Capitol Alert

GOP Chair’s comments on California’s ‘mess’ + De León’s new ad + Inmates gas guards

Why Republicans say Democrats have made a mess of California

See why California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte thinks Democrats have made a mess leading California. He was interviewed by The Sacramento Bee's Capitol Bureau, Tuesday, September 18, 2018.
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See why California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte thinks Democrats have made a mess leading California. He was interviewed by The Sacramento Bee's Capitol Bureau, Tuesday, September 18, 2018.


California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte sat down with reporters and editors at The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Bureau on Tuesday, fielding dozens of wide-ranging questions. Here are five moments that stood out:

  • On what Democratic control of California has meant for state: “The reasons the Democrats want to talk about Donald Trump is because, after almost eight full years of control, they’ve kind of made a mess of this state.”
  • On the long wait for an official vote tally after Election Day: “If we passed a law that said registrars of voters were on the ballot every two years, they would be a lot more interested in making sure the ballots were counted in a timely manner.”
  • On Motor Voter registration issues at the DMV and accusations of voter fraud: “Voter fraud is not anywhere near as prevalent as Republicans believe it is, but it’s a hell of a lot more prevalent than Democrats think it is. The Democrats killed the audit of the DMV, and I think it’s clear they didn’t want the DMV audited because they didn’t like what we would’ve found.” Brulte also noted he “wouldn’t disagree with Cox” calling for DMV Director Jean Shiomoto’s resignation.
  • On internal rift within the Republican Party over whether the party should go toward a more conservative direction or more to the center: “I think there’s a place for both. … I welcome what Travis (Allen) is doing. I welcome what Chad (Mayes) is doing. Anything that talks to people about Republicans and our values is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
  • On why he’s not running again for chairman and who he wants as his successor: “It’s time for the next generation to come in and take us to the next level. I’ve appointed David Hadley as vice chair because I think he can do the job.”


Kevin de León may be the underdog to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, but he is pulling no punches in a new digital ad. The three-minute ad released on Tuesday has a cinematic feel to it. De León shares his personal story growing in a single-parent household. His mother was an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who cleaned homes in Southern California.

Halfway through the ad, de León narrates that he “never imagined the world of today.” The video then cuts to Immigration and Customs Enforcement separating his boyish self from his mother. “How would my life change if they had taken her away from me?” he asks, as the boy on screen cries out for his mom.

De León’s campaign then transitions to clips of Feinstein from the 1990s criticizing “illegal immigrants who come here and commit felonies.” De León promoted the ad on his social media channels, but he will face an uphill battle getting his message across to voters. By the end of June, his campaign reported having just $425,000 in available cash, compared to Feinstein’s campaign having nearly $4 million. De León spokesman Jonathan Underland said the campaign has no plans to air the ad beyond social media.


Gov. Jerry Brown signed 53 bills and vetoed nine others on Tuesday. A couple notable vetoes included Senate Bill 947 and Assembly Bill 1947.

State Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, wanted to promote digital literacy in public schools. SB 947 would have required California’s superintendent of public instruction to assemble a group to draft suggestions for schools to incorporate media literacy skills into their curricula. In a veto message, Brown wrote that the responsibility of how to educate students should be left to local school districts.

Brown also vetoed a bill from Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell. Low’s bill would have prohibited petition circulators from paying people on a per-signature basis to collect signatures for initiative, referendum or recall petitions. Brown explained in his veto message that he opposed a similar bill in 2011 and said he still believes eliminating the option of per-signature payment would “drive up the cost of circulating ballot measures” and further favor “the wealthiest interests.” Low said in a statement that he disagrees with Brown’s decision.

“Our initiative process if being held back by major flaws that weaken its integrity,” Low said. “I still believe that eliminating payments per signature is an important step. … I won’t give up on trying to reform a system that I believe can eventually work for all of California.”


A new report released Tuesday says correctional officers need stronger protections from inmates who throw bodily fluids at them in “gassing” attacks. In a public letter, State Auditor Elaine Howle wrote that the three facilities in question should make improvements to “provide all available aftercare to victims of gassing attacks, investigate such attacks more quickly and thoroughly, and better prevent and respond to gassing attacks.”

According to the report, 111 gassing attacks occurred at the prisons last year. The report urges district attorneys to prosecute more inmates. If proven guilty of aggravated battery, the inmate could face an additional two to four years to his or her current sentence.


Tom Torlakson, California’s outgoing superintendent of public instruction, is holding a small thank you gathering from 8-10 a.m. today at Chicory. Colleagues and supporters will be celebrating Torlakson’s years in elected office.


Congressman Ted Lieu (@TedLieu) — “Dear @AriFleischer: The answer to your question is yes. Suppose the sexual assault was part of Kavanaugh’s record. Would he have been nominated to the Supreme Court? No. Would Yale even have accepted him? No. Get it yet?”


Can rent control solve the housing crisis? Influencers have plenty to say.

“It’s time to get radical about California’s shortage of affordable housing. We dream big in California so I’d like to see a citizens competition to dream up big solutions to this problem that offer radical game-changing ideas that can solve this problem in a short period of time. In the meantime, Pass Prop 10, be a YIMBY and say yes to affordable housing especially near transit centers, support public transportation projects that make it possible for people to afford housing AND survive their commute to work without greater urban density, overturn Prop 13.”

— Lara Bergthold, principal partner, RALLY Communications

MUST-READ: Feinstein was right to withhold Kavanaugh letter, accuser’s attorney says

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Carlos Gutierrez, deputy director and general counsel at LGBT Tech, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., believes a new bill is needed to regulate the internet to protect gay and lesbian Americans.

Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow and former speechwriter for Gov. Pete Wilson, evaluates the impact the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle will have on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s re-election prospects.

Donna Norton, executive vice president of, a national advocacy group, wants Gov. Jerry Brown to sign Senate Bill 1192. She views the bill as an essential step to improving the health of California children.


Jack Ohman takes a quick shopping trip with Donald Trump.