If you don't see images in this message, click "Display Images" or the equivalent.
Advertise in The Nooner to reach over 8,000 readers
FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 21 days
THIS WEEKEND IN THE NOONER:
The Nooner for Monday, January 13, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy Monday! All signs point to this week being as crazy as the last and for the frenetic pace to continue throughout the normally staid month of January.
For many of us that have been around here for decades, things usually drop off after the budget release and the State of the State unless there is a special session to address an emergency. No such special sessions have been called even though housing and homelessness likely justify one. However, governors and legislative leaders are usually reluctant to do so unless solutions are on the radar.
We now have a budget and to my knowledge, the governor's address to the Legislature has not yet been scheduled. Of course, like the federal constitution's provisions for the State of the Union, there is no requirement that the Governor provide an oral address to the Legislature and legally the budget message would satisfy the requirement of Article V, Section 3 -- "The Governor shall report to the Legislature each calendar year on the condition of the State and may make recommendations." Of course I expect Gavin will seek a chance to get all 120 legislators in the Assembly chamber and friends in the gallery.
The delayed State of the State is not why January will be more caffeine-fueled than in previous years. As noted above, statewide primary ballots are being mailed to voters three weeks from today. Most voters will have them that Tuesday, the same day we'll be reading about the Iowa Caucus results and one week before New Hampshire. Enough members have competitive primary elections for their current office, promotion to the Senate, or other office (K. Chu) that will divide their attention between Sacramento and the district.
There is also the January 31 deadline for bills to clear their house of origin, with the biggest being SB 50 (Wiener), the controversial housing bill. Of course, while he has pledged to push the bill through and has garnered increasing support with the recent amendments including Saturday's Los Angeles Times editorial calling for the bill to be moved forward. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not scheduled a hearing for January, a decision that is up to chair Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge).
Of course, this is the second year of a two-year session and members have until February 21 to introduce new bills. Senators are allowed to introduce 40 bills in the session. Wiener introduced 24 last year and has submitted one for this year. He could easily not force the issue in Senate Appropriations against the reluctant Portantino and introduce a replica of the bill anew to buy more time. He would then have until May 15 to move the new vehicle through Senate policy committees and Appropriations.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD: The big independent expenditure (IE) money is mostly staying on the sidelines in the primary election bereft of broad fields and uncertain turnout and voting patterns given the presidential election and number of vote-by-mail ballots being sent out February 3. Of course, there will be as much if not more than ever being spent come November. On Saturday, I wrote about one that is playing to boost Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) on March 3 in hopes to squeeze out fellow Democrat Marisol Rubio so that he faces Republican Julie Mobley in the safe Democratic district come November. Thus far, that IE is sponsored by the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems ($100k) and the California Medical Association ($50k).
Another big one has sprung up on behalf of two more State Senate candidates, from the Coalition To Restore California's Middle Class Research Committee, Including Energy Companies Who Produce Gas, Oil, Jobs And Pay Taxes, which is sponsored by the California Independent Petroleum Association.
While you were watching the great football games over the weekend, they reported more spending on behalf of Modesto councilmember Mani Grewal (D) in SD05 and former Assembly member Nora Campos in SD15.
Let's look at the spending in the two races this month:
The committee reported $3,345,913 as of June 30, 2019 and likely had that minus operating expenditures entering 2020 as I can't find evidence that they played in the special elections last year (SD01, SD33, AD01).
The independent oil producers are largely spin-offs of the large oil companies that diversified their holdings particularly internationally, with the largest being California Resources Corporation, a spin-off of Occidental Petroleum. Oxy was founded in California and is now headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Obviously, they are most concerned about an oil and gas extraction tax and a split roll property tax although many other issues before the Legislature affect them. While often operating on leases, property taxes would be passed down for both the land and equipment,
Nora Campos is in a tight race against Santa Clara supervisor Dave Cortese (the "labor candidate"), former FPPC chair Ann Ravel (the "environmental candidate"), 2 Republicans and 2 No Party Preference candidates in a safe Democratic seat. Of course those characterizations are overly simplified as there are crossovers, like everywhere.
SD15 is very hard to predict in the top-two scenario. It is a Clinton+51.7% district, so with an energized Democratic electorate because of the presidential primary, we might see that 73% of the share of the vote split among the three Democrats. But, they are three strong Democrats. Of the other candidates, only San José city councilmember Johnny Khamis (NPP) has opened a campaign account.
