJ investigators having photos, Hunter's attorney turns the story back to campaign finance.
In an August letter to the Justice Department, defense attorney Gregory Vega argued that prosecutors are pursuing criminal charges for conduct that falls into gray areas of civil election law.
“This is true even for personal indiscretions of the congressman that the prosecutors seem intent on charging,” Vega wrote. “The supposed reason given for including these details is that they reflect spending of campaign funds for extramarital infidelities and excessive drinking.”
. . .
“While there may be evidence of infidelity, irresponsibility or alcohol dependence, once properly understood, the underlying facts do not equate to criminal activity," Vega wrote.
More importantly in the short term is whether or not voters will care on November 6.
"David Doherty, a political science professor at Loyola University Chicago, studies public perceptions as they relate to elected officials. He said it is not clear why politicians accused of transgressions are not always held to account at the ballot box.
“The most likely explanation is simply that many voters don’t see being moral in one’s personal life as central to the job of a representative,” he said.
The full impact of the indictment may not yet have landed, Doherty said.
“Lots of people simply don’t pay attention to the news,” he said. “The real effects may not emerge until his opponent (perhaps with help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) airs a bunch of ads about this scandal.”
The couple are back in court on Tuesday, but all parties have agreed to delay the ordinary start of the trial until after election day.
PRESS HELL: From a DCCC press advisory about Obama's rally on Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center:
"Press should arrive at 7AM on Saturday, September 8th. Press must drop off any equipment – cameras, recorders, satellite vans – for the Secret Service before 8AM. Any equipment that is not examined by Secret Service will not be allowed into the event. Press may re-access their equipment at 9AM.
Doors will open for the event attendees at 10:00AM."
Press have to arrive three hours before the event on a Saturday. Hug a reporter today.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Luis Ayala and Mark Gonzalez!
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: I don't know much about football and certainly not about teams with the name of Rams* or Chargers. Anyway, yesterday I muddled where the teams are playing and will be playing. The Chargers are playing currently at the StubHub arena in Carson. The Rams are sharing the Los Angeles Coliseum with the USC Trojans. Both the Chargers and Rams will play at the new Ingleswood stadium beginning in 2020.
*I was "always a Rams fan" until they moved from Anaheim. They used to practice at Cal State Fullerton, where I went to Titan Youth Sports Camp each summer. After camp, several of us would go to over to the field to carry the gear to the locker rooms for the players. Great days.
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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
More Than 23,000 Californians Were Registered To Vote Incorrectly By State Dmv
John Myers @ latimes.com
Officials insist the errors were limited to 23,000 of the 1.4 million voter registration files sent to elections offices between late April, when California’s new automated “motor voter” system went into effect, and early August. Californians who were affected will soon receive notifications in the mail instructing them to check their voter registration status.
Justice Dept. Demands Millions of North Carolina Voter Records, Confounding Elections Officials
Prosecutors issued subpoenas for elections officials to turn a huge number of records over to immigration authorities by Sept. 25.