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NOONER PREMIUM UPDATES:
WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER: For those of you who stepped away from the devices over the weekend, good for you! Here's what we tackled in this space the last couple of days.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
I'm going to be relatively quick this morning as I've only glanced at the headlines while Washington is yelling at me. It's painful but because of tonight's event at Capital Books, I sort of need to listen. I am quite a good multi-tasker, but this is a bit ridiculous--on both sides. Seriously, voting for pee breaks?
Anyway, even after getting up at an ungodly hour like I did as a kid on Christmas morning to knock on my parents' door to ask "Is it time yet?", I have too many big projects going on including working on lots of analyses for Nooner Premium now that filing has closed in most races. I'm starting with the competitive ones. I need not write detailed analysis about how Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy will be re-elected.
Thank you, Nooner Premium subscribers. I'm working long hours 7 days a week to deliver for you. I'm not complaining, you know this as much my favorite hobby as it is my livelihood.
If you missed the first analysis I did, it was AD55 (Diamond Bar-Yorba Linda) on Friday. Today I have added AD77 (N. San Diego County). There are 153 districts and each one I do takes longer than the average Nooner.
That doesn't mean I don't appreciate all readers--I truly do. Many of you are students and retirees and I will always deliver a free Nooner for you!
I'll spend time reading news and catch up tomorrow. For now, I need to get this out to you and return to reading some Supreme Court cases and listen to the DC blabber before tonight's event.
Hey, it's Omar and more after the jump...
HEY, IT'S OMAR! Perennial full-time candidate and challenger Omar Navarro, again challenging Rep. Maxine Waters in CA43, found a way to make news this weekend. Following a San Francisco event, he allegedly went to ex-girlfriend DeAnna Lorraine and threatened her--violating a restraining order granted earlier this year.
I'll just provide you her explanation of the events of Saturday night, courtesy of my friends at the Capitol Morning Report. Yes, if you read her explanation, she is a Republican candidate challenging Nancy Pelosi in CA12, although it's unclear if she's followed through with filing because, well, San Francisco Elections hasn't even updated Pelosi's filing status. This is a county that has ranked-choice voting.
I don't have any other facts so I'll leave it at that regarding his arrest. A check of the San Francisco Sheriff's Office's inmate locator suggests that Navarro is no longer in custody after being held on a $75,000 bond. If he shares a side, I'll like to it here and you can follow @realOmarNavarro (get it?) to be the first in the know. (@realDonaldTrump was created in 2009; @realOmarNavarro in 2011)
If you've read this space for awhile, though, you know that both Omar and DeAnna are part of a network of "grifters" (my Republican friends word, not mine) running in seats the GOP has no chance of winning and no interest in spending resources on. They, however, buy fundraising lists and spend huge amount on traditional and email small-dollar fundraising. They use it for travel, meals, and to hire friends that are doing no measurable work--Omar has paid a "social media manager" consultant while also firms that do it professionally.
Omar mixes things like the "Unified Latino Foundation" with his campaign effort, although the political veil is easily pierced.
Lorraine is a newby and was learning how to milk the system from Omar until they had a falling out.
Omar is indeed the master at it, often paying himself a salary from campaign funds (allowed under federal law, but state candidates can't do so).
Let's look at one quarter--July 1 through September 30.
He loves to stay at Trump hotels in Vegas and Washington and charges lots of meals, from large tabs at high-end restaurants to "travel expense - meals" of $16.04 on July 12, September 20, and September 30 at the Chipotle one block from his Postmaster Plus "campaign office." (He splurged at Chipotle on August 6 for $16.97. Extra guac?
He spent $150.00 at El Pollo Loco for "lunch" in Fountain Valley on July 15. How do you come to a flat rate at El Pollo Loco? From all appearances, his gas tank is regularly filled around his home in Torrance using campaign funds.
He buys prepaid Uber, thus leading to no trip tracking by date, although also has itemized numbers for Uber. He doesn't seem to prepay Lyft, but has lots of itemized trips.
In addition to all of the Uber, Lyft, and gas fill-ups, he paid himself $2,000 for "mileage" on August 30. I've both claimed mileage and signed checks paying it out. I've never seen a it work out to a flat number. It is to be paid out using the IRS rate, which currently is $0.58 cents per mile and that includes gas and wear-and-tear on a personal vehicle.
Again, this is a quarterly report. That works out to 3,448 miles driven. The dense urban district is relatively tiny, running from Inglewood on the north to Torrance on the south. No, you don't get extra mileage because it involves the 405. It's 2,686 miles from Torrance to Washington, DC. However, there are all indications that he prefers to travel by air.
Lots of folks are in on it. He buys lists and consulting services, pays for the postage, and then pays "Revshare fees" to firms.
While those are samples from the most recent quarter, this is the third cycle of this scheme. You can pore through the previous quarters and it makes for a lot of juicy reading.
I use the word "scheme" very lightly. Any otherwise eligible citizen has the right to run for public office. As I've written before, however, I want to see a strong Republican Party. I may vote for Democrats more often than not, the Grand Old Party is my granddaddy's party.
