Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 23, 2012
Richard Bloom widens lead over Betsy Butler in LA Assembly race

Richard Bloom expanded his lead over sitting Assemblywoman Betsy Butler from just 79 votes to 430 in tallies released Friday afternoon by Los Angeles County.

The two Democrats are separated by just a quarter of a percentage point in a nailbiter for Los Angeles County's newly drawn 50th Assembly District seat.

Bloom, Santa Monica mayor, has 87,270 votes in the latest count. Butler, seeking a second legislative term, has 86,840 votes.

Los Angeles has about 155,000 ballots remaining countywide. An unknown number of those ballots, a small portion, is expected to be from the 50th Assembly District, which represents about 7 percent of Los Angeles County's voters.

Bloom said Friday that the race remains undecided as vote-counting continues -- and that tension builds as the gap grows or shrinks.

"Unfortunately, this is like being on being on 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,' except that they don't let you step out of the game, collect your winnings and leave," Bloom quipped. "You have to go to the next level."

Whoever wins the seat will be part of a Democratic supermajority in the Legislature. In the Assembly, Democrats will control 54 of 80 seats; in the Senate, 29 of 40.

* Updated at 5:10 p.m. Friday with Richard Bloom's comment and an estimate of ballots remaining countywide.

November 23, 2012
Senator-elect Galgiani says voters responded to issues, not mud

Reacting to her come-from-behind victory for a state Senate seat, Cathleen Galgiani said voters responded to a campaign in which she focused on legislative issues, not mudslinging.

The Stockton Democrat, who had trailed in ballot counting since Election Day, overtook Republican Bill Berryhill on Wednesday night to win the 5th District Senate seat in San Joaquin, Stockton and a tiny portion of Sacramento counties. Both currently are Assembly members.

Galgiani's campaign touted her support of California's proposed high-speed rail system and her efforts to create and develop UC Merced. She also cast herself as a protector of the San Joaquin Delta, water rights for farmers, and mental health care for youth, including those in the gay and lesbian community.

"I believe I made a case to the voters about what I have done as their Assembly member," Galgiani told The Bee. "I kept my message positive and I talked about my record and what I wanted to do if elected, and voters in my district responded."

November 23, 2012
Lobbyist Mike Kahl remembered as 'principled, strategic and tenacious'

Longtime California lobbyist Mike Kahl, who founded the firm that became Sacramento powerhouse KP Public Affairs, died Sunday of Parkinson's disease. He was 71.

Journalist Greg Lucas chronicled Kahl's career in an obituary posted to his California's Capitol blog:

Principled, strategic and tenacious, Kahl and his partner Fred Pownall, built one of the most respected and one of the biggest grossing lobbying firms in Sacramento, representing the oil industry, water districts, and timber concerns, among many other clients.

Kahl pioneered a lobbying style grounded more in the policy of an issue than in political contacts. He was successful at it because, in most cases, he had studied the homework twice while his opponents were skimming the Cliff Notes.

"He preached to all of us that you had to deal with good public policy. This wasn't going to be about whether you were a good guy or if people liked you," said K.C. Bishop, a long-time Chevron lobbyist who worked closely with Kahl. "Good, solid public policy would win in the end but you needed to do the work to get there."

Services will be held Saturday in El Cajon, where he lived at the time of his death with his wife Judy, according to Capitol Morning Report. Click here to read Lucas' full obituary.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 11:30 a.m. with Kahl's age.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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