Khamis reported $258,152 on hand June 30 and has received $60,667 in large contributions available for the primary since. Don't let the Clinton 2016 showing or Newsom's 70.8% 2018 showing deceive you. This is Silicon Valley, with the addition of a core fighting gentrification in San José. However, those top-line numbers do not suggest a pledge of allegiance to the Democratic Party.
The district as an NPP registration 5.68% above the statewide average. Silicon Valley leans left, is not super-partisan, and has Libertarian leanings. Frankly, many are likely frustrated with the Legislature over AB 5 and the consumer privacy issue. This is Tom Campbell territory, although the former state legislator, congressman, and U.S. Senate candidate now lives in Orange County. Campbell has left the Republican Party and is now a professor at Chapman University School of Law after serving as the school's dean for five years.
Love Campbell or hate him, and you can find Democrats and Republicans alike who do, he fit the district.
If you look at Khamis's contributions, you'll see many from the high-tech sector, investors, and those who otherwise rely on it.
Khamis could very well receive 30% of the vote in SD15. Say the two non-campaigning Republicans and other NPP candidate combine for 10%. That leaves 60% for the three Democrats to fight over.
At this point and given the seemingly even standing of the three Democrats with Campos propped up by an IE, it appears to be a fight to face-off with Khamis come November, either placing first or second on March 3. At the end of the day, I still think Democrats hold SD15 in November.
Meanwhile in SD05, Grewal is wrestling with Assemblymember Susan Talamentes Eggman to be the Democrat to proceed to November against one of three Republicans in what is a likely Democrat seat but one that will have a traditional D-R face-off come November. It was Clinton+10.7% in 2016 and currently D+10.5% in voter registration.
Defending the most endangered Dem and more after the jump...
THE MOST ENDANGERED DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT: Typically, this headline would lead you to believe that I'm talking about a Democrat who might be taken out by a Republican this November. But, as I wrote on December 21, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer in AD59 is the most endangered Democrat and it's more about demographics than policy. In a region that is trending Latino, he is being challenged by Efren Martinez, a Democratic public policy advocate for business organizations and community leader.
Anyway, I've already written about those dynamics and you can go back and review it if you missed it. In the Clinton+85.6% district, the two Democrats are very likely to proceed to November against the one Republican. GOP candidate Marcello Villeda filed no ballot designation and hasn't opened a campaign committee.
I'm writing today about how Jones-Sawyers colleagues are stepping up for him after his lackluster fundraising ($153k cash) for the period ending June 30, 2019. This ties into yesterday's story about Govern for California money being spread to lots of safe Democrats. Several of you asked me why these adept, largely Silicon Valley-connected donors were spending their money there. You'll find similar giving from labor organizations where money is sent to safe members that may leave some observers scratching their heads.
Of course, the reason is that money can and will be redistributed elsewhere to defend vulnerable incumbents, retain the open AD38, and try to flip seats. The only vulnerable incumbent right now just happens to be Jones-Sawyer and it just happens to be by a fellow Democrat.
So, let's look at the $99,700 that Jones-Sawyer has pulled in from his colleagues since the June 30 report.
More may have been received from colleagues prior to December 4 if under $5,000. That was the date when the filing requirement for contributions of $1,000+ began to be required within 24 hours of receipt. We'll have the full amount of Jones-Sawyer's cash-on hand when the first pre-election filings are due on January 23, but not necessarily the identities of contributors below $5,000 received from July 1 through December 31. The first pre-election covers contributions from January 1 through January 18, while the semi-annual report closing December 31 must be filed by January 31.
Yeah, I should have drawn pictures for that but ran out of Nooner time.
Remember that candidates can accept $4,700 per election per cycle. For 2019-20, a candidate can receive $9,400 from a source but can only spend half that in the primary. An interest group or individual (or both of by an individual who belongs to an interest group) can give both directly to a vulnerable member as well as other safe members to redistribute.
It's all legal. Money will be in politics and like water, will flow even as "barriers" are erected.
All in the game, yo. I'm just a storyteller.
PETITION COSTS: Reports this weekend from several people find that the most moneyed initiatives are fetching $4-5 per signature. These include the Uber/Lyft/DoorDash-backed initiative to exempt app-based transportation and delivery drivers from AB 5 and the one to re-write rules for dialysis clinics sponsored by SEIU-UHW. The tribal gaming and racetrack initiative for sports betting and other games won't be on the street until after January 21, when the title and summary is due from the Attorney General's office. There will be plenty of money behind that one as well to push up signature costs to meet an April 21 deadline to submit signatures for November.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Bill Ainsworth, Channing Hawkins, Joe Rodota, and Douglas White!