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Monday, April 2, 2012

National Republicans: Redistricting a Victory

In November 2010 the Common Wisdom was that Republicans had scored a huge redistricting advantage going into 2012.  The record number of Republican congressional pickups in the mid-term elections  was important, but more important was the sweep of a number of state legislatures and Governors’ offices.  With control over both legislative and the executive branch it was expected that Republicans would be able to solidify gains – and possibly expand them.  Many of the states that were looking to gain or lose a seat (making them even more ripe for shenanigans) were newly controlled by the GOP.  A good snapshot of the thinkin back then can be found here or here.

On top of it, the most important state with Democratically controlled legislative and executive branches – California – had handed off that responsibility to a bipartisan commission, abdicating their ability to draw lines to create new partisan gains in 2012.

According to National Journal, Republicans are ready to claim victory.  This sounds a bit crazy if you’ve been listening to Tom Del Becarro or Tony Quinn.  The smartest Republican Redistricting shop, Meridian Pacific, released a fictional “if Democrats Drew It” map, but that may not have done much to shift the current consensus that Republicans were hurt by the redraw in CA.

In California most races have some interesting competition, but one race that is a coronation is Ricardo Lara’s SD 33 where he was the only candidate to file.  That gave us an opportunity to do some fun analysis without getting on anyone’s bad side. 

Lara is chair of the Latino Caucus and a member of the LGBT caucus.  How do those affiliations intersect in his district?  To look briefly at this we asked a question in Scott Lay’s Nooner email – “what percentage vote No on Prop 8 (voting no means support for gay marriage) were Latino and White voters in Lara’s new Senate District 33? For reference, the district overall total was 44% no.”

The answer: Latino’s voted NO on Prop 8 at only 34.7% while Whites voted NO at 56.7%.  Of course, with Prop 8 a NO vote is pro-gay marriage and a Yes vote is anti.  So, by nearly 2:1 Latinos were against marraige equality while Whites were for it by a 13-point margin.

But how does one even figure this out?  Here is the writeup: http://redistrictingpartners.com/2012/04/how-did-latinos-vote-on-prop-8-in-sd-33/

In short we looked the new SD 33 using databases with the ethnicity of voters and the vote results.  A little statistics and magic nerd dust and we can generate a projected vote for Latinos on Prop 8 or Decline to State Voters on Prop 17 (car insurance) or Low Income voters on Prop 23 (repeal of AB 32).  We can even analyze something like the vote on school bonds based on the distance someone lives from a school, or the vote on Tobacco Taxes based on the same.


Republicans Tout Redistricting Gains
National Journal
National Republicans believe they have narrowed the number of seats for which Democrats can seriously compete, a result of a redistricting cycle that heavily favored the current Congressional majority. In a memo set to be released today, the NRCC will be touting 16 Democratic-held seats it believes are in play as a result of the process. In the memo, NRCC executive director Guy Harrison argues that the process has made 16 Democratic-held seats more competitive while making just 14 Republican-held seats more competitive. The memo also claims that redistricting has taken more Republican-held seats than Democratic-held seats out of play.

Despite state law, many school boards not budging on elections
California Watch
Dozens of school boards in the Central Valley are changing their election systems in response to a state law aimed at increasing minority representation, but much of the rest of the state hasn't budged. Some county boards of education have aggressively pushed for change, spurred on by expensive lawsuits targeting school districts. Other counties haven't made the issue a top priority, have faced resistance from local school boards or have given advice to school districts that some say could leave them vulnerable to lawsuits. Under the California Voting Rights Act, local governments can't hold at-large elections – in which the entire community votes for all elected positions – if that system weakens the ability of minorities to elect candidates of their choice.

California government gets B-minus in corruptibility report
The Los Angeles Times
California does a poor job providing the public with access to government information but has a safeguard against corruption in aggressive auditors, good disclosure of lobbying activity and the way it redraws legislative districts, according to a survey done by good-government groups. Overall, California was given a B-minus in the State Integrity Investigation, a data-driven assessment of transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms in all 50 states. The grade put California among the top five states, falling just behind New Jersey.

