There are news days, and then there are NEWS days. There’s so much to dive into. Let’s get right to it...
WHO WILL LEAD THE CA GOP?
California Republicans will select their next leader at the party’s Feb. 22-24 convention. Lost in the news cycle this week was a major development. David Hadley, vice chairman of the CA GOP, told supporters he’d withdraw from the race.
“I no longer believe that I can prevail on February 24 while still running a campaign to unify the delegates and walk forward together after the convention,” Hadley wrote in an email to his supporters. “As a result, I have decided to suspend my campaign for chair, and to release my many endorsers and supporters to evaluate other candidates.”
Activist Steve Frank and former Assemblyman Travis Allen are the two remaining candidates at this time, and Allen is the presumptive favorite.
But some California political insiders believe another candidate will soon emerge.
A representative for political consultant Jessica Patterson would not confirm the any details, but said Patterson would be making an announcement in the coming days. She is expected to have the backing of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Republican political consultant Mike Madrid is displeased with all the available options because of their strong support for President Donald Trump. California Republicans lost seven of their seats in the House of Representatives in November’s midterm election. Madrid worries Allen will lead the party down the wrong path if he’s elected.
“The path that he’s pursuing is obviously flawed, and it’s not going to work,” Madrid said of Allen. “He wants to stay relevant. There ‘s plenty of people in Republican politics who want to be captain of the Titanic.”
Madrid fear the California GOP “will be broke within six months because the donor community as it exists will completely abandon the party.”
We are back with a new podcast episode coming out later today! On this week’s show, I chat with Democratic leaders to find out what’s in store for the next year.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and state Senate leader Toni Atkins talk about their priorities for the new legislative session. Later in the show, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, discusses his new role as chairman for the House Intelligence Committee. He evaluates the president’s dislike for California, talks about investigations he plans to pursue and even offers insight into his 2020 plans (or lack thereof).
Maddy Ashmun emails...
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a champion for legislative redistricting, is leading a summit on gerrymandering today at USC. It kicks off at 10 a.m.
Schwarzenegger traveled across the country last year to secure support for redistricting efforts in four states. The three-hour “Terminate Gerrymandering” summit will feature conversations with political players and academic experts.
TRUMP THREATENS TO WITHHOLD FEMA $
Yuba County is Donald Trump territory. The president defeated Hillary Clinton there by 23 percentage points, and you would be hard-pressed to find a Republican who will harshly criticize him.
But Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, found himself in an unusual spot Tuesday, as the president threatened to withhold FEMA funds for victims of the Camp Fire.
“Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen,” Trump tweeted. “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”
Trump’s statement surprised Gallagher.
“This came out of nowhere when we’ve been working together really well,” Gallagher said. “He saw the devastation and said, ‘We’re gonna be here for you.’ The statement he put out this morning is shocking to us. It’s tone deaf to what we’re going through right here.”
Gallagher and state Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, also replied with a harsh statement.
“The president’s threat to withhold FEMA funds from California is wholly unacceptable,” the two Republicans wrote. “He made a commitment to the people who have lost everything in these fires, and we expect the federal government to follow through with this promise.”
TOM STEYER RULES OUT PRESIDENTIAL RUN
Tom Steyer announced in Iowa on Wednesday that he will NOT be running for president. Instead, he will spend 2019 ramping up his efforts to get Trump impeached.
Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria announced in a video Wednesday he is running to become San Diego’s next mayor. In the video, he highlighted issues he feels are most important to the local community: climate change, housing affordability and transportation.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Assemblyman James Gallagher: “A statement from @CASenatorJim and I regarding @realDonaldTrump’s tweet regarding FEMA funding for CA fire victims.”