/Recall countdown – POLITICO – Politico

Recall countdown – POLITICO – Politico


RECALL COUNTDOWN: The first recall timing domino just fell.

Democratic legislative leaders said today they’ll waive the legislature’s 30-day window to review recall costs, paving the way for an earlier contest to decide Gov. Gavin Newsom’s fate.

Many initially expected the election to occur in late fall, perhaps around the first Tuesday in November that serves as Election Day in even-numbered years. But mid-September to early October is now the surest bet.

Some Democrats suggest that Newsom would benefit from an earlier recall based on recent polling strength and growing voter confidence in California’s emergence from Covid-19. The deeper you go into the fall, the more you risk bad wildfires, weeks of smoke-filled skies and a potential resurgence of the coronavirus. Or so the theory goes.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon made the call after getting a $215 million recall price tag estimate today from Newsom’s Department of Finance. That figure accounts for the amount that 58 counties say they need to run the special election this year. It was a bit surprising to see the leaders so quickly move to waive the cost-review window, but they also said they will reimburse counties in the upcoming budget bill.

Two more major timing variables remain. One lies in the hands of Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Newsom ally who will choose an election date 60 to 80 days from the time the recall is certified by the state’s elections chief. The Department of Finance has control of the other variable — whether to condense or eliminate its own 30-day window to review recall costs. And Newsom has sway with both arbiters.

Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer wouldn’t say much when asked how many of those 30 days his department will need. Palmer did toss in one wild card: State law says Finance also must come up with a second price tag for consolidating the election with the next regularly scheduled election — even though everyone knows that’s not going to happen.

So the date could depend on whether Finance wants to break out slide rules and abacuses to do that second calculation.

HAPPY THURSDAY AFTERNOON! Welcome to California PM Playbook, a new POLITICO newsletter that serves as an afternoon temperature check of California politics and a look at where the surplus dollars are headed this budget season. We’ll now go through June 17 before returning in August for the legislative homestretch. Got tips or suggestions? Shoot an email to [email protected] and [email protected] or send a shout on Twitter. DMs are open!

FAULCONER BOOST: The California recall air wars are intensifying as an independent expenditure committee drops some major coin on Republican candidate Kevin Faulconer. Fund for a Better California has spent $1.2 million to purchase airtime in the Sacramento and Los Angeles media markets, according to Ad Impact’s advertising tracker.

Fund for a Better California is primarily financed by real estate agent Gerald Marcil, a regular contributor to Republican causes and candidates both within California and nationally, and a real estate LLC. While the content of the advertisements was not immediately clear, the organization was created specifically to buoy Faulconer’s gubernatorial run. A representative of the PAC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego, has positioned himself as the choice of California’s Republican establishment and accumulated endorsements from various Republican elected officials. Support from a deep-pocketed mainstay of California Republican politics like Marcil could solidify that position.

The only other candidate to get seven-figure spending so far is John Cox, who self-funded $4.7 million in ads featuring him and a 1,000-pound bear.

DUCKING THE TRUMP QUESTION: Reality TV star and recall candidate Caitlyn Jenner hasn’t spent much on ads, but she’s still getting plenty of free air time. On “The View” this morning, Jenner was asked if she thought Trump won or lost the 2020 election.

“I’m not going to get into that. That election is over with. I think Donald Trump did some good things,” she responded.

Host Joy Behar pressed further: “But did he win?”

“He was a disrupter when he was president. I want to do the same thing. I want to go in and be a thoughtful disrupter in Sacramento. We need to change the system. I want to change that system for the positive.”

Just a guess, but the Newsom camp may already be writing the fundraising emails and cutting ads off that clip alone. Say what you will about outsiders, telling voters you want to “do the same thing” as Trump isn’t going to get you very far in California.

YOUR HONOR: Newsom teed off today on U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who struck down California’s assault weapons ban Friday and equated AR-15s to “a Swiss Army Knife.”

Newsom dropped a bunch of one-liners at a San Francisco event to highlight the state’s appeal of the decision.

He called Benitez a “stone-cold ideologue” and said his decisions are “press releases on behalf of the gun lobby.” He said that if the magazine Guns & Ammo had an editorial page, it could just run Benitez rulings in that spot. He said the judge was a “wholly-owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association.”

California Rifle and Pistol Association President C.D. Michel responded by accusing Newsom of “tyranny” of the kind Benitez’s family fled Cuba to escape. “Now that Judge Benitez ruled against Gavin Newsom, he is shamefully attacking a federal judge with politicized falsehoods because Newsom got a result he didn’t like.”

BACK TO LIFE: A California state lawmaker reached into his bag of tricks today to revive a controversial tax-hike on firearms and ammunition sales that failed on the Assembly floor last week just before a key deadline.

Assemblymember Marc Levine added to his bill what’s known as an “urgency clause,” which would make it take effect immediately if signed into law. Bills with urgency clauses also enjoy more leeway with legislative deadlines, which Levine is hoping will help him revive AB 1223.

But for his plan to work, lawmakers in the Assembly will need to forgive AB 1223’s blown deadline by suspending a legislative rule known as Joint Rule 61. Even if they do, the bill will face tough odds. California tax measures need to clear a two-thirds vote threshold, and the bill — which would levy a 10 percent tax on the sale of handguns and a 11 percent tax on long guns, rifles, ammunition and firearm parts — was eight votes shy last week. — Alexander Nieves

Links compiled by Katy Murphy

Nearly all of the Bay Area is in the worst drought category. (San Francisco Chronicle)

— State and local officials in California are encouraging rebuilding in areas ravaged by wildfires, a new report finds. (Associated Press)

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin said he will receive treatment for alcohol use after berating a department head at a public meeting and other concerning behavior. (San Francisco Chronicle)

— The murder trial of multimillionaire real estate heir Robert Durst faces yet another setback as the defendant was hospitalized Thursday. (Los Angeles Times)

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer changed his mind about flying the rainbow flag in the city after he listened to constituents’ stories. (Los Angeles Times)

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