Connerly argues California illegally considers race, gender for redistricting panel
The Sacramento Bee
California illegally considers race, gender and ethnicity in choosing members of a state commission to draw legislative and congressional districts, according to a lawsuit making its way through Sacramento Superior Court. An amended complaint was filed this week by Ward Connerly and his American Civil Rights Foundation, which have fought nationwide for more than a decade against race-based preferences in government. Connerly's suit would not invalidate legislative and congressional boundaries drawn this year, but it seeks a court order altering the process for choosing commission members in years to come.

A closer look at two new election reforms
CA FWD Radio
Two new democracy reforms are debuting in this year's election cycle: redistricting and the top-two primary. While much was discussed when they were being voted on, little has been said to prepare the public for the differences in the electoral process. We discussed them on our latest CAFwd Radio Show. The full audio is above, but here's a rundown: Top-two was approved by voters as Prop14 in 2010. Now, instead of each party choosing a candidate in the primary to send to the general election, all primary candidates will be on the same ballot, and the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election.


Koreatown follows up on its promise to sue city over redistricting map
Many people who live in Koreatown were unhappy with the final L.A. City Council redistricting map, which they say undermines their representation. So unhappy, in fact, that they threatened to sue the city — a threat they're now officially standing behind after local law firms Akin Gump and Bird Marella took on the suit pro bono. For many months, Koreans and Korean Americans in L.A. have been publicly mobilizing like never before to protest the redistricting process. The new district map, they say, reconfigures their neighborhood in such a way that the community will lose any chance of electing the first Korean representative to the City Council. They’ve also complained that the mapping commission was working behind closed doors, ignoring public comments.

Facing pressure from minority groups, Mt. SAC board to vote on trustee redistricting plan
Pasadena Star-News
The Mt. San Antonio College Board of Trustees is poised to change the way each board member is elected, switching from at-large elections to individual districts and expanding the board from five to seven members. The historic changes are being considered at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mt. SAC board's regularly scheduled meeting at the community college Founders Hall on the Walnut campus, 1100 N. Grand Ave. District officials and current board members are responding to a petition filed with the Los Angeles County Office of Education by long-time critic and unsuccessful board candidate John Mendoza of Pomona.

Community Unity Map in California makes an impression
Inquirer Global Nation
At the Redistricting Task Force meeting on March 7 at City Hall,  the general consensus is that the Filipinos had the most impact with close to 50 speakers in support of the Community Unity Map.  The Filipino voice continued to be well represented in public testimony representing the deep work and investment we all have in our communities, neighborhoods, and districts, particularly D6 and D11. According to Terry Valen: The impact really hit the task force in terms of the depth and breadth of support for the Community Unity map and the process that went through to create a city-wide proposal.  Filipino community’s presentation and public testimony stood in stark contrast to the Realtors map and the David Lee/CAVEC map presented, both of which had little public testimony in support.

Are Parks and Perry Right?
Neon Tommy
As the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-2 on Friday to approve the new redistricting plan, the two dissenters, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, reiterated their intent to file a legal challenge against the new maps on the basis that race was improperly used as a primary factor in creating them. The maps produced by the Redistricting Commission, whose head, Christopher Ellison, is an appointee of Council President Herb Wesson, enhanced Wesson’s 10th district and created five solidly Latino districts, including the 14th, which now includes all of the downtown central business district. Wesson picked up Koreatown while bolstering his African-American support base by acquiring Baldwin Village and Leimert Park.

The Wrath of Wesson: Friday's Redistricting Fiasco
There were bagpipers (for St. Patrick's Day) and Persian treats (for the celebration of Nowruz) and a display of contempt for the people of Los Angeles when Council President Herb Wesson and his band of sullen men voted on Friday to adopt a gerrymandered map that draws new borders around the city's 15 council districts. The effect of the 13-to-2 vote was like watching Austria, Prussia, and Russia partition Poland, except this time the lines of power and punishment were drawn through the districts of Councilmembers Jan Perry and Bernard Parks. The whole fiasco ended in a surreal moment more like a Stalinist show trial than anything else.

