On politics in the Golden State

Category: 26th Congressional District

Jerry Brown, California Democrats appear to be big winners in election

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Gov. Jerry Brown’s $6-billion-a-year tax initiative to rescue California schools and the state's finances appeared to squeak by with a victory early Wednesday, and Democrats' grip on Sacramento tightened as the party crept toward winning a super-majority in both houses of the Legislature.

Tuesday's election also brought an end to the three-decade-long congressional career of Rep. Howard Berman, who early Wednesday morning conceded defeat in his political slugfest against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in the San Fernando Valley.

The bitter contest between Sherman and Berman, awash in more than $13 million in campaign spending by the candidates and independent political groups, was triggered when California's newly drawn political boundaries put the two incumbents in the same district.

"I congratulate Brad. ... I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition," Berman said in a concise concession statement early Wednesday.

FULL RESULTS: California races

In a similar high-profile mash-up between Democrats, Rep. Janice Hahn of San Pedro was cruising to an easy win against Rep. Laura Richardson of Long Beach in a newly drawn district that includes many minority, working-class communities, election results showed.

Among other closely watched races for California House seats, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) narrowly defeated state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) in Ventura County, and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) bested former Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, according to results with all voter precincts reporting in those districts.

California's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, won an easy reelection victory over nonprofit executive Elizabeth Emken, her underfunded, little-known Republican challenger.

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

The governor woke up Wednesday as one of the biggest apparent victors in Tuesday’s election, however.

Facing well-funded opposition, Brown campaigned heavily for Proposition 30 as a way to restore fiscal sanity to Sacramento and to stave off deep cuts to public schools and universities. The initiative calls for a quarter-cent increase to sales taxes for four years and a seven-year tax hike on California’s highest earners.

Californians have not approved a statewide tax increase since 2004.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a competing measure bankrolled by millionaire civil rights lawyer Molly Munger -- Proposition 38 – which would have increased income taxes for most Californians to raise funds primarily for schools and early childhood education.

In one of the highest-profile state ballot measures, labor unions appeared to defeat Proposition 32, which would have reduced their political influence by barring unions from using paycheck deductions for political purposes.

Californians also soured on a measure to abolish the death penalty -– Proposition 34 -- which was trailing badly with most of the voter precincts reporting Wednesday morning.

Other law-and-order measures were greeting more warmly. Voters favored Proposition 36, which would change the three-strikes sentencing law so offenders whose third strikes were minor, nonviolent crimes could no longer be given 25 years to life in prison.

Voters also supported Proposition 35, which promoted increased punishment for sex trafficking of a minor. Both led by wide margins with most ballots counted.

With most ballots tallied across California, initiatives to label genetically engineered foods and change state law to create a new car insurance discount appeared headed for defeat.

One of the biggest surprises of the election was the Democrats' strong showing in legislative races. Democrats appear on the verge of winning a two-thirds majority in the state Senate and Assembly, enough to approve tax measures without Republican support.

In Los Angeles County, veteran prosecutor Jackie Lacey became the county's first female and first African American district attorney after defeating Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson. Jackson conceded early Wednesday morning.

Lacey, 55, touted herself as the only candidate with the experience to run the office. She had the support of her boss, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring after three terms.

Los Angeles County voters also approved a local measure requiring adult film actors to wear condoms. With most precincts reporting, a measure to fund transportation projects by extending a countywide sales-tax increase for an additional 30 years remained just shy of the two-thirds vote required for approval.

Some races remained too close to call, including the San Diego congressional race between Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-Carlsbad) and Democrat Scott Peters, a San Diego environmental attorney. In the Coachella Valley, Democratic emergency room doctor Raul Ruiz was leading Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) with just under two-thirds of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning.


Munger’s Proposition 38 fails, according to AP

Prop. 40, on state Senate districts, passes, per AP

Proposition 36 on three-strikes law passes, AP says

-- Phil Willon

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown addresses supporters of Proposition 30 and 32 at the Sheraton Hotel in Sacramento Tuesday. Source: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Democrats add 3 more Calif. congressional hopefuls to help list

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee has included three California candidates as additions to  its Red to Blue program.

The three are among 13 candidates across the nation singled out for the program, Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), DCCC chairman, said in announcing the additions Wednesday.

