Capitol Alert

Republican John Cox regrets not voting for Donald Trump

California gubernatorial candidate John Cox speaks during the California Republican Party convention Saturday, May 5, 2018, in San Diego. Republican delegates from California heard from candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general Saturday in San Diego at their convention, which continues through Sunday.
California gubernatorial candidate John Cox speaks during the California Republican Party convention Saturday, May 5, 2018, in San Diego. Republican delegates from California heard from candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general Saturday in San Diego at their convention, which continues through Sunday. Associated Press

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox this week made his strongest public statement yet in an attempt to appeal to California's Trump supporters ahead of Election Day on June 5.

Cox, who didn't vote for Donald Trump for president, said at a debate Tuesday night that he regrets that decision. "I wasn't sure he's a conservative. I am now, he's a conservative."

The moment underscores the intraparty fight between Cox and his Republican rival from Orange County, Assemblyman Travis Allen. Both are trying to lure voters from one another to be competitive for a second place slot in the November general election, behind frontrunner Gavin Newsom. Without uniting behind one candidate, the Republican Party in California, with about a quarter of the state's total registered voters — risks being splintered and sending two Democrats to the runoff.

Newsom also wants Republican voters to get behind Cox or Allen. "Either one of these will do," Newsom said at the debate, motioning to both Republicans. A Democrat-on-Republican runoff would give Newsom a clear shot at winning the governor's race in a state dominated by Democrats.

Cox also expressed strong support for Trump's campaign promise of building a U.S.-Mexico border wall, saying "this is about criminals and human trafficking, drugs, guns. So yes, a wall is important." Allen said he too supports the president's idea.

What about Newsom? "The wall is a monument to stupidity," he said, pushing for California to lead on comprehensive immigration reform. The other Democratic candidates, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang and Delaine Eastin, also said they don't support it.

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WILDFIRE PLANNING: A top Pacific Gas and Electric Co. official is set to brief California's Board of Forestry and Fire Protection in Santa Rosa on the company's plan to reshape its wildfire risk plan following the deadly 2017 wildfires.

Neil Fischer, an electric operations risk manager with the power giant, is expected to present changes underway to help mitigate wildfires, including creation of a wildfire safety operations center capable of monitoring risks, efforts to better protect utility infrastructure and installation of a company-owned and operated weather station to help predict hazardous conditions.

The full meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa in Santa Rosa.

WATER & PARKS BOND: Democratic Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia and supporters of Proposition 68, a $4 billion parks and water bond on the June ballot, are holding a rally Saturday in Coachella.

The bond would authorize the state to borrow $4 billion for water, parks and conservation projects. The rally begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Rancho Las Flores Park in Coachella.

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