Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Showdown in hotly contested Assembly race

hamezcua@sacbee.com

Voters may still be recovering from Sunday’s presidential slugfest, but tonight 66th Assembly District denizens can see another debate in a fiercely contested race as candidates for one of the state’s top Assembly races square off at Torrance’s Toyota Hall.

The race presents a rematch between Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach, and the man he knocked off in 2014, former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi. The contest has drawn well over $1 million in party dollars and attracted abundant outside spending: Hadley has gotten help from Republican benefactors Bill Bloomfield and Charles Munger, Jr. (via his Spirit of Democracy California committee) and education reformers, while smaller sums have flowed for Muratsuchi from environmentalists, Planned Parenthood and public unions.

It has also featured the overarching Democratic game-plan of linking vulnerable Republicans to sometimes-toxic nominee Donald Trump. Muratsuchi has held multiple events outside the Republican ticket-topper’s golf course. That effort aside, Hadley hasn’t exactly been a far-right partisan. A Bee analysis found that he voted with Democrats 79 percent of the time, near the top of his caucus.

Still, primary voters sent him some discouraging signs: Muratsuchi out-polled Hadley by about four points – and that’s leaving out a second Democrat who claimed 6.7 percent of the total. The remaining 44.6 percent went to Hadley, who’s contending with a ten-point voter registration gap.

BY THE NUMBERS: Some Republican-held legislative seats have had significant gains in Democratic voter registration this year. Not so in the 66th. Democratic registration in the district increased by 1.74 percentage points between Jan. 5 and Sept. 6, lower than the change in 47 other Assembly districts. The 66th, though, had the second-highest Democratic registration of any GOP-held Assembly seat, and only slightly less than that of Assemblywoman Young Kim’s 65th Assembly District, where Democrats increased their share of the electorate by almost 5 percentage points.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: We got some bad news about gubernatorial pooch Sutter Brown yesterday, so take a walk back to happier times when we first met Sutter.

RENEWABLE, SIR: In going green, the military isn’t just thinking about uniforms. Paralleling a law compelling California to get half of its electricity from renewable sources, the Department of the Navy has committed to clean energy goals that likewise include getting at least half of shore-based energy from renewables (it turns out the Department of Defense is America’s single largest energy consumer). Today California officials and Navy brass will meet in Stanford to discuss energy goals, announce new energy projects at California Navy installations and sign a memorandum of understanding committing the Navy and the California Energy Commission to working together. Attendees are expected to include former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Dennis McGinn and California Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller.

WATCHDOGGED: The California Fair Political Practices Commission is hoping a new tool will make it easier to lodge complaints about political spending. Staff will unveil a streamlined new electronic complaint system and give a demo this morning. 10 a.m. at 428 J Street.

CELEBRATIONS: A big one today for Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, who turns 65.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 1:10 p.m. Oct. 12, 2016 to remove reference to an anti-Donald Trump ad in the Hadley-Muratsuchi race. That ad compared Trump to Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert. Jim Miller of the Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

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