The California candidates are state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, who is running against Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland for a Ventura County seat; state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, vying with Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong in a district that includes Long Beach and part of Orange County, and former San Diego City Councilman Scott Peters, challenging Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Carlsbad).

About a dozen congressional seats in California are expected to be in play as the two major parties battle for control of the House in the Nov. 6 election.

The Red to Blue program helps promising candidates in Republican-held areas with fundraising, strategy and campaign organization.


California watches windfall shrink as Facebook stock slides

California workers want legislative staff raises to be rescinded

Blumenfield is fourth assemblyman set to run for L.A. City Council

--Jean Merl




Tony Strickland, Julia Brownley winning heated Ventura congressional race

Linda Parks, left, Julia Brownley, center, Tony Strickland, right.

Democratic state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley of Oak Park emerged from Tuesday's rancorous primary to win a place on the November ballot against Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland of Moorpark.

With about half the precincts reporting, independent candidate Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks was running third.

The newly drawn Ventura County congressional district, formerly viewed as Republican ground, now is one of several "swing" districts that could be won by either party. Registration in the 26th Congressional District is 41% Democratic and 35% Republican; 19% of voters are unaffiliated. 

Republican Party leaders quickly rallied behind Strickland, the only GOP candidate on the ballot. Parks, generally viewed as a moderate with a good record on local land-use and environmental issues, switched from Republican to "no party preference" to run in the race.

LIVE RESULTS: California primary

With Strickland seemingly assured of one of the two spots on the general election ballot, Parks and Brownley battled furiously for the other. National Democrats, who supported Brownley, sent voters mail trying to tie Parks to some of the most conservative elements in the Republican Party, including Sarah Palin. 

Parks got support from a  super PAC  known as icPurple, which backs independent candidates.

There were three other Democrats on the ballot, raising concerns by party leaders that they would draw votes from Brownley.

Much of the area currently is represented by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley), who decided to retire rather than seek reelection after his home was drawn into another district.


Election day: Legislative races to watch

A statistical snapshot of California's primary

Sherman leads Berman in USC poll of Valley voters

--Jean Merl

Photo: Linda Parks, left, Julia Brownley, center, Tony Strickland, right. Credit: Los Angeles Times; handout; Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

Three battling for Ventura County congressional seat

Linda Parks, left, Julia Brownley, center, Tony Strickland, right.

The tally of absentee ballots in  the race for a Ventura County congressional district seat showed Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland  in front with more than half the vote and state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, a Democrat, and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks battling for the second spot on the November ballot.

Under the state's new "top two" primary system, all the candidates appear on the same ballot and only the first-and second-place finishers Tuesday, regardless of any party affiliation, can advance to the November general election.

Republican leaders recruited Strickland, hoping he can replace retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) and with no other member of that party on the ballot to split the vote, most observers expected Strickland, of Moorpark, to win a place in the fall election.

LIVE RESULTS: California primary

Brownley, of Oak Park and Parks, of Thousand Oaks, who recently switched her registration from Republican to no party preference,  were  widely expected to duke it out for the second spot on the fall ballot.

Three other Democrats threatened Brownley's chances to unify her party's vote in the 26th Congressional District. They  were Realtor/entrepreneur Albert Maxwell Goldberg of Ventura,Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jess Herrera and businessman David Cruz Thayne of Westlake Village.

National Democratic groups spent money to support Brownley and oppose Parks.  Parks got some help from icPurple, an independent expenditure committee that supports nonpartisan candidates.



The political sands are shifting in California

Voters torn in battle between Berman-Sherman

New rules, low turnout mark state's primary election

--Jean Merl

Photo: Linda Parks, left, Julia Brownley, center, Tony Strickland, right. Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times; Handout; Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

New 'super PAC' backs independent candidates

A new  'super PAC' formed to support independent candidates around the country has announced its first round of endorsements, including  Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher for San Diego mayor and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks for an open congressional seat in her area.

The group, dubbed icPurple, bills itself as the first super PAC dedicated to moderate candidates with no party affiliation.  Both Fletcher and Parks recently switched their registration from Republican to decline to state.

icPurple has launched a television and online media campaign to help Fletcher and plans to do the same for Parks. It also is backing Chad Condit, son of former Democratic Rep. Gary Condit, for a Central Valley congressional seat and Chad Walsh for an Assembly seat from Silicon Valley.  A spokeswoman for the group said it has not yet made a decision on whether to also back former Assemblyman Anthony Adams of Hesperia, a former Republican running for Congress in San Bernardino County.

Super PACS, enabled by a recent Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United, are allowed to  accept unlimited donations but must operate independently of a candidate’s campaign.  The super PACS, which are playing heavily in the presidential election and a few other races,  are controversial, and there are efforts  in California and elsewhere to amend the U.S. Constitution to forbid them.

Leaders of icPurple (named for what comes from combining the colors red and blue, representing Republicans and Democrats, respectively) say the group is “dedicated to the election of independent leaders”  in hopes of ending partisan gridlock in Washington and statehouses around the nation.


Jerry Brown unveils revised budget plan

Facebook stock stumbles in big public debut

Jerry Brown stymied by same budget dysfunction that plagued predecessors

-- Jean Merl

Julia Brownley backed by national Democrats

Democratic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley confers with Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) last year.

If there was ever much doubt that Assemblywoman Julia Brownley is the choice of national Democratic leaders for an open Ventura County congressional seat, recent campaign developments should have pretty much erased it.

Late last week, the House Majority PAC, which is raising and spending money to elect Democrats to Congress, began running a cable television ad supporting Brownley, a Democrat who moved from Santa Monica to Oak Park for the race.  The group spent about $156,000 on the ads, which are scheduled to run for a week.

On Tuesday, California’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, announced they were endorsing Brownley.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Brownley “a champion for education in California.”  Sen. Barbara Boxer said Brownley  could be counted on “to protect California’s environment, women’s health and Medicare for our seniors, which have been under unprecedented attack by the extreme right.”

There are three other Democrats in the race—Realtor/entrepreneur/CEO Albert Maxwell Goldberg, Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jess Herrera and independent small businessman David Cruz Thayne.

Republicans have rallied around state Sen. Tony Strickland  of Moorpark.  Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, who switched her registration from Republican to decline-to-state, also is on the ballot.

The newly drawn 26th Congressional District has been targeted by both major political parties. Democrats hold a slight registration edge over Republicans, 40%-36%, with 19% of voters unaffiliated with any state-recognized party.

The two-top finishers in the June 5 primary, regardless of party, will advance to the November general election.


S&P sounds alarm over April tax revenue

Tax revenue $3 billion less than target, report says

Cash flow dips but California's finances secure, controller says

--Jean Merl

Photo: Democratic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley confers with Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) last year. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press


Sheriff, TV stars, grassroots group endorse in races

It’s been a big week for endorsements in some of the area’s hot congressional races.

First came word that “taxpayer advocate/businessman Phil  Liberatore, as he’s described on the ballot, has scored the backing of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an Arizona lawman who gained national notice for his tough immigration stance.  Liberatore is one of 13 candidates on the ballot for the open seat in the High Desert’s  8th District, the most crowded field of any California congressional race this spring.   Arpaio’s endorsement could help set Liberatore apart from the pack of nine other Republicans, two Democrats and one independent (former GOP Assemblyman Anthony Adams).  The sheriff will appear Friday at a news conference with Liberatore—in Beverly Hills.

Next,  Democratic state Sen. Julia Brownley   announced an endorsement from the progressive group MoveOn.org in her race for another open seat, the 26th Congressional District in Ventura County.   The national grassroots organizing group said it has some 14,800 members in the district, where five other candidates also are on the ballot.  Both major parties have targeted the race.

But it would be hard to top the popular appeal of one of the backers Rep. Howard Berman added to his list earlier this week—television star  and animal rights activist Betty White.  Berman is locked in an intense, expensive battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman for the same San Fernando Valley seat.  Five others also are on the ballot in the strongly Democratic 30th District but most of the attention in the nationally watched race is  on Berman and Sherman.

Camp Berman wasted no time in making a TV commercial  featuring  White and one of her “Hot in Cleveland” co-stars,  Wendie Malick.  In the ad,  Malick says the congressman is “unbelievably effective” while White comments on his  “very nice blue eyes.”


