Carly Fiorina’s father caught Richard Nixon’s eye

Good morning, on behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, the opinion-politics newsletter.

We open with a little of Carly Fiorina’s family history, move to billionaires funding super PACs, and offer a snippet about Sacramento’s race for mayor.

On Nov. 11, 1972, President Richard Nixon conferred with Chief of Staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and Chief Domestic Policy Adviser John D. Ehrlichman to contemplate his next U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

“He’s named Sneed. He’s a very classy Republican,” Ehrlichman says on the tape. “ ... I talked to him about busing and a lot of things, and he thinks straight.”

“Keep him in mind,” Nixon says.

Sneed was John Sneed, once dean of Nixon’s law school, Duke University, and Carly Fiorina’s father. If only Nixon didn’t resign in August 1974, before he could nominate another justice. Speaking of ifs, Sen. Ted Cruz says Fiorina, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from California in 2010, will be his vice presidential pick if he wins the nomination. A big if.

Take a number: $9.5 million

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics blogs that in March, six hedge fund moguls gave a combined $9.5 million to super PACs focused on the presidential sweepstakes.

Three gave to the super PAC backing Hillary Clinton: James Simons, listed by Forbes as worth $15.5 billion; George Soros, worth $24.5 billion; and Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager and newspaper owner.

Robert Mercer, whose worth is listed by Forbes at $12.5 billion, gave to a super PAC backing Ted Cruz. Paul Singer, worth $2.2 billion, and Cliff Asness, a hedge fund manager, gave to a super PAC opposing Donald Trump. After Tuesday’s results, there seems to be no stopping Trump.

Our take

Editorial: UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s situation worsens. Rather dramatically.

Editorial: Donald Trump tries to sound presidential but displays a dangerously incoherent foreign policy.

Erika D. Smith: Amit Prakash bought a Motel 6 on Stockton Boulevard and had no idea what he was getting into.

Their take

The Fresno Bee is not pleased with Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno and Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford, who are trying to kill the high-speed rail project.

The Modesto Bee lauds Assemblyman Adam Gray, and Sens. Anthony Cannella and Cathleen Galgiani, who pitched a fit after Merced was eliminated from the high-speed rail plan.

The L.A. Times lauds Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, for his Send-a-tweet-Pay-a-fine a bill.

The Kansas City Star warns that Gov. Sam Brownback may try to continue his reckless “march to zero” on income taxes; the Legislature must stomp out that bad idea.

Ned Barnett of The News & Observer of Raleigh writes that public education advocate Diane Ravitch thought about canceling her trip to North Carolina in protest of HB 2, but went and learned about how a state Legislature mishandles struggling schools.

Second take

David Guy: Stockton farmer Dean Cortopassi’s bad ballot measure would block local water projects.


E.J. Dionne Jr: Donald Trump doubles down on sexism.

Thomas L. Friedman: Out of Africa, Part 3.

Dana Milbank: Why Sanders will back Clinton.

Side take

Darrell Steinberg spent an hour-plus with The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board in an endorsement interview Wednesday. Among his topics: make Sacramento more focused on youths; better coordination of the fight against homelessness; an ambitious convention center expansion; and redoubling the city’s effort to work with UC Davis and Sacramento State to develop the city and region.

And finally ...

We’re scheduled to meet with Steinberg’s main rival, Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, on Thursday for an endorsement interview.