John Walker Declares Victory Over Redistricting
Studio City Patch
Dear Community: This past Friday, March 16, 2012 at City Council, the final vote was taken on Redistricting and we won! First, I want to thank all those who showed up at the Chamber and, from what I have been told, the over 250 of you who sent in emails! For all that support, we are pleased to announce a Victory! This should not have turned into a political campaign, but it did. Remember, even though both the Metro and the Campo De Cahuenga are recognized as being in Studio City by the United States Postal Service, through some political machination, it was sliced off and relocated into another Council District more than 15 years ago.

LA’s Redistricting Vote Prompts Accusations of Corruption, Gerrymandering
The Los Angeles City Council meeting on redistricting this Friday erupted in verbal crossfire and a vote of 13-2 on new district boundaries, bringing to a close one of the most controversial episodes in LA city politics in recent memory. The redrawing of the city’s council districts , a process occurring every 10 years was fraught with charges of gerrymandering, backroom dealing, and naked political corruption. Council members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks were the only two dissenting votes and claim that the new map violates the Federal Voting Rights Act.

L.A. City Council redistricting an inside job
Daily News Los Angeles
The Los Angeles City Council's new district lines are all but official, after a lot of arguing. The exact configuration of the political playing field may be less important than what the process has revealed about the nature of the City Hall game. L.A.'s approach to redistricting is not as enlightened as California's, in which the job of shaping legislative maps has been turned over to a citizens commission as free as possible from conflicts of interest. L.A. still gives the once-a-decade task to a commission appointed by city office-holders, including council members whose power and chances for re-election hinge on the commission's decisions.

Koreatown loses redistricting battle, but gains new political drive
Earlier this week the Los Angeles City Council approved new district maps. Many in Koreatown were not happy with it, but immigrants have taken notice of the way those opponents have mobilized. For most of his life, Do Kim has lived in Koreatown. He says he’s never witnessed the degree of activism he’s seen in recent weeks. “Korean-Americans have been packing all of these City Council meetings and Commissioners meetings," according to Kim. "There are only very few occasions in which I’ve seen Koreans come out en masse.”

LA’s Redistricting Vote Prompts Accusations of Corruption, Gerrymandering
Uprising Radio
The Los Angeles City Council meeting on redistricting this Friday erupted in verbal crossfire and a vote of 13-2 on new district boundaries, bringing to a close one of the most controversial episodes in LA city politics in recent memory. The redrawing of the city’s council districts , a process occurring every 10 years was fraught with charges of gerrymandering, backroom dealing, and naked political corruption. Council members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks were the only two dissenting votes and claim that the new map violates the Federal Voting Rights Act.

End of Redistricting Reveals a Cowardly Council
Los Angeles Downtown News
It’s fitting that the effort to rejigger the boundaries of Los Angeles’ 15 City Council districts ended so close to the Ides of March. On March 16, 2012, City Council members Jan Perry and Bernard Parks may have felt a bit like Julius Caesar, who on March 15 in 44 BC was stabbed to death by political conspirators in the Roman Senate. A dying Caesar uttered the phrase, “Et tu, Brute,” after a trusted friend was among those who stuck a knife in him. Like Caesar, Parks and Perry were vanquished. In being on the very short end of a 13-2 vote, they saw many longtime allies cast ballots that may have been motivated less by civic consideration and more by political fear. It seems no one dared to cross the most powerful players for worry of future repercussions. It was stab or be stuck with the losers.

LA City Council Redistricting: What Price Belligerence?
L.A. Progressive
In Los Angeles, the local government redistricting process has concluded, at least the city council aspect, and not a minute too soon. It has been painful for the black community to watch its leadership implode, and turn on each other as they have. Where was Rodney King when we needed him? Oh, that’s right…they’re holding him for April and the 20th Anniversary recognition of the ’92 riots. Plus, the “all get along” speech wouldn’t affect LA’s three black city councilpersons Bernard Parks, Jan Perry, and Herb Wesson – very much — at this juncture. They don’t need motivation speeches. They need therapy. Some are suggesting it is too late for them to make up.

