Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Was Tim Donnelly the year’s biggest California politics story?

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, announces he's running for governor at the Darafeev Furniture Factory in Baldwin Park on Nov. 5, 2013.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, announces he's running for governor at the Darafeev Furniture Factory in Baldwin Park on Nov. 5, 2013. The Associated Press

With only days left in 2014, now is a great opportunity to ask ourselves: How do we define the year that was?

According to the top stories on Capitol Alert, it’s defined by the high-profile arrest of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco; a controversial plastic bag ban that dominated the end of the Legislative session; and...the prospect of man’s best friend soon being able to join us at outdoor dining locations.

Here’s a look at the blog’s ten biggest headlines of the year, which features a surprising political player at the top of the list:

1. VIDEO: Boisterous GOP activists cheer Tim Donnelly (March, 16, 2014)

He may not have won the governorship, but during his sometime-quixotic run at the state’s highest office, former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, rallied serious support among the California Republican Party’s disaffected conservative base. At the party convention in March, Donnelly received an enthusiastic reception from attendees, who were excited by his call to “retire Jerry Brown and replace him with Tim Donnelly for governor."

That tea party-backed fervor wasn’t enough to propel Donnelly past the primary, but perhaps another elected office lies ahead for Donnelly. After terming out of the Assembly this year, he is still mulling future political opportunities.

The rest of the top ten:

2. Census Bureau: California still has highest U.S. poverty rate (Oct. 16, 2014)

3. California plastic bag ban signed, setting off sweeping changes (Sept. 30, 2014)

4. AM Alert: Jerry Brown burnishes climate change credentials at UN summit (Sept. 23, 2014)

5. Jerry Brown signs bill allowing dogs at restaurants (Aug. 21, 2014)

6. Jerry Brown urges ‘religious call ... to welcome the stranger’ in border crisis (July 28, 2014)

7. John A. Pérez halts effort to overturn California's Prop. 209 (March 17, 2014)

8. READ: 'Uncle Leland' involved in arms deal, FBI affidavit alleges (March, 26, 2014)

9. Bera beats Ose in high-priced congressional race (Nov. 19, 2014)

10. Ex-con 'Shrimp Boy' linked to Yee arrest was honored by elected officials (March 26, 2014)

THE FAT LADY SINGS: After decking of the halls the Capitol with a seasonal soundtrack for nearly a month, the annual holiday concert series comes to an end today with a performance by the Caltrans Cone Zone Ensemble at 11:30 a.m. in the rotunda.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

  Comments