10

Rep. Tom McClintock endorses Ted Cruz

Rep. Tom McClintock, one of California’s best-known conservatives, endorsed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday.

Tom McClintock“This election is too important to leave to chance,” McClintock, R-Elk Grove, said in Cruz’s news release. “Ted Cruz is the only top tier candidate we can be absolutely certain will govern conservatively and constitutionally; who will stand his ground no matter what the pressure and articulate our positions boldly and convincingly to the American people. After nearly three decades of disappointments, our next president needs to come from the Republican wing of the Republican Party.”

Cruz called McClintock “an unwavering leader in working to reduce government spending, reign in our debt and work for conservative reforms. He has consistently fought against the Washington Cartel. We need more leaders like Tom in Washington to protect conservative principles. I am thrilled to have Tom’s support in working together to restore the principles America was founded on.”

McClintock, 59, was elected to the House in 2008 after eight years in the state Senate and two stints – from 1982 to 1992 and from 1996 to 2000 – in the Assembly. He finished third behind Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat Cruz Bustamante in California’s 2003 gubernatorial recall election, and lost 2006’s election for lieutenant governor to Democrat John Garamendi.

McClintock quit the Tea Party-dominated House Freedom Caucus in September, saying the group’s political showmanship – particularly its threats to partially or totally shut down the federal government – actually undermines conservative goals in Congress. Cruz was among key architects of the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history, in October 2013.

10

CA17: Honda fires back on union’s Khanna nod

Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign shot back Friday against a construction-workers’ union that has switched its endorsement from Honda in 2014 to Democratic challenger Ro Khanna in their rematch this year.

Vedant Patel, political director for Honda’s campaign, issued a statement expressing disappointment at the decision of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Pacific Southwest Region – boasting 63,000 members in California and a few thousand more in Hawaii, New Mexico and Arizona – to endorse Khanna but allowing that “sometimes friends disagree.” Patel also touted the 98 percent lifetime rating that Honda, D-San Jose, has earned from the AFL-CIO for his consistent pro-labor stances.

honda.jpg“In this case, we could not be more proud of Congressman Honda’s ardent advocacy to protect America’s environment with his opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline – a pipeline supported by LIUNA,” Patel said, noting Honda voted thrice against the controversial pipeline, signed seven opposition letters to President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and supported a Democratic National Committee resolution against the project. Obama put the final kibosh on Keystone XL in November.

“Congressman Honda was proud to be a leader in the successful fight to oppose Keystone in order to prevent astronomical amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, polluted water and fisheries with elevated cancer rates, and exposing nearby communities to highly toxic materials,” Patel said.

Khanna also opposed the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It is unfortunate that an organization committed to advancing the rights of working class men and women would stand with someone who has never had a track record that benefits the working class,” Patel continued. “Ro Khanna has never stuck his neck out for working families. From cagey positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership, and flip flopping on key issues like Social Security benefits and pension reform, Ro has simply failed to take a real stance when it mattered.”

Patel also blasted Khanna for accepting campaign contributions from people who’ve been at odds with organized labor, who’ve advocated for privatizing Social Security, and who lead corporations that violated living wage laws.

Khanna has never advocated for privatizing Social Security, and I dinged Honda’s campaign in 2014 for misrepresenting Khanna’s stances on benefits. Khanna condemned the wage violations for which Fremont-based Electronics for Imaging was fined in 2014 and he removed CEO Guy Gecht from his endorsement list, but declined to return Gecht’s $2,600 campaign contribution as labor unions had urged.

LiUNA held a news conference Friday in San Jose to tout its endorsement of Khanna. San Jose Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco was there to announce her endorsement, too, and later issued a statement calling Khanna “a dependable advocate for middle-class families with a clear vision to move our communities forward.”

19

CA17: Union flips support from Honda to Khanna

A labor union that had endorsed Rep. Mike Honda in 2014 now has switched sides to endorse Democratic challenger Ro Khanna in this year’s 17th Congressional District rematch.

LiUNAThe Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Pacific Southwest Region – a construction-workers union boasting 63,000 members in California and a few thousand more in Hawaii, New Mexico and Arizona – announced its endorsement of Khanna on Wednesday.

“We honor your commitment to fairness and truth as you seek to represent the interests of our communities, our Union, and all working men, women and families,” Rocco Davis, the union’s vice president and regional manager, wrote in a Dec. 18 letter to Khanna. “We take seriously your commitment to these issues that are critical to our union and our members and to this end we look forward to assisting your campaign and working with you in progressing our mutual goals in the future.”

Asked Wednesday whether Davis’ “fairness and truth” line refers to the ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation of whether Honda’s office and campaign broke rules or laws by sharing resources, LiUNA international representative Izaak Velez replied, “That is not a swipe at Mike Honda in any way, shape or form.

“We fully respect Mike Honda’s service and appreciate everything he’s done,” Velez said. “We’re not here to badmouth the service Mike Honda has given.”

Ro KhannaKhanna, a former Obama administration official from Fremont who now works for a company that makes water and electricity conservation software, issued a news release saying the Bay Area’s working men and women have forged the community’s and economy’s strength. “As we march into a new century we must find new, innovative ways to ensure we hold onto that strength by revitalizing our manufacturing base, expanding the middle class and strengthening educational opportunity.”

Santa Clara Vice Mayor Debi Davis and former two-term Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood also have flipped from supporting Honda, D-San Jose, in 2014 to supporting Khanna now. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles – all of whom remained neutral in 2014 – have endorsed Khanna, too.

But overall, much of the Democratic establishment and most labor unions seem to be staying in Honda’s corner.

6

A strong day for Bernie Sanders

It’s a heck of a good day for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, bringing two big endorsements and a fundraising milestone.

