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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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."