Richard Alarcon Does Not Appreciate Being Told to Man Up
The City Maven
The anger and frustration that some members of the Los Angeles City Council feel about the recent redistricting process was clear today when a motion on the subject led to a testy exchange between council members Jan Perry and Richard Alarcon. At issue was a motion, introduced by Perry last month, that called for a comprehensive hearing schedule on the Redistricting Commission’s recommended maps. The motion lingered in committee, so Perry introduced a second motion to hear her original proposal before the full city council.

There's a Lack of Good (Political) News in Los Angeles
Goodbye winter, hello spring. In Los Angeles the change of the seasons is often imperceptible. One day with a high in the high 60s or low 70s dissolves into another with little ado. But there is another climate that I talk about in these blog posts: the political climate. As I sat down to think about what to write about, almost all of the news seemed both predictable and discouraging. Let's take the local redistricting effort as but one example. Last week the Los Angeles City council approved a plan laying out new district lines. Almost all of the news articles about the new lines include words and phrases like, "corruption," "inside job," "lawsuit threats," "legal remedies," "joke”, "pandering," "backroom deals," and "self-interest."

Korean Group%u2008Threatens Lawsuit
Beverly Press
Following the Los Angeles City Council’s 13-2 approval of the city’s new district lines, the Korean American Coalition-Los Angeles has threatened to sue, alleging that the council did not adequately represent the city’s Asian population in the process. Grace Yoo, the coalition’s executive director, said the coalition is proceeding with its lawsuit, which alleges violations of the Equal Protection Clause, the Brown Act, the Los Angeles City Charter and the Voting Rights Act. She said the suit will contain individually-named plaintiffs, though they have yet to be determined. “I think it’s incredibly disheartening that the democratic process has been waylaid by too much politics,” Yoo said.

County releases maps, sets hearings on redistricting
Mountain Democrat
El Dorado County’s redistricting map alternatives are now available for public review and comment, said a prepared statement from Mike Applegarth, analyst with the El Dorado County Chief Administrative Office. The California Election Code requires boards of supervisors to approve supervisorial district boundaries following each federal decennial census so that districts are nearly equal in population.  The U.S. Census Bureau now estimates El Dorado County’s population at 181,058, an increase of approximately 25,000 residents since the 2000 Census.


GOP sees four Democrat-held Cal congressional seats as winnable
The Sacramento Bee
A new appraisal by the National Republican Congressional Committee claims that state-by-state redistricting has enhanced GOP chances of retaining control of Congress by making 16 seats held by Democrats vulnerable, including four in California. The NRCC memo written by its executive director, Guy Harrison, was revealed in a National Journal article Wednesday. The memo says that Democrats Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, Jim Costa of Fresno and John Garamendi of Walnut Grove are potentially vulnerable. It also lists the vacant 21st Congressional District in the lower San Joaquin Valley as winnable by a Republican. Costa would have been the 21st District incumbent, but opted to move into the 16th District after Democratic Congressman Dennis Cardoza decided to retire.

Jeff Gorell returns from Afghanistan, prepares to rejoin Assembly
Ventura County Star
Early Thursday afternoon, Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Gorell, home from a year in Afghanistan, checked out from active duty in the Navy and returned to civilian life as a husband, father, member of the state Assembly and a Californian overjoyed at being back on his native soil. "It was the longest year of my life," he said. "You hear the birds chirping? You see the greenery?" he said, pointing at the Camarillo landscape. "Little things like that, you miss. You don't get that in southern Afghanistan." Gorell arrived in California on Monday evening and was eased back into civilian life.

Nancy Skinner, Running Unopposed, Holding 'Iron Chef' Campaign Fundraiser
Piedmont Patch
Nancy Skinner, who will likely represent Piedmont in the new 15th Assembly District, is holding an "Iron Chef" contest as a fundraiser for her re-election campaign, in which she is running unopposed. The event is being held  in Berkeley with two pairs of chefs competing in the cook-off, which will be judged by six attendees chosen by raffle. Tickets range from $100 to $2,500. Asked why she's raising funds for her re-election campaign if she has no opponents, Skinner said she wants to begin communicating with new constituents who are being added to her district under redistricting and that she also would like to help fellow Democrats retain and gain seats in other Assembly races in the state.