Party leadership needs to call Omar Navarro out on this. He is not investigated by federal attorneys like Duncan Hunter was because he isn't a big fish that will deliver headlines, but the behavior stinks nearly as bad and should be condemned. It also shows the toothlessness of the Federal Elections Commission, which both parties have complicit in continuing for their own benefit. All the FEC does to Navarro is send him RFAIs-- requests for additional information.
Meanwhile, through direct mail and electronic solicitation, he is sucking up small dollar contributions from people mad at Maxine Waters, including lots of retirees. She indeed provides great fodder for such passive solicitations, sort of like paid Sunday televangelism. She indeed has ethical issues of spending lots of campaign money through her daughter Karen's direct-mail business although it's not uncommon to have family paid from compaign funds, either as a treasurer or indirectly through another business (e.g. Patricia McKeon was Buck's paid treasurer). Other, more serious ethical allegations relating to her role as chair of House Financial Services against Waters were dropped.
However, Republicans lost 7 congressional seats in 2018 and are down to 27.5% of the seats in the State Senate and 22.5% of State Assembly seats and 2020 could make things uglier.
When I arrived in town, Republicans were the majority in the State Assembly. There are lots of reasons for the party's troubles in California and elsewhere, but people like Omar using the party's name and sucking from a dwindling donor base makes things worse. President Trump is at worst 50-50 on re-election, but don't think for a moment that it marks party strength in California and elsewhere. His big supporters/donors could care less about the California State Legislature.
Let's look at the two previous challenges of Waters by Omar, how much he spent, and how he fared:
In concert with Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, cell phone salesman Omar Navarro dipped his toes in the water in CA43. Had 2018, he played the game better and that's when he started paying himself and reporting questionable expenditures. For the current cycle, the game has picked up dramatically and the $$$ per vote will almost certainly skyrocket.
CA43 in the last report before the 2016 election had Republican Party registration of 14.03%. As of October 1, 2019, GOP registration was 12.79% in the district. Both parties have lost ground to NPP there and in most other districts. However, what is clear is that $597k spent in the current cycle is not going to voter registration efforts.
If this sounds like the making of a book, you should see the legal pads and taped pages on vertical surfaces around Nooner HQ. If I had time... Well, that's a recurring theme about the ambitious yet totally unrealistic idea factory that is my brain.
I've just skimmed the top of a multi-year story using primarily data from one candidate and one quarter. It involves a network of players that has grown throughout the Trump era. I do not say that as a criticism of the President nor pretend that similar efforts haven't happened during a Democratic presidency or are happening right now with anti-Trump SuperPACs. In many of these cases, this is about self-enrichment of a lot of players and not actual political ends.
As someone who cares about policy and loves a vibrant political arena, it stinks to high heaven.
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: In my Sunday rush of writing, Sunday shows, and farmers market before the Niners game at 10am, I mixed up Marc Steinorth and Eric Linder. Steinorth served two terms and did not run for re-election 2018 to AD40 and ran unsuccessfully for county supe and city council in a seat now held by James Ramos (D) in the San Bernardino-Redlands seat. In 2016, Linder lost to Sabrina Cervantes (D) in AD60 in the Corona seat, to which she was re-elected in 2018.
Let the hate flow from the IE as I deserve it for the mistake. "You Orange County people think we're all the same once you make a right part that Orange Curtain to head our way." Fair enough! Riverside and San Bernardino--different like Garden Grove and Westminster in the might AD72.
Meanwhile, just for fun, pick the guys out of a lineup--all Law & Order SVU style.
Just having fun, y'all. All good guys in my experience. I could have thrown Nathan Fletcher in as well.
FROM THE DESK ON THE DEAN: George Skelton writes in the Times that the presidential primary in The Golden State is wide open--and it's not because Senator Kamala Harris dropped out (what about Swalwell?!?). Rather, he concludes that Californians, like elsewhere will wait to see what the first few states handle the field as they take a hard look at the candidates.
I agree. We Californians aren't much for studying. We're too busy on our Pelotons. When it comes to presidential politics, we're the kid who sits next to the smarter ones in class to peer over their shoulders at test time.
Oh, and if Kamala has advice, Willie Brown is standing by with it. Let the eye-rolls follow. 🙄
DUNCAN: THE OTHER SIDE: I've been hard on Rep. Duncan Hunter, who plans to resign after the holidays. It wasn't about policy or politics to me at all, but rather corruption and abuse of office. Ask several former GOP elected officials who have been Nooner Premium subscribers for some time and I regularly communicate with. In many cases, they are more conservative than Duncan but also more personally principled.
I'm glad that Andrew Dyer has this piece in the San Diego Union Tribune after talking to several of Duncan's supporters as to what he meant to them on their issues. Duncan is only 43 and I thank him for his military service and sincerely wish him well in a healing process when he is ready to sincerely acknowledge fault beyond one plea in court.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Adam Gottlieb, Cynthia Guerrero, Eric Spencer, and Michael Wilson!