Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 22, 2013
CA House races with same-party challenge also under way

BB DNC DAY 2 0626.JPGToday's Sacramento Bee takes a look at some of the very early campaign action in California congressional districts that are expected to be home to big fights between Democrats and Republicans in 2014.

Races unlikely to switch party hands are picking up as well.

California's new election laws, which allow two candidates from the same party to compete in the general election, mean tough primary challenges can extend into the fall. Two incumbents, Democratic Reps. Joe Baca and Pete Stark, lost to members of the same party as a result of the change in last year's election.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, is already trying to fend off a possible challenge from Ro Khanna, a 36-year-old attorney and former Obama appointee, in Silicon Valley's 17th Congressional District.

Khanna, who has more than $1 million in campaign funds in the bank, has yet to announce formal plans to run. But Honda is readying for a challenge by holding fundraising events to build a campaign war chest and trumpeting early endorsements from Obama, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel. This week, Honda's team released an internal poll that gives the congressman a 52-point lead over his potential challenger.

"Smart campaigns are hard working and prepared campaigns," Honda campaign spokesman Dan Cohen said. "The congressman and his team realize that if there is a race, they want to have the best possible team that's prepared and ready to win. And if there isn't, then they've done their homework."

Competition means an early start for California House campaigns
Ex GOP Rep. Doug Ose weighs challenge to Democrat Ami Bera
Elizabeth Emken eyes challenging Ami Bera in Sacramento seat

PHOTO CREDIT: Rep. Mike Honda speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Brian Baer / Sacramento Bee file, 2008

March 22, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: Little hope of pay hike for unpopular electeds

Dan muses on the fact that a commission is weighing whether to change how California lawmakers are paid just as a new poll shows slim public support for the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

March 22, 2013
AM Alert: Committee dominoes fall in California Legislature

HuesoRanchero.jpgAs of the end of business Thursday, the Legislature is on spring recess. So kick back and join us for AM Alert: Recess Edition.

Yesterday we brought you news that the legislator formerly known as Assemblyman Ben Hueso is now officially Sen. Ben Hueso. The San Diego Democrat's job move produced a small cascade of new committee assignments in the Legislature.

Hueso is no longer on the Assembly's Housing and Community Development Committee, the Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy Committee or the Local Government Committee.

Freshman Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, will take over Hueso's chairmanship of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. (Rendon has some experience with environmental issues, having formerly served as executive director for the California League of Conservation Voters.)

Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella, will replace Rendon as assistant majority floor leader.

There are also some changes flowing from former senator Michael Rubio's resignation in February. Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, took Rubio's spot atop the Committee on Environmental Quality, where he'll have an influential role in CEQA reform; as a result, Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, will take Hill's former spots on the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review and on Budget Subcommittee 4 on State Administration and General Government.

VIDEO: The Citizens Compensation Commission is considering public salaries at an inauspicious time for elected officials, Dan Walters notes: new polls suggest Californians don't think too highly of their representatives.

Today is the start of the California Correctional Crisis Conference at UC Hastings College of the Law, exploring prison overcrowding and realignment. Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who has revived a bill that could reduce sentences for low-level drugs offenders, is the keynote speaker. Other attendees include corrections officials, academics and Benjamin Rice, general counsel for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Prisoner advocates plan to rally in front of the California State Building in San Francisco, where the conference is taking place.

Happy birthday to Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, who turns 44 today, and to Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, who is 40.

PHOTO CREDIT: A new job for Sen. Ben Hueso, seen here on May 29, 2012, means changes elsewhere in the Legislature. Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press


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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