What Does Nathan Fletcher’s switch mean?
San Diego LGBT Weekly
Early this morning, Assemblymember and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher announced he was switching teams. No, not that way. He’s leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. What does this mean for the mayor’s race? In the long run, not much. Fletcher will dominate the news cycle, and may raise his name recognition. The Republican Party will cry crocodile tears for the cameras and say goodbye, then go to their smoke-filled room to say good riddance. Tom Fudge, the moderator for tonight’s mayoral forum at the San Diego LGBT Center will have to change his question list.  But the underlying dynamics of the race haven’t really changed.

Valley Demoncrats To Hold Policy Forum With Sherman And Berman
Van Nuys News Press
The Valley Democrats United (VDU) will host a PA policy forum with candidates for the California 30th Congressional District, Representatives Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, on Wednesday, April 4 at 6:00 p.m. The forum will be held at the East Valley Adult Center Auditorium, 5060 Van Nuys Blvd (across from Corky’s Restaurant) in Sherman Oaks. Join Valley Democrats United, the Progressive Liberal Democratic Club of the San Fernando Valley, as the discussion goes beyond campaign talking points and mainstream media debates to discover the accomplishments, actions and vision that these two Congressmen would bring to this new congressional district in the San Fernando Valley.

The Rise of the Independent Voter
Santa Barbara View
People register as a decline-to-state (DTS) voter because a) they never have identified with a party or b) because their party has alienated them. Anger with your party doesn’t necessarily translate to jumping to the other side, though some do. David Mamet, author of Glengarry Glen Ross, went from a corporate-greed-hating-liberal to conservative… after he moved to Santa Monica. But this isn’t a story about conversion to the other side. This is about becoming an Indy, short for independent voter. There’s a lot of Indies. A 2011 Gallup poll reveals a record 40% of Americans identify themselves as Independents.

See fundraising totals for top California legislative races
The Sacramento Bee
With just over two months to go until the June primary, some state legislative candidates are boasting six-figure warchests while others find themselves in the red. Pre-election campaign finance reports covering money raised and spent between Jan. 1 and March 17 were due late last week. The full reports are posted on the Secretary of State website. How do the top candidates in some of the state's most hotly contested races stack up? We've compiled a roundup of the numbers for some of those races in the spreadsheet posted below.

Congressional Candidate Jose Hernandez: Astronaut -- Or Not?
The Huffington Post
Astronaut: "A person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft." So who publicly claims to be an astronaut - when they are not? As vocations go, it's a pretty small club. Yet Republican opponents of a California Democratic Party-endorsed candidate for Congress are seeking to disqualify the candidate based on his ballot designation as "astronaut." The claim? Jose Hernandez, who is on record as having flown a 14-day mission as the flight engineer on Space Shuttle Discovery's mission to the International Space Station in August of 2009, left NASA in January 2011.

Maienschein to Kick Off Assembly Campaign in RB
Rancho Bernardo Patch
Brian Maienschein, the former San Diego City Councilman who represented Rancho Bernardo in District 5 for two terms, is now running for a seat in the new state assembly District 77. He will officially kick off his campaign with a public event at the Eastview Community Center, 17520 Drayton Hall Way in RB, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday. District 77, as redrawn through the recent redistricting, will include Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, Poway and several other communities (see attached map).

California State Senate Races Guide and Analysis
Races and Redistricting
In 2011, the California Redistricting Commission redrew California's Congressional lines, California's Senate lines and California's Assembly lines. The California Redistricting Commission is a group of five Democrats, five Republicans and four Independents who worked together to draw lines that combine communities of interest and create competitive districts. California's bipartisan incumbent protection plan in 2002 eliminated competitive districts. No seats in the California State Senate changed hands from 2004 to the 2010 elections. Currently, the State Senate map is being sued in court but most pundits believe the California Supreme Court will uphold the map.

