Capitol Alert

Kevin de León has five fundraisers this month for an office he’s not likely to seek

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25, 2016.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25, 2016. The Associated Press

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From regular appearances at international climate change conferences to his vocal leadership in California’s resistance to the Trump administration, Kevin de León has been steadily building his political profile during more than two-and-a-half years as president pro tem of the state Senate.

But for what exactly? The Los Angeles Democrat and his inner circle remain mum, even as the chatter grows ever louder over what office de León may pursue next when he terms out of the Senate in 2018.

That’s not to say he isn’t already preparing for...something. De León is a consistent fundraiser, who amassed more than $1.6 million in a lieutenant governor campaign account by the end of last year. He has at least five donor events planned this month alone, including one this evening at Ella on K Street. (Perhaps the most high-profile, in Los Angeles on June 30, has him slated to team up with former Gov. Gray Davis.)

It’s highly unlikely that money will actually go toward a bid for California’s second-in-command, though. Among the candidates already running for lieutenant governor is de León’s colleague, Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, who has scored endorsements from most of the Senate Democratic Caucus – such as Sen. Henry Stern, another Los Angeles Democrat set to appear at a Sunday brunch fundraiser for de León in Malibu on June 25.

So is de León waiting to see if U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein will retire next year? Will he eventually throw his name into the crowded Democratic field for governor, where a pair of frontrunners may be starting to pull away from the pack? Is the burst of fundraisers a way to help shore up support for Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, in a looming recall attempt?

We’re sorry to report we’re no closer to an answer today. De León’s political team did not respond to several inquiries about the events.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Artist Don Bachardy tells the story behind his infamous Capitol portrait of Gov. Jerry Brown.

THE LOVING KIND: Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in its landmark Loving v. Virginia decision that legalized interracial marriage across the country. (At the time, there were still 16, primarily Southern, states that prohibited people of different races from marrying.) It’s a date of particular significance for Assembly Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, who was born 45 years ago to an African-American father and a white mother. He and the California Legislative Black Caucus will mark the anniversary with a free screening of last year’s Oscar-nominated biopic, Loving, and a panel discussion on how the case, which was often cited as precedent in the legal fight over gay marriage, continues to resonate. The event begins with a reception, 5:30 p.m. at the Secretary of State Auditorium on 11th Street, followed by the panel discussion at 6 p.m. and the film at 6:30 p.m.

BY THE NUMBERS: California tax revenues for May totaled $8.39 billion, the Controller’s Office announced Friday, beating expectations by $133.4 million. But annual revenues continue to lag projections by nearly $1.3 billion as this fiscal year draws to a close. The biggest source of that is retail sales and use tax receipts, which are $992 million below 2016-17 budget assumptions through last month.

CALL THE SHOTS: If documentaries are more your thing, the television station Univision is also hosting a preview tonight of its new movie, ¡Salud! Yes, Please!, which follows comedian Grace Parra as she travels across California to learn about the state of health care. The showing kicks off at 6 p.m. at The California Endowment office on K Street, though the movie, which is in English with Spanish subtitles, begins at 6:30 p.m. A Q&A session with health experts follows at 7:15 p.m.

MUST READ: A recent increase to the gas tax and vehicle fees to raise money for road repairs is so unpopular with California voters that it could be major trouble for legislative Democrats in the 2018 election.

SOME KIND OF MIRACLE: Following a donation drive at the Capitol to collect menstrual products for homeless women, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, plans to deliver more than 4,000 tampons and pads to the nonprofit Women’s Empowerment on North A Street at 10 a.m.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Downey, who is 76 today. And belated well wishes to state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, who turned 61 on Saturday.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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