Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D) reports that Rep. Jackie Speier (D-14) spent “the New Year’s weekend in Palm Springs with her advisers and mulling a possible run for governor.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Speier: “I’m not sure who Willie’s source is, but the only thing accurate about the post was that I was in Palm Springs with my family. Willie was smoking something before it became legal on January 1st. I still have a lot of work to do in Washington.” (Politico)
Actress Alyssa Milano also sent out a fundraising email on Newsom’s behalf last week, calling him someone “who we can trust to actually lead” in comparison to President Trump. (Hotline reporting)
BIG PICTURE. “In an effort to avoid infighting among California Democrats, the state party chairman is asking … the candidates running for governor not to seek an endorsement at the party’s spring convention.” State Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman “argued that time and money spent on an endorsement campaign would be better devoted to reaching out to voters. So far, the candidates aren’t agreeing.”
“A 60% vote among delegates at the state party convention in February in San Diego is required to secure an endorsement. Campaigns to court roughly 3,400 state party delegates and win the nod — or block a rival from getting it — can cost tens of thousands of dollars.” (Los Angeles Times)
“For the hopefuls in California’s race for governor, the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles County … where 1 in 4 of the state’s voters live,” will decide the race. “It’s diverse, sprawling, expensive to advertise in and voters often don’t show up, especially compared with the Bay Area.”
“For two hometown Democratic candidates especially — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) and state Treasurer John Chiang (D) of Torrance — doing well in L.A. County is essential. Yet this overwhelmingly Democratic stronghold continually bedevils even the most adept campaigns. … Harnessing the county’s political power base is tricky, since it’s a mishmash of entrenched public employee unions, Westside wealth, Latino-led political bulwarks and grass-roots organizations, Hollywood glitterati and corporate titans.”
“More than 180 languages are spoken here, where 5.2 million voters live, outnumbering the electorate in most states. A plurality of the county is Latino — 47.5 percent — and huge ethnic enclaves abound: Armenian Americans in Glendale, Chinese Americans in Monterey Park; and Filipino Americans in West Covina. The city of Los Angeles has the largest population of Native Americans in the U.S.
“Airing an effective television ad campaign — the only realistic way to reach voters from Palos Verdes to Palmdale and Pacific Palisades to Pomona — can cost $2 million a week.” (Los Angeles Times)
THIRD-PARTY. Hospice nurse Veronika Fimbres (G) “is aiming to become the first transgender governor of California. But first, the hospice nurse and Navy veteran has to get her name on the June primary ballot by the March 9 filing deadline.” (Bay Area Reporter)
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President Trump said that "unless the miracle of all miracles happens," that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead. Trump "expressed confidence in intelligence reports from multiple sources that strongly suggest a high-level Saudi role in Mr. Khashoggi’s assassination. [He] stopped short of saying the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death."
“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as" Mohammed Bin Salman is in charge, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News today. “I’ve been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate. This guy is a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.” Graham added that he intends to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”