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 mercurial veteran GOP political operative, Roger Stone, has acknowledged that he is the unnamed Trump campaign regular who corresponded with an alleged Russian hacker, as described in a new indictment against a dozen Russians returned Friday by a federal grand jury." He told ABC News that he previously admitted to the contact to House investigators. He called the correspondence "benign."
"A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring" to hack into Democratic organizations, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and state election boards and private companies providing ballot verifying software for the 2016 presidential election, announced Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Russians corresponded "with several Americans," Rosenstein said, who clarified that there was "no allegation in this indictment" that the Americans knew they were speaking with Russian hackers.
"President Trump described the European Union as 'a foe' in an interview with CBS News on Sunday, ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland. "I think we have a lot of foes," Trump said. "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they are a foe."