Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Ami Bera, Doug Ose square off for congressional debate

After unseating Republican incumbent Dan Lungren in 2012 by about 9,000 votes, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove is once again locked in a tight race for re-election. His contest with Republican businessman Doug Ose, a former congressman from 1999-2005, is being watched closely nationwide, with huge outside spending as Republicans target the district for a pick-up this November.

Ose has criticized Bera for his support of the Affordable Care Act, while Bera has accused Ose of seeking a return to Congress in order to benefit himself financially. Arguments over Social Security and Medicare, jobs and the economy, and the drought have also factored into the campaign.

Look for Bera and Ose to raise those and other issues when they come together tonight for their only debate of the race, sponsored by The Sacramento Bee, KVIE-TV, Capital Public Radio, Los Rios Community College District, Folsom Lake College and the Sacramento State Center for California Studies. The debate will air at 7 p.m. on KVIE, and The Bee will have full online coverage before and after, including a live blog moderated by Dan Walters.

Christopher Cadelago has a preview of the debate in today’s paper, including an in-depth look at the candidates’ spending, policy positions and claims about each other.

VIDEO: Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is the latest example of Indian Americans' rising prominence in California politics, Dan Walters says.

GET OUT THE VOTE: Is Gov. Jerry Brown embarking on an election intervention tour? After stumping yesterday for Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva in Irvine, he’s scheduled to appear this morning with another Democratic politician facing a tough re-election battle. Brown will join state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson for the ribbon-cutting of a new fitness center at Katherine R. Smith Elementary School in San Jose at 10 a.m.

GOVERNING PASSIONS: Politics seems more steeped in hate – or, at least, partisan animosity – than love, but apparently amorous feelings also have their place in the government machine. The California State Library sponsors a talk on “the unlikely relationship between love and government documents,” 5:30 p.m. at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building on Capitol Mall.

A FOND FAREWELL: Longtime Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, announced his retirement this January after 40 years in the House. In a conversation hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California, Miller will discuss his four decades of service and what he expects from Congress in the years ahead, 6:30 p.m. at the Lafayette Library in Lafayette.