Capitol Alert

Dems winning cash game + GOP demands Motor Voter freeze + Bera, Grant finally talk

Feinstein vs. de León: What do Democrats stand for in Congress today?

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her challenger, fellow Democrat Kevin de León, differed over the role of Democrats in Congress with Republicans in control there and in the White House.
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U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her challenger, fellow Democrat Kevin de León, differed over the role of Democrats in Congress with Republicans in control there and in the White House.


Control of the U.S. House is up for grabs in November, and Democratic chances of retaking it could very well be decided by a few tight races in California.

Latest quarterly campaign filings sent to the Federal Election Commission earlier this week show Democrats are largely winning the money battle throughout the state.

Of the 11 House races in California the Cook Political Report deems competitive, Democrats have more available cash in seven districts. Democratic candidates control nearly two-thirds of the $20 million left in available cash. The numbers do not include money PACs have left to spend — only what candidates have in their personal campaign committees.

Below is a breakdown of every candidate’s available cash and share of cash on hand as of Sept. 30:

District 4

Jessica Morse (D): $1,065,105

*Rep. Tom McClintock (R): $763,106

Total: $1,828,211 (58% Democratic)

District 7

*Rep. Ami Bera (D): $1,767,759

Andrew Grant (R): $72,467

Total: $1,840,226 (96% Democratic)

District 10

Josh Harder (D): $1,522,892

*Rep. Jeff Denham (R): $1,936,144

Total: $3,459,036 (56% Republican)

District 16

*Rep. Jim Costa (D): $715,914

Elizabeth Heng (R): $306,313

Total: $1,022,227 (70% Democratic)

District 21

TJ Cox (D): $504,884

*Rep. David Valadao (R): $1,651,051

Total: $2,155,935 (77% Republican)

District 25

Katie Hill (D): $2,360,305

*Rep. Steve Knight (R): $419,889

Total: $2,780,194 (85% Democratic)

District 39

Gil Cisneros (D): $282,911

Young Kim (R): $340,648

Total: $623,559 (55% Republican)

District 45

Katie Porter (D): $546,134

*Rep. Mimi Walters (R): $925,866

Total: $1,472,000 (63% Republican)

District 48

Harley Rouda (D): $1,495,174

*Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R): $505,897

Total: $2,001,071 (75% Democratic)

District 49

Mike Levin (D): $1,509,513

Diane Harkey (R): $189,615

Total: $1,699,128 (89% Democratic)

District 50

Ammar Campa-Najjar (D): $684,947

*Rep. Duncan Hunter (R): $247,461

Total: $932,408 (73% Democratic)

*Denotes incumbent


Democrats: $12,455,538

Republicans: $7,358,457

Total: $19,813,995 (63% Democrats)


More Republican lawmakers are calling on California to put a halt to the state’s Motor Voter program — which launched on April 23 to automatically register voters through the Department of Motor Vehicles. But the program is on the ropes, as Secretary of State Alex Padilla recently said a stop to Motor Voter is “certainly on the table.”

The idea comes after the DMV improperly registered thousands of voters, some of whom are believed to be non-citizens. As of Wednesday afternoon, seven Republicans have called for a halt to the program — including five within the last couple days.

  • Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno: ““If this isn’t an emergency with regard to the sanctity of our voter rolls, I don’t know what it is.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel: “All Californians should be concerned. It’s time to suspend the Motor Voter program until these issues can be addressed.”

  • Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield: “We are calling for the immediate halt to all voter registrations until an independent audit has been completed. If the DMV can’t even register our cars right, it has no business registering voters.”

  • Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach: “CA Democrats are trying to STEAL the November election with the fraudulent DMV motor voter program.”

  • Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber: “These are not small mistakes that can be ignored; legislators must fix this egregious error.”

  • Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills: “If the DMV is already overwhelmed with its current responsibilities, why are we adding yet another job that they clearly cannot handle that should be managed by the Secretary of State?”

  • Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa: No public statement at this time.

