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 Justice Department inspector general referred its finding that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators who were examining a media disclosure to the top federal prosecutor in D.C. to determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime." The referral occurred "after the inspector general concluded McCabe had lied to investigators or his own boss, then-FBI Director James B. Comey, on four occasions, three of them under oath." The referral does "not necessarily mean McCabe will be charge with a crime ... although the report alleged that one of McCabe’s lies 'was done knowingly and intentionally.'"
A federal appeals court in Chicago "upheld a nationwide injunction against making federal grant funding contingent on cooperation with immigration enforcement." The three Republican appointees ruled that the Trump administration "exceeded its legal authority in trying to implement the new conditions without approval from Congress ... One judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel, Reagan appointee Daniel Manion, said he would narrow the injunction solely to protect Chicago. However, the two other judges assigned to the case said the nationwide injunction appeared to be justified."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley "decided Thursday to delay markup" on a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller until next week. But he remains steadfast in his support for a committee vote, despite Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's "pledge to kill it" if it gets to the floor.
North Korea has expressed its commitment to 'complete denuclearisation' of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday. ... South Korea announced on Wednesday that it is considering how to change a decades-old armistice with North Korea into a peace agreement as it prepares for the North-South summit this month." The leaders of the respective countries are also expected to connect a phone line so they can communicate directly.
"California reached an agreement with the federal government that the state’s National Guard troops will deploy to the border to focus on fighting transnational gangs as well as drug and gun smugglers, Gov. Jerry Brown said. ... Brown said Wednesday he secured federal funding for terms similar to those outlined in last week’s proposed contract: The Guard cannot handle custody duties for anyone accused of immigration violations, build border barriers or have anything to do with immigration enforcement."