Aetna raises health insurance rates for small employers

Officials ponder how to ensure healthcare reform in California

Union seeks to cut California hospital billings, boost care for poor

--Jean Merl

Photo: Actress Betty White at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last month. Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times

Emily's List backs Julia Brownley for Congress


Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) is receiving support in the crowded race for an open Ventura County congressional seat from Emily's List, a national group that helps pro-choice, Democratic women candidates in raising campaign money.

The organization announced Friday that it had bestowed “full recommendation” status on Brownley, giving her wide access to its more than 1 million members across the country.

Calling Brownley a “strong and progressive voice for California’s women and families,” Stephanie Schriock, the organization’s president, said in a release that Brownley “is running a fantastic campaign and the entire Emily’s List community is so proud to stand with her.”

Brownley’s main competition for the seat to represent California's 26th Congressional District is widely considered to be state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark). The only other woman on the ballot is Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, who recently switched her registration from Republican and is running as an independent. The other candidates are all Democrats — Realtor Albert Maxwell Goldberg, Port Hueneme Harbor Commissioner Jess Herrera and businessman David Cruz Thayne.

In another area congressional race, Emily’s List is supporting Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, who is under challenge for the 24th District seat from Republicans Abel Maldonado, a former California lieutenant governor and state senator, and Chris Mitchum, an actor and businessman. Law student Matt Boutte also is on the ballot, listing no party preference.

Emily's List has not taken sides in the clash between Democratic Reps. Janice Hahn of San Pedro and Laura Richardson of Long Beach to represent the newly drawn 44th District in southeastern Los Angeles County, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Emily's List said it raised more than $38.5 million during the 2009-10 election cycle for its mission of recruiting and supporting women candidates.


Man up' on budget, governor tells lawmakers

Ethics czar wants disclosure when campaigns pay bloggers

New lottery ad glamorizes violence, state lawmakers complain

-- Jean Merl

Photo: Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) with Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) last year. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

California Republicans endorse candidates

California Republicans over the weekend endorsed some congressional and legislative candidates in the June 5 primary.

The state party chose to back autism activist Elizabeth Emken among several little-known challengers to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).  It also named some favorites in congressional races with more than one GOP candidate, including Long Beach Councilman Gary DeLong in the 47th Congressional District.

The party also picked Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), who is being challenged by Catherine Wright, daughter of former state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley)  in the 25th District and state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark).  Among Strickland's several rivals for the 26th Congressional District is Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, who recently switched her registration from Republican to no party preference.

Some of the local GOP clubs differed from the state party in their choices. The Santa Barbara County Republican Party endorsed tea party leader Chris Mitchum over former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado. The state party did not endorse in the contest for the 24th District, where challengers will  try to unseat Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) in a newly drawn district.

The state party also made no endorsement in the 30th Congressional District, where veteran Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are waging a high-cost battle for a San Fernando Valley congressional seat. 

Two Republicans are running in that strongly Democratic district -- actor/businessman Mark Reed and author Susan Shelley. The Los Angeles County Republican party chose Reed, a conservative, over Shelley, a pro-choice moderate. That prompted Shelley to issue a news release highlighting Reed's "criminal record"  and attached a copy of the Superior Court index of his record. That included convictions for two weapons violations in 2010.


 A Fish and Game faux pas

Fish and Game official faces ethics complaint over hunting trip

Hunters show support for Fish and Game commissioner who killed cougar

-- Jean Merl

Photo: Pro-choice Susan Shelley lost to conservative Mark Reed for the Los Angeles County Republican Party's endorsement in the 30th Congressional District contest. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times



Candidate filing deadline extended through Wednesday in 53 races

The candidate filing period has been extended until the close of business Wednesday in 53 congressional and legislative offices, the California secretary of state's office said.

Filing closed for most June 5 contests on Friday but was extended in races for which no eligible incumbent was seeking reelection. Statewide, there are 35 such Assembly races and nine each for state Senate and U.S. Congress seats.

Locally, the filing period was extended in several contests expected to be hotly contested, including congressional races in the Long Beach area, Ventura County and Riverside County.


A Fish and Game faux pas

Fish and Game official faces ethics complaint over hunting trip

Hunters show support for Fish and Game commissioner who killed cougar

 -- Jean Merl


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...





Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: