Capitol Alert

Recall Jerry Brown in his last year? ‘Better late than never,’ group says

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a press conference on July 17.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a press conference on July 17. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Could California have two gubernatorial elections in 2018?

One is already set for November, when voters will elect a successor to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is terming out after his second stint in the state’s highest office. But conservative activists, hoping to send a message about their place in California politics by cutting his storied career a few months short, are planning to launch on Friday a recall campaign that would put him on the ballot again one more time next spring.

“Why not?” said Rachel Gunther, a retired microbiologist from Long Beach and executive director of the Make California Great PAC. “We’ve done nothing to stop him. He’s been there for seven years with no push back. We look at it from the standpoint of better late than never.”

Gunther said her group, which was organized by California Trump campaign volunteers, represents residents who feel that life in the Golden State has become too difficult because of taxes and over-regulation. She cites this year’s gas tax increase and cap-and-trade extension, as well as Brown’s approval of “sanctuary state” legislation, as particular offenses.

Recalling Brown, she said, sends a message to the next governor that conservatives should have some representation in Sacramento, where Democrats hold every statewide office and a two-thirds supermajority in the Legislature: “The conservatives in California don’t have a voice. Whether this recall is a success or not, we need to have our voices heard.”

The effort is a tremendous longshot; Make California Great PAC would have to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to qualify their recall, then wage a multimillion-dollar battle against the state’s most powerful political figure. The group has not reported any contributions to the secretary of state or lined up a major donor to bankroll its campaign, nor has it reached out to the Trump team for assistance, though Gunther said it has already received tens of thousands of dollars from grassroots supporters.

“Basically, this is a hail Mary pass,” she said. “It’s basically a rallying cry to our base that enough is enough.”

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WORTH REPEATING: “So far I think they’ve been a very good partner.” – Brown, on the Trump administration’s disaster assistance to California

ONE FOR THE MAMAS: Brown has frequently been criticized in recent years, by female lawmakers and others, for vetoing legislation aimed at helping working women and parents in California – from expanded family leave to a sales tax exemption for tampons. Thursday, however, he’s prepared to sign “legislation to increase services and support for California’s women, children and families.” Which bills? It’s a secret. But he’ll be joined by members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus for a signing ceremony, 10 a.m. at Women’s Empowerment homeless shelter on North A Street.

MUST READ: Could Tom Steyer take a shot at Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat in 2018?

IM-PORT-ANT BUSINESS: Sen. Kamala Harris continues her latest swing through California with a visit to Stockton, where she will join Mayor Michael Tubbs at 2:45 p.m. to deliver the keynote address at the San Joaquin Valley Leadership Conference. Then at 3:50 p.m., she will tour the Port of Stockton to discuss the “damaging impact President Trump’s budget would have on transportation, goods movement and workforce development.”

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Brown addresses the devastation of the wildfires sweeping through California.

RAISE THE ROOF: California State University wraps up its second annual symposium on its Graduation Initiative 2025 today. Representatives from CSU’s 23 campuses are gathering in Long Beach to discuss strategies for meeting an ambitious goal, set last year, to double four-year graduation rates to 40 percent over the next decade. CSU said yesterday that its efforts already produced an increase of 7,000 degrees awarded in the 2016-17 academic year.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, who is 66 today. And early well wishes to state Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, who turns 65 on Saturday, and to Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, who turns 51 on Saturday.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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