Capitol Alert

Gas tax repeal gets more cash from California GOP

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., prepares to comment on the government shutdown during a TV interview at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., prepares to comment on the government shutdown during a TV interview at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. AP

California Congressman Kevin McCarthy doubled down on his fight to roll back California's gas tax increase this year.

Federal financial disclosures reveal McCarthy donated $100,000 in late February to the political group seeking to put a gas tax repeal measure to a vote in November. The deadline for proponents to turn in signatures for the initiative is May 21.

McCarthy already donated $100,000 from his campaign account back in October, making the Bakersfield Republican one of the largest donors to Give Voters a Voice, as the committee supporting the initiative is known.

In all, McCarthy and a handful of congressional colleagues delivered more than $300,000 for the repeal effort during the first three months of 2018, as they seek to energize the state's Republican voters ahead of what's expected to be a tough election in November.

Party strategists in California fear the GOP base may just stay home if the party fails to qualify candidates for the general election for governor and U.S. senator.

The chance to roll back the gas tax, which Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last year, could spark more conservative interest in the election.

Among the other California Republicans donating to the ballot initiative campaign: Rep. Devin Nunes of Fresno, who kicked in $50,000 from his campaign account in January, and Riverside-area Rep. Ken Calvert, who donated $50,000 in March.

Rep. Mimi Walters also gave $115,000 from her campaign committee and political action committee to the ballot initiative campaign in January and February, despite facing what promises to be an expensive re-election campaign.

The Orange County Republican has made opposition to the gas tax increase a central talking point in recent months. Including her latest contributions, Walters has given a total of $169,000 to the repeal campaign since September.

Reps. Doug La Malfa of Shasta County and Steve Knight, who represents a chunk of Los Angeles County, also chipped in smaller sums in January.

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