CA-22: “The Trump team was so impressed with” Rep. Devin Nunes (R) “that, according to the transition official, it considered bringing him into the administration. … But Trump ultimately decided to shelve those plans. … Trump’s circle believed that Nunes would be even more valuable to the administration if he remained in Congress, running the Intelligence Committee. Some 17 months later, that looks to have been a remarkably prescient decision — as Trump appears to have been able to influence Nunes to a remarkable degree.”
However, Nunes’ tenure on the Intelligence Committee was marked by his designation as its “least read” member for not going through necessary classified materials. “He had a similarly poor record of visiting the intelligence agencies for briefings. His lack of preparation could be seen in the committee’s classified hearings, where, according to a former committee staff member, Nunes often seemed out of his depth.” Sources also described Nunes as not discerning, gathering information from fringe sources. “Then, when Nunes brought back that information to Washington and intelligence officials would try to put it in context for him — or correct any misinformation — he would become suspicious.” When Nunes ascended to the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and later made his “midnight run” to the White House for a briefing on supposed spying on the Trump campaign, “[i]n the process, Nunes has all but destroyed what was once the House Intelligence Committee’s greatest asset”: nonpartisanship. (New York Times)
CA-25: Nonprofit executive Katie Hill (D) aired her first TV ad ahead of the June 5 jungle primary to face Rep. Steve Knight (R). The 30-second spot shows Hill rock-climbing while slamming corporations for backing her opponent. Hill faces 2016 nominee Bryan Caforio (D) and volcanologist Jess Phoenix (D). (release)
CA-49: Real estate investor Paul Kerr (D) released a new TV ad, which will run of broadcast, cable and online ahead of the race for retiring Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R) seat. The 30-second spot criticizes Trump for weakening relationships with allies and “endanger[ing] us all” through his attempted immigration bans and Tweets. (release)
Meanwhile, state Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R) “is being accused of the ultimate sin for conservative Republicans: supporting former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. … When Chávez … joined Schwarzenegger this month for the first meeting of New Way California, a GOP group promoting a more pragmatic, centrist policy approach for the traditionally conservative party, that was too much for some Republicans.
“Conservative commentator Steve Frank slammed Chavez … accus[ing] him of joining with Schwarzenegger ‘to destroy what’s left of the Republican Party in California.’ (San Francisco Chronicle)
ON THE TOP-TWO DRAMA. “Some Democrats and strategists contend shutout fears are overblown. The top-two primary system began in 2012 and has produced a one-party general in a U.S. House race just once, when Democrats failed to secure a spot in a 2012 contest. In statewide races, a Republican failed to advance a candidate to the 2016 U.S. Senate general election contest. … Garry South, an adviser to” former Gov. Gray Davis (D), “who advocated for the creation of a top-two primary, downplayed concerns. ‘If I had to go into an election cycle with a huge amount of enthusiasm in my base which has produced perhaps a surfeit of candidates, I’ll take that risk,’ he said.”
Former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) “also runs a political action committee targeting Republicans. She does not plan to weigh in on the primaries and said it’s not the party’s place to tell eager candidates to step aside. But she urged voters to think carefully when casting their ballots.” (AP)