Capitol Alert

He lost his race last year. Now he’s going after seven Republicans

Michael Eggman, candidate for Congress is pictured Oct. 24, 2016 at his downtown Modesto campaign office.
Michael Eggman, candidate for Congress is pictured Oct. 24, 2016 at his downtown Modesto campaign office.

From his hundred-year-old farmhouse and apiary in Turlock, former Democratic congressional candidate Michael Eggman has been abuzz with election plans. He’s announcing today the creation of Red to Blue California – a new political action committee with the goal of unseating seven incumbent California members of Congress currently representing districts carried by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election.

Eggman, a full-time almond farmer and beekeeper in California’s Central Valley, plans to raise $7 million through his PAC, to be spread among the seven congressional districts he’s targeting in his effort to build a bench of Democratic leaders across California.

“As California goes, so goes the rest of the country,” Eggman said, echoing what he hopes will be the motto and effect of the campaign.

Seven Republicans sent to the House in 2016 – Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford, Steve Knight of Lancaster, Ed Royce of Fullerton, Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel, Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Darrell Issa of Vista – all won by margins of under 20 percentage points. The most contested races were waged between Knight and Bryan Caforio (with a 6.3-point margin of victory), Issa and Douglas Applegate (.5 of a point) and Denham and Eggman (3.4 points).

That’s right – for Eggman, it’s a little personal. Having lost to Denham in two straight congressional elections, he said he wants to provide for future candidates something he didn’t have. In addition to $1 million in support, he’ll act as a mentor, helping them navigate a congressional campaign and find support from voters on the margins, the no-party-preference registrants: “Resources are finite and elections are won and lost in the margins.”

Eggman’s not the only Democrat in California gearing up to challenge the “California Seven” – last week, former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher and California Democratic strategist Katie Merrill launched Fight Back California, a PAC aimed at refocusing spending on elections by California Democrats back into California, and at engaging with ticket-splitting voters.

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WORTH REPEATING: “Speaker Rendon says that SB 562 is ‘woefully incomplete.’ California State Senate Republicans agree.”

– Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel

CAR IN THE SHOP: After weeks of heat between legislators and community members about the passage of a gas tax and registration fee, Caltrans is hosting the first of two workshops today in Los Angeles, inviting public comment on how planning grants should be allocated under Senate Bill 1, or the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Representatives from Caltrans will field suggestions for how the organization should pump $25 million in annual grants into communities for transportation planning, and $20 million over three years into agencies supporting climate change adaptation. If you’re keen on getting your voice heard, come to the Gateway Center in Los Angeles at 11:00 a.m. A second workshop in Sacramento happens Tuesday at the Caltrans Headquarters, 1120 N Street, 11:00 a.m.

DOCTOR, DOCTOR: Whenever you have complaints about your health plan – and soon you well might – it’s the Department of Managed Health Care that handles it redirecting your call and inquiry to wherever it needs to go. This same agency is sponsoring a public meeting today to get input on the development of methodology to properly calculate payment rates for some types of non-contracted doctors. If you’re one such doctor, someone well-versed in dispute resolution processes or another stakeholder, consider attending at 980 Ninth St. in Sacramento, at 1:30 p.m.

MUST READ: $5,000 on trash cans? Ask the BOE.

WEARING WHITE: Assemblymen Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, and Mike Gipson, D-Carson, and Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, are hosting a White Suit Day wine reception today, celebrating the yearly change in seasonal fashion marked by the start of summer that makes wearing a white suit socially acceptable through Labor Day. The event is open to Assembly and Senate staff members, and though it’ll still be hot, begins at 5 p.m.

CELEBRATE: The Bee wishes a happy belated birthday to Gipson, who turned 51 on Sunday.

Editor’s note: This alert has been corrected to reflect that the Department of Managed Health Care is holding a public meeting on payment rates for some types of non-contracted doctors.

Rennie Svirnovskiy, 916-321-1013, @RennieYS