Folsom Assembly candidate's pledge could mean backing rival
The Sacramento Bee
Republican Assembly hopeful Andy Pugno kicked off his campaign today with a pledge that could leave him backing his rival over his own candidacy in November. The Folsom Republican is challenging Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, in the 6th Assembly District. Under the state's new top-two primary rules, voters could send both Republicans to the general election. But voters in the safe GOP district might be spared a second round of a same-party slug fest if that happens. Pugno said today that he would support whichever Republican gets the most votes in the June 5 primary -- even if he secures the No. 2 spot to advance to the runoff. He said he made the pledge because he believes Republicans "should not be beating up on each other in the general election"

Independent Could Make History in California
Roll Call
There is a chance no Democrat will appear on the November ballot in an otherwise top pickup opportunity in California, a state crucial to the party’s hopes of winning the House majority. Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks’ unconventional third-party bid for Congress would be groundbreaking under California’s new election laws, and she has a realistic shot at becoming the first Independent elected to the House since 2004. Under the state’s new top-two primary format, her decision to run without a major-party label threw yet another curveball into the race for the new Ventura-based 26th district, a high priority for both national parties.

Republican candidates weigh in at local forum
Lodi News-Sentinel
Republican candidates for one congressional, one State Senate and three Assembly districts representing the Lodi-Galt area expressed their allegiance to less government, no tax increases, Christianity, a pro-life stance and the right to own guns during a candidates forum Tuesday night. The forum, hosted by the California Republican Assembly at Harvest Bible Church in Morada, featured candidates from the newly formed 9th Congressional District, 5th Senate District and the 9th, 12th and 13th Assembly districts. Democratic candidates were not invited.

State teachers union backs Republican for Assembly seat
The Los Angeles Times
The California Teachers Assn., traditionally a big backer of Democratic candidates, has endorsed a Republican for an open Assembly seat in  a GOP stronghold, the organization has confirmed. Paul Strickland, a former animator and an elected member of a local school board, is one of four candidates for the newly drawn 38th Assembly District, which covers the Santa Clarita and Simi valleys as well as part of the San Fernando Valley. Other Republicans in the  already-contentious race are Patricia McKeon, wife of longtime Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, and Scott Wilk, a former aide to Buck McKeon and other GOP lawmakers.

Julio Perez Captures Environmental Group Endorsement
Liberal OC
Saying he has demonstrated a clear commitment to protect the environment, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), one of the state’s top environmental groups, today announced its endorsement of Julio Perez for the 69th Assembly District seat. “No matter what part of the state you live in, the need for clean air, clean water and protecting our children from toxic substances is a primary concern,” said David Allgood, CLCV Political Director. “Julio has demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting the environment and the public’s health, making him the best choice in this race.  We look forward to working with Julio in the Assembly on the issues about which Californians care most.”

Bosetti says Dahle hid contributions in Assembly race
Rick Bosetti filed a complaint on Monday with the state's election watchdog agency alleging fellow Republican 1st District Assembly candidate Brian Dahle violated campaign finance reporting requirements by hiding more than $80,000 in campaign donations. In his complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission, Bosetti says Dahle recently received 20 campaign contributions of more than $1,000 and a $50,000 loan, but didn't report them within 24 hours as required by state law. Instead, Dahle's campaign waited to post the filings until last week when the smaller filings were due, Bosetti said.

San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher quits GOP
The Los Angeles Times
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a third-term Republican who is running for mayor of San Diego, announced this week he is leaving the GOP and re-registering as an independent. The move comes just more than two months before the San Diego mayoral vote, a nonpartisan office. It also deals another blow to a state Republican Party that holds no statewide offices, has faced declining numbers in Sacramento for the last decade and has a depleted stable of potential candidates to challenge Democrats for higher office. Fletcher, a lifelong Republican and former Marine, has been at odds with his party over the rights of gays to serve in the military, among other issues.

