Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California Republicans welcome presidential debaters, cautiously

Republican presidential candidates from left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland.
Republican presidential candidates from left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. AP

The high probability that California’s 55 electoral votes will go the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 isn’t stopping the Republican primary show from alighting in Simi Valley tonight for another debate. Listen closely and you can hear not just the California Democratic Party’s expected criticism but, also, some caution from a California Republican establishment trying to recalibrate its message and expand its base.

It should be no surprise that the California Democratic Party is heaping on the scorn, creating a “GOPocalypse Response Team” that stands ready to castigate the GOP hopefuls for their expressed views on the economy, healthcare, climate change and immigration. This is, after all, the Democratic electoral apparatus in a state whose Senate spent the final moments of its legislative session hammering Donald Trump over his statements about Mexican immigrants. On Tuesday, U.S. Rep Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, attacked the candidates’ immigration views in a preemptive press call.

But Republicans are also taking pains to distance themselves from the wall-building, Mexicans-are-rapists rhetoric tossed about by some of the GOP hopefuls. Assembly minority leader Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank and Assemblyman Scott Wilk, who represents the district where the debate is taking place, released a “welcome” to the candidates, noting that “California’s uniqueness has provided Republicans an opportunity to embrace the diversity within our party and our state.

“We are also proud of the hard work and determination demonstrated by many immigrants who come here to make their California dreams come true,” their statement continues. “California Republicans have shown over the years that the GOP should be a party of inclusion, not exclusion.”

Trump has catapulted him to the top of the polls, but Republican politicians trying to reverse their decline in a minority-majority state – including the one running for the U.S. Senate – are trying to demonstrate that not everyone in the GOP is buying what he’s selling.

BIDEN TIME: Speaking of presidential politics, will-he-or-won’t-he vice president Joe Biden will be in Anaheim to talk up the solar industry at a huge industry expo. The oil industry may have forced a petroleum reduction mandate out of Senate Bill 350, but the climate change bill still would mandate that half of California’s electricity come from renewable sources – a huge boon for solar businesses seeking more growth, if not the rooftop solar firms whose electrons will not count despite their urging that it be otherwise.

Along the same lines, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, will be speaking at a Climate Leaders Summit in L.A. that will also feature Biden and yesterday hosted Gov. Jerry Brown.

BIRDS, BEES: We’ve moved from watching the Legislature passing bills to watching Gov. Jerry Brown to see if he’ll sign them. Today the American Civil Liberties Union is marshaling some teens to deliver signatures in support of Assembly Bill 329, which would require schools to provide sex education classes in grades 7-12 unless parents specifically opt out.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who turns 44 today and just might be getting birthday calls from members’ wives.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments