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Mike Huckabee to speak at state GOP convention

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will speak at a lunch banquet during the California Republican Party’s Fall Convention on Sept. 18 in Anaheim.

HuckabeeThe announcement comes one week after the state GOP said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also a presidential candidate, will headline the convention’s big Saturday-night dinner on Sept. 19.

“As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee prompted much needed reform and set the bar high for his fellow governors,” state GOP chairman Jim Brulte said in a news release. “A proven leader, I’m very excited he could join us to kick off convention with the first banquet.”

California Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Harmeet Dhillon said Huckabee “has become a strong, but reasonable voice for conservatives across the nation through his time as governor and as a bestselling author and talk show host. With his years of experience, Huckabee is sure to have a great message to share with our fellow Republicans.”

Huckabee, in the same release said he’s “excited to be kicking off the California Republican Party convention and helping build excitement and enthusiasm for the great things California Republicans are going to help us accomplish in 2016.”

Mike Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas, serving from 1996 to 2007. He won the 2008 Iowa caucus, but eventually finished third for the GOP nomination behind John McCain and Mitt Romney; since then, he has made a name as an author, radio commentator and host, and at the helm of his own Fox News Channel show.

Huckabee now polls fifth and Walker polls second for the Republican nomination, according to an average of recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

1

Who is funding Draft Biden 2016?

The steady stream of emails I get from the Draft Biden 2016 super PAC inspired me to take a gander at its most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission – and that turned out to be interesting indeed.

Curtis BlockThe effort to draft Vice President Joe Biden into the 2016 presidential election may have some grassroots support, but it’s not rolling in dough: the super PAC raised $78,841.22 and spent $69,369.26 in this year’s second quarter, leaving $16,002.95 cash on hand as of June 30.

Its receipts include almost $4,600 in “in-kind” donations of time, office supplies, event and travel expenses, and so on from PAC executive director William Pierce III of Chicago.

Only five Californians contributed to the PAC, but three were substantial enough to account for a significant percentage of the total:

  • Dr. Howard Mandel, OB/GYN, Los Angeles, April 16 – $5,000
  • Elise Kroeber, retiree, San Francisco, April 20 – $250
  • Clare Springs, attorney at Titchell, Maltzman, Mark & Ohleyer in San Francisco, May 5 – $1,000
  • Richard Alexander, attorney at Alexander, Hawes & Audet in San Jose, May 18 – $1,000
  • Robert Farnsworth, retiree, Sacramento, June 23 and 30 – $220
  • A few notes about these: Springs listed Titchell Maltzman was listed as Springs’ employer, but that firm was dissolved in 2008 and she founded her own firm that same year. Mandel served on Obama for America’s Health Policy Advisory Committee and was previously an advisor to then-Senator Biden on health care issues during his presidential campaign.

    But the report’s most interesting revelation is that more than half the PAC’s money essentially came from a single, mysterious source.

    Curtis Block, president of Madison & Monroe in Pompano Beach, Fla., gave $5,000 on May 18, and then Madison & Monroe gave $38,000 on June 12. We’ve been unable to determine who Block is – there don’t appear to be any prior legal, business or other records for him – or what Madison & Monroe does; their address is a post box at Parcels Plus, and the business was only just incorporated on June 2 to conduct “any and all lawful business.”

    I asked the Draft Biden 2016 staffers to shed some light on this – but they declined.

    “I reached out to Curtis on your behalf and he’s asked that we only give out the personal information he was required to provide for the FEC report,” spokeswoman Sarah Ford said in an email Friday morning.

    5

    Rick Perry v. Donald Trump in pull-up contest?

    Once again, politicians are challenging each other to feats of strength.

    Reality television star, billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump this week told a reporter that GOP rival and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry doesn’t deserve a spot onstage at the Republican debate next week in Cleveland because he lacks “energy,” “brainpower,” and “toughness.” Perry, asked about this during his appearance Wednesday at the Yale Club in New York City, replied, “Let’s get a pull-up bar up there and see who can do the most-pull ups.”

    https://youtu.be/V2JnxByJZhA

    And on Thursday, asked by CNBC how many pull-ups he can do, Perry replied, “More than Donald Trump.”

    Sadly for Perry, it’s likely that more media outlets reported on this than on the subject of his speech to the Yale Club on Wednesday – Wall Street reform, including re-instituting laws that require banks to separate their commercial lending and investment banking practices.

    It’s eerily similar to the 2012 throwdown between California Gov. Jerry Brown and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

    Christie started that tiff while addressing California’s delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., calling Brown “an old retread” who “won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was 14 years old.” Brown, then 74, responded a few days later by challenging the rotund Christie, then 50, to a three-mile run, a push-up contest and a chin-up contest; he said he’d take any bet on such a matchup and was confident he’d win.