Former Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose Announces Candidacy for Republican Central Committee
Orange County Breeze
Dean is a former Councilmember and mayor of the City of Los Alamitos; is Chairman of the Regional Military Affairs Committee at the Joint Forces Training Base; past president of the Los Alamitos/Seal Beach Rotary Club; on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce and has been a small business owner since 1983. He serves as a member of the American Dream Committee of the Orange County GOP and is on the OC GOP Youth Associates Committee. The newly drawn 72nd Assembly District represents 16.25% of Orange County and includes all of Westminster, Fountain Valley, Seal Beach, Rossmoor, Midway City, Los Alamitos and portions of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach and Santa Ana.

Poll on Senate race has Steinberg soliciting donors
The Fresno Bee
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is looking to shore up donor support for Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani's bid for Senate, circulating an internal poll showing her with a lead in the 5th Senate District. The matchup between the Livingston Democrat and two Republicans, Assemblyman Bill Berryhill and San Joaquin Supervisor Leroy Ornella, is expected to be one of the year's top legislative contests in California. A slight voter registration edge for Democrats in the San Joaquin County district makes it one of three seats that Senate Democrats are targeting as they aim for the two-thirds mark in the upper house.

Democrats Open New Front in Bid for Women Voters
Democrats are counting on a fight over reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act to give their party’s female Senate candidates an edge in the November election. The measure is part of a strategy to brand Republicans as anti-women and help Democrats retain control of the Senate in November. To bolster those efforts, Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, wants to bring the Violence Against Women Act to the floor before the end of the month, said his spokesman, Adam Jentleson.

California Republican Party Endorses Candidates
The West Ranch Beacon
The California Republican Party, which represents over 5 million Registered Republicans, endorsed candidates for seats throughout the state at a first ever endorsing convention held at the Burbank Marriot Hotel this past week. The Official Statewide Organization overwhelmingly endorsed Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon for the 25th Congressional District, Assemblyman Steve Knight for the 21st Senate District being vacated by Senator Sharon Runner and Deputy DA Todd Zink for the 27th Senate District currently held by Senator Tony Strickland. Strickland is now running for the neighboring 26th Congressional District and was also endorsed unanimously.

Senate confirms federal judge for Southern California
The Miami Herald
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Michael W. Fitzgerald as a federal trial judge for a vast region stretching from San Luis Obispo to Orange counties in California, after a political endurance contest that's now standard practice on Capitol Hill. Nominated last July, Fitzgerald had to wait four months following his unanimous Senate Judiciary Committee approval in November before winning confirmation Thursday afternoon on a 91-6 vote. Democrats finally threatened a series of special votes to break the Republican delay of Fitzgerald and other candidates.

Bosetti, Dahle come out swinging
With candidate rosters final for the open 1st Assembly District race as of last week, the Redding Tea Party got straight to holding the first debate with all five candidates at the same table tonight. The Tea Party runs its debates in a great format that wastes no time with League of Women Voters-style filters to ensure questions are fair. Instead, the candidates themselves take turns asking questions of each other. It lets them get straight to the attacks. And man, I guess there's only room for one Republican. Rick Bosetti wouldn't let up on Lassen County Supervisor and fellow Republican Brian Dahle.

Panel fines group backing California state senator
Real Clear Politics
The California Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday fined supporters of state Sen. Juan Vargas $6,000 for campaign finance violations during a hotly contested Democratic primary in 2010. Put California Back to Work, an independent expenditure committee, devoted 88 percent of the nearly $1.5 million it spent on the election to support Vargas in his Southern California district. Yet, it failed to identify the candidate it was backing in regulatory filings, the campaign finance watchdog agency found. State law requires that contributors identify any candidate who gets more than 70 percent of their money.

Cardoza finds little company in the middle
Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, is one of only three Democratic representatives from California regarded as a centrist. Cardoza, 52, stands out as an increasingly rare breed of politicians according to a newly released report by the National Journal, a nonpartisan Washington publication. Cardoza, represents the 18th Congressional District, which has a finger into San Joaquin County and Stockton, and has served in Congress since 2003. He is not running for a sixth term. He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate-to-conservative House Democrats.

New trustee elected
The San Matean