A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll has Gov. Jerry Brown (D) leading his two major rivals by a wide margin ahead of Tuesday’s primary, and shows former Treasury Department official Neel Kashkari (R) pulling ahead of Tea Party Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (D) for the first time. Brown leads Kashkari 50-18%, followed by Donnelly at 13%. “The apparent movement suggested that Kashkari’s recent blitz of television ads and glossy mailers was paying dividends.” (Los Angeles Times)
REBUILDING THE GOP. Whoever wins the No. 2 spot to take on Brown will face tough odds in November, and Kaskari is adamant his goals extend beyond just winning. At a campaign stop in Silicon Valley over the weekend he said: “I’ve got two goals: I’m running for governor to beat Jerry Brown, to help fix the state. Number two is to help rebuild the Republican Party in California and around the state.” He “said his emphasis on diversity was driven by a desire to rebrand the Republican Party, following the setbacks of the 2012 presidential election.” (Los Angeles Times)
WINNING THE WEST. Donnelly isn’t the only GOP gubernatorial candidate out west that has his fellow Republicans worried. Former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) appears equally capable of capturing his party nomination on June 24 to take on Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in November. “The fate of these bona fide tea-party candidates is about more than keeping score of establishment wins and losses. Democrats are hoping, and some Republicans are concerned, that having Donnelly and Tancredo atop their tickets would be a major drag on the entire California and Colorado GOP slates in November — or worse, could cause serious damage to the party’s long-term prospects.” (National Journal)
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The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.