    Brown delivered the coup de grace a few weeks later in a meeting with the Bay Area News Group editorial board. Making a case for his Proposition 30 tax-hike measure, said he and the state’s other executive officers have pared their spending even to the extent that he takes the cramped middle seat when flying up and down California on Southwest Airlines.

    “I’m flying Southwest and I oftentimes take the middle seat,” Brown said, before smiling mischievously. “I don’t think Christie is taking the middle seat.”

    2

    Carly Fiorina talks tough in telephone town hall

    Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina renewed her call Thursday for a citizen-led government that would grow the economy, cut spending, better support our Middle Eastern allies against ISIS and cut funding for Planned Parenthood.

    The former Hewlett-Packard CEO, formerly of Los Altos Hills and now of Virginia, held a 45-minute telephone town hall Thursday, taking 10 questions from supporters across the country.

    Fiorina 5-14-2015 AP photoFiorina – whom the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows is in a three-way tie for 12th place among the 16 major, declared GOP candidates – sounded undaunted by her lack of traction and likened herself to a beloved party icon.

    “At this point in previous presidential elections, the polls, the pundits and the money said that Jimmy Carter couldn’t win, Ronald Reagan couldn’t win, Bill Clinton couldn’t win and Barack Obama couldn’t win,” she said, adding “the media may want to control the process, the party may want to control the process, but you know in the end the voters control the process.”

    Reagan won the White House in 1980 “because the people decided he should win,” she said – though she didn’t mention that 1980 was Reagan’s third presidential run, and he had served two terms as governor of the nation’s most populous state.

    Fiorina said even Republicans who support other candidates are telling her “I would love to see you debate Hillary Clinton.”

    “They know what I would do, they know I would win that debate, they know I would bring up all the tough issues that are not being brought up,” she said. “We’re at a pivotal point. We need to challenge the status quo in Washington, D.C.”

    More on Fiorina’s policy answers, after the jump…
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    8

    Black Caucus members seek Silicon Valley diversity

    Rep. Barbara Lee will join Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on a Silicon Valley junket aimed at increasing African Americans’ representation in the tech industry.

    lack of diversityLee, D-Oakland; Butterfield, D-N.C.; and Jeffries, D-N.Y., will spend this Sunday through Tuesday meeting with tech executives and local organizations as part of the caucus’ TECH 2020 initiative, a five-year diversity launched in May. The lawmakers will visit companies including Apple, Bloomberg, Google, Intel, Kapor Capital, Pandora, and SAP.

    “Our goal for this trip is to encourage and partner with these organizations to implement a diversity plan that will place more African Americans in the tech pipeline,” Butterfield said in a news release. “This will potentially lead to a wide range of opportunities, from student internships to positions on the boards of tech companies. Building a coalition of leaders from the public and private sectors ensures greater diversity and full representation of African Americans at every level of tech by 2020.”

    Lee said she’s pleased to welcome her peers to the Bay Area.

    “This visit is another step toward opening doors of opportunity for African Americans in the booming tech sector,” she said in the release. “Increasing diversity and inclusion within the tech sector is not only a moral imperative, it’s good for business and vital to continue economic growth. As we work to advance the TECH 2020 initiative and achieve full representation of African Americans in the tech sector, I look forward to continuing to work with these companies. We must all play a role in finding innovative solutions that bring diversity to Silicon Valley.”

    As part of its TECH 2020 plan, the caucus has outlined diversity principles, best practices, and resources for African American students and entrepreneurs, and has introduced legislation focused on increasing STEM education.

    2

    Speier offers bill to allow alcohol via U.S. Mail

    A Bay Area congresswoman wants to lift the ban on shipping alcohol through the U.S. Mail.

    Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said she’s joined by 24 original cosponsors in introducing the bipartisan USPS Shipping Equity Act, which would change the Prohibition-era law preventing shipping of beer, wine, distilled spirits and other alcoholic drinks to consumers by mail.

    Jackie Speier“Prohibition is history, and this ban should be too,” Speier said in a news release “It’s ridiculous that we’re allowing UPS, FedEx, and other companies to ship spirits, wine, and beer to consumers, while banning the U.S. Postal Service from doing the exact same thing. As more states allow direct to consumer delivery, we need to lift this dated ban on so-called ‘spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented, or other intoxicating liquors,’ to give consumers more shipping choices when they check out.”

    Speier said the ban puts the Postal Service at a competitive disadvantage and limits shipping options for manufacturers and customers. Her H.R. 3412 would let the Postal Service ship alcoholic beverages directly from licensed producers and retailers to consumers over the age of 21. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it would provide the Postal Service with an additional $50 million per year.

    This bill is endorsed by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, WineAmerica, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the National Association of Postmasters of the United States, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the National Association of Letter Carriers.