The pathway to a freeze is unclear. Patterson wants Gov. Jerry Brown to take executive action, while Nielsen is making plans to introduce legislation. Make sure to keep up with the most up-to-date timeline of the ongoing DMV saga. The latest “California Nation” podcast highlights some of the DMV’s recent troubles.


The U.S. House candidates running in California’s 7th Congressional District have agreed to what is being dubbed as a “conversation” between Democratic Rep. Ami Bera and Republican challenger Andrew Grant. Grant has long called for a debate, but he’ll have to settle for something different.

KVIE is hosting an hour-long prerecorded program that will air at 9 p.m. tonight. It will be taped this morning as part of a special episode of “Studio Sacramento” with host Scott Syphax.

During the first half of the show, Bera and Grant will field questions alongside one another. During the second half, each candidate will come out individually for a one-on-one conversation with Syphax.

Grant said he is actively considering pressing Bera on the air about not agreeing to more discussions or debates. At the same time, he said he wants to take advantage of the opportunity and be respectful to KVIE for helping to get the event going.

“He’s not allowing it to be called a ‘debate,’” Grant said of Bera. “At most, it’s a conversation about the future of District 7. … We have ballots that have already dropped, and I’ve had folks say, ‘Shucks, it would have been great to hear from you both before we made our decisions.”

Grant is at a major cash disadvantage, with just $72,000 in the bank, compared to Bera’s $1.8 million. FiveThirtyEight’s House forecast gives Grant a 1-in-143 chance of winning — or 0.3 percent.

“He’s certainly got more cash in the tiller and everyone’s feeling that,” Grant said.


It was a fairly tame “conversation” Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco between Sen. Dianne Feinstein and challenger Kevin de León. In case you missed it, here are a few takeaways via Bee reporter Alexei Koseff:

  • ATTACKS: De León seldom mentioned Feinstein by name, instead criticizing congressional Democrats more broadly for “backpedaling” in their fights with Republicans and President Donald Trump.

  • POLICY: Feinstein declined to sign onto a single-payer proposal. Rather, she said she wants to reduce the age of eligibility for Medicare to 55. De León called health care “a human right” and added, “I believe in Medicare for all, not Medicare for some.”

  • AGREE TO AGREE: At several points in the conversation, Feinstein said she agreed with de León. She differentiated herself during the debate by pointing to her seniority as a political veteran who could reach compromise and push forward liberal policies.


Assemblymember David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf are participating in a news conference at 9:30 a.m. today in Oakland to rally support for Proposition 1 — a $4 billion bond measure for housing. Mike Roth, a spokesman for the campaign supporting Proposition 1, said everyday California residents will also be in attendance to share their stories of struggles with housing affordability.


During Tuesday night’s Senate debate in Texas, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said his Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke, was the only Democratic Senate candidate who has called for Trump’s impeachment.

“Congressman O’Rourke is the only Democratic Senate nominee in the country who has explicitly come out for impeaching President Trump,” Cruz said during the debate.

But this is not accurate. Kevin de León, who is looking to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein in California, has also called for Trump’s impeachment. He told The Sacramento in June, “What this president has done easily surpasses what Richard Nixon did back in Watergate. … What I’ve seen to date easily, in my mind, qualifies for impeachment.”

In response to Cruz’s remarks, O’Rourke referenced Cruz’s role in a 2013 government shutdown. “Really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the U.S. Senate.”


Travis Allen (@JoinTravisAllen) — “.@JerryBrownGov and the CA Democrats are trying to STEAL the November election with the fraudulent DMV motor voter program. Already almost 25,000 people have been illegally registered to vote THAT THEY ADMIT. Sign up to STOP MOTOR VOTER FRAUD NOW!!”


Should California’s next governor scrap high-speed rail? Influencers have plenty to say.

“Given the exploding costs, it’s worth the next governor considering if billions for a fixed rail system makes sense in the 21st Century where the future looks like it is automated vehicles and hyper loops. Jerry was a futurist in his first term but not so much in his second.”

— Rob Stutzman, Founder and President, Stutzman Public Affairs

MUST-READ: 2.7 million Californians don’t have health insurance. Can that number go lower?

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