Oil money, Mod Caucus, and the ghost of SB 350

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

With primary election day four weeks from tomorrow, we focus on candidates piling up endorsements and donors spending big money to mislead voters, and we veer into policy by citing editorials that discuss health. Policy. Now that’s a concept.

The ghost of the fight over SB 350 has emerged. That was Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León’s bill last year to cut petroleum use in half. The oilies know that the so-called moderate caucus in the Assembly killed the oil piece of de León’s bill.

To maintain the mod caucus’s clout, Chevron, Valero, Tesoro and California Resources Corp. pumped up a political action committee called Californians to Restore the Middle Class with $5.5 million.

At last count, Restore the Middle Class has spent $227,000 to elect Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry to the Assembly seat in Yolo and Napa counties held by Bill Dodd. It is spending hundreds of thousands more to thank Democratic Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown of San Bernardino and Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove.

Restore has spent $339,000 to help Assemblywoman Nora Campos, a mod Democrat, defeat non-mod Sen. Jim Beall for the Senate seat in San Jose, and $132,000 so far to restore former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra to the Assembly by defeating Patty Lopez, who knocked off Bocanegra in 2014.

It’s not over. The committee has $4 million to spend, moderately.

Take a number: $4.29 million

Bernie Sanders brings his presidential campaign/movement Monday to the home of the Republic FC, Bonney Field, and no doubt will gather more Golden State green. In March, Californians added $4.29 million to his coffers in increments of $200 or more. The next state on the list, New York, accounted for $1.8 million. Altogether, he has raised $13.9 million in donations of $200 or more. Hillary Clinton’s California haul: $30.3 million.

Our take

Editorial: Adults running California schools have resisted proven and common-sense ways to feed hungry kids.

Erika D. Smith: Attorney Mark Merin finds religion in his fight for homeless people.

Foon Rhee: However you measure it, too many are going hungry.

Dan Morain: Death penalty’s futility, as reflected in a cop killer’s death.

Their take

The L.A. Times says doctors are on the front lines of opioid addiction but aren’t doing enough to prevent it.

The Mercury News looks back at California’s historic anti-smoking week.

The Miami Herald lauds Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson for engaging on the Zika crisis in Florida, where there have been more than 100 documented cases, and questions the limp response by Congress and Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

Debra J. Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle worries about giving teenagers the vote. What starts in San Francisco rarely stays there.

Second take

Marcos Breton: If you vote for Donald Trump, you vote for what he stands for, all of it. Looking at you, Sheriff Scott Jones.

Alvaro Huerta writes about being one of eight kids of parents who spoke no English, and the importance of confronting Trump.

U.S. Senate endorsements

The Sacramento Bee: The U.S. Senate’s power to confirm Supreme Court justices informs our recommendation of Democrat Kamala Harris and Republican Duf Sundheim.

L.A. Times: Harris.

La Opinion: Harris.

Orange County Register: Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Bakersfield Californian: Harris and Sanchez.

Santa Cruz Sentinel: Harris and Sanchez.

And finally,

We can’t wait to witness Sacramento mayoral candidates Darrell Steinberg and Angelique Ashby debate today. Watch the live stream at sacbee.com.