Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Race between Ami Bera and Scott Jones down to the wire

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and his Republican challenger, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, participate in a debate for the highly competitive 7th Congressional District seat at the KVIE television studios in Sacramento on Oct. 18, 2016.
Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and his Republican challenger, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, participate in a debate for the highly competitive 7th Congressional District seat at the KVIE television studios in Sacramento on Oct. 18, 2016. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is polling so poorly in California that Democratic candidates are seriously challenging for some of the state’s 14 Republican-held House seats.

But there’s still one congressional Democrat fighting for his political life: Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove, whose purple district in suburban Sacramento County has drawn more than $7 million in outside spending this cycle.

The race is always too close to call – Bera won in 2014 by fewer than 1,500 votes – and this year’s battle against Republican Scott Jones, where both candidates are hobbled by personal scandal, is another slugfest. So Bera has been calling on friends in high places to help pull him through to reelection.

The latest is California Attorney General Kamala Harris. On a bus tour through California to rally with battleground legislative and congressional candidates in the days before the election, part of her own campaign for U.S. Senate, Harris will stop by Bera headquarters in Elk Grove at 1:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter Sacramento is on a mission to stop Jones, the Sacramento County sheriff, whose department they say mistreated inmates and used excessive force in the 2015 death of Adrienne Ludd.

The activist group is planning a rally protest outside the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department office on G Street starting at 8 a.m. They previously rallied outside Jones’ Carmichael campaign office in July.

WORTH REPEATING: “In the meantime, voters can still take a selfie with their ‘I Voted’ sticker.” - California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, after a federal judge rejected a last-minute legal challenge to the state’s “ballot selfie” ban.

THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US: From having to name contributors of at least $50,000, to specifications on the size and font of mailer text, California has strict disclosure rules for political advertisements. But how much effect do these disclaimers really have on voters and any extra scrutiny they bring to the (mis)information they’ve just read or heard? Very little, according to Matt Lesenyie, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at UC Davis. He will present his research on advertising disclosures, noon at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

SUGAR, WE’RE GOIN’ DOWN: He’s already contributed millions of dollars, filmed an ad and enlisted his dog in the effort. Now Gov. Jerry Brown is taking to the streets against Proposition 53, which would require voter approval for any state project using more than $2 billion in revenue bonds. Brown, whose legacy Delta tunnels proposal could be undermined by the initiative, will join firefighters and local public officials to urge Californians to reject the measure, 10 a.m. at the United Firefighters Headquarters in Los Angeles.

LEADER OF THE PACK: After taking more than 58 percent of the vote in the primary, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, doesn’t seem to be too worried about winning reelection. This weekend, he’s headed to the International Leadership Association’s Global Conference, a four-day summit on “inclusive leadership” that kicks off today in Atlanta, where Cooley has been invited to discuss his strategies for starting conversations about change and shared ideals.

BY THE NUMBERS: California Assembly and state Senate candidates on next week's ballot had spent at least $91.2 million heading into the final two weeks of campaigning, recent financial reports show. Almost one-quarter of the spending this election cycle came in the 27 days leading up to the Oct. 22 close of the last filing period. Not surprisingly, the top spenders are all running in tough races. Two Democrats trying to reclaim Assembly seats they lost in 2014 – Al Muratsuchi of Torrance and Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton – reported spending $1.3 million and $1.1 million during the last filing period, respectively. Among Republicans, Assemblywomen Catharine Baker of Dublin, and Young Kim of Fullerton had spent $833,000 and $815,000 during that time. The spending totals exclude transfers between a candidate's different accounts and contributions to other campaign committees, to avoid double-counting.

Click here to go to The Money Trail.


Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff. Jim Miller of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

  Comments