Bernie SandersSanders was endorsed Thursday by the Communications Workers of America, which represents 700,000 Americans in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields. (Full disclosure: I’m a member of the CWA-affiliated Pacific Media Workers Guild, though I don’t engage in union political activities.)

CWA has more than 300,000 active and retired members in the states that will hold primaries between now and April 1. In California, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Ohio, where CWA has its largest numbers of members, activists are engaged in worksite actions, staffing phone banks and signing up new contributors to CWA’s political program ahead of the 2016 election.

Union members voted to endorse Sanders “because he is the candidate who is talking about real solutions to make our economy fair again, CWA President Chris Shelton said in a news release.

“Politics as usual has gotten working people nowhere. It’s time for real change. That’s what CWA members are saying, loud and clear,” Shelton said. “Our members are ready to do what it takes to elect Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States.”

Sanders also was endorsed Thursday by Democracy for America, the national progressive grassroots group that grew out of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. DFA said this is the first presidential primary endorsement it has ever made, and Sanders took 87.9 percent of the 271,527 votes cast by DFA members nationwide.

“Bernie Sanders is an unyielding populist progressive who decisively won Democracy for America members’ first presidential primary endorsement because of his lifelong commitment to taking on income inequality and the wealthy and powerful interests who are responsible for it,” DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain said in a news release.

“Throughout his campaign, Bernie has repeatedly said that the huge problems of income inequality, money in politics, and structural racism that our country must confront are bigger than a single campaign — they need a political revolution,” Chamberlain added. “With today’s endorsement, DFA members are joining Bernie’s ‘political revolution’ and working to take it both to the White House and up-and-down the ballot, in races coast to coast.”

Finally, Sanders’ campaign announced it has made history by collecting more than 2 million contributions. More than $3 million was raised since an online push was launched Monday to top the 2 million donation mark; of that, about $1.6 million has been raised just since Wednesday.

“What our vision of a political revolution has already accomplished is to show that we can run a strong and we believe winning campaign without a super PAC, without contributions from millionaires and billionaires,” Sanders said in a statement issued Thursday. “We are enormously proud that we have received more individual contributions at this point in the campaign than any candidate who is not an incumbent president. As the campaign continues to succeed, we expect those numbers to grow exponentially.”

Sanders trails Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton by 24 percentage points, according to an average of six recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. In Iowa, he trails Clinton by 18 points, but in New Hampshire, he leads Clinton by 5 points.

The next Democratic presidential primary debate is scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific Time this Sunday, Dec. 19 on ABC News; it will be held at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H., with David Muir and Martha Raddatz of ABC News as moderators.

5

Nurses’ union endorses Gavin Newsom for governor

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, one of the Golden State’s most politically active unions, has endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom – almost three years before 2018’s gubernatorial general election.

Gavin NewsomNewsom, a Democrat, received the endorsement Wednesday morning while addressing a CNA/NNU conference in Los Angeles.

“Gavin didn’t even have to go through a questionnaire with us because he was 100 percent on all our issues – he’s part of the nurses’ family, just like Jerry Brown,” CNA/NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said in an interview before Wednesday’s conference. “This was the easiest endorsement we’ve ever made, besides Jerry and Bernie Sanders.”

DeMoro said Newsom “has substance, he’s very bright, he’s deeply studied on policy, he’s a risk taker, he’s a leader” who has worked closely with the nurses’ union ever since his days as San Francisco’s mayor on issues such as housing and homelessness, marriage rights, education, and – perhaps nearest and dearest to the nurses’ hearts – advocating for single-payer health care.

Newsom issued a statement before his speech Wednesday saying “the nurses stood with me when I was mayor and brought universal healthcare access to the first major city in the country, and I’m thrilled and honored that they continue to stand with me in my campaign.”

Though other major Democratic candidates might enter the race – perhaps including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former state controller Steve Westly, and hedge-fund billionaire turned environmentalist Tom Steyer – “there is no better candidate” than Newsom, DeMoro said.

“We want to see Tom in the political world, but not against Gavin … We would love to be able to support Tom on something else,” DeMoro said of Steyer. “But this race is Gavin’s to lose – he’s going to win this.”

The Oakland-based CNA/NNU represents about 90,000 nurses in California, part of a national NNU membership of 185,000 RNs nationwide. The union was very active in 2010’s gubernatorial election, not just supporting Brown but haunting Meg Whitman’s campaign stops with “Queen Meg” street-theater shtick to paint the GOP nominee as out of touch with everyday Californians.

4

Sam Liccardo endorses Kamala Harris for Senate

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo endorsed California Attorney General Kamala Harris for 2016’s U.S. Senate race on Monday, the third of the Bay Area’s big-city mayors to do so.

Sam LiccardoLiccardo, a Democrat one year into his first mayoral term, said Harris “wins results for our families, even when powerful interests try to stand in her way.”

“As a former prosecutor, I watched with admiration as she took on the nation’s biggest banks during the mortgage crisis, winning $20 billion dollars to help families and homeowners in our state,” he said. “And I’ve seen her work hard to keep protect our kids – whether she’s taking down transnational criminal gangs or tackling elementary school truancy and working to ensure every child has a shot at success in school and in life. I’m proud to endorse Kamala in this race and am looking forward to her continuing her fight for us in the U.S. Senate.”

Harris said she’s “humbled” by Liccardo’s endorsement. “We are building a campaign that lifts up the voices of all Californians and gets results for our families. Our fight for California has just begun, and I’m glad to have the mayor on our team.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee endorsed Harris earlier, as did Bay Area House members Mark DeSaulnier, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Mike Honda and Jared Huffman.

Though Harris has a large lead in fundraising and endorsements, her Democratic rival in this Senate race – Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana – has been making inroads recently around the state. The Orange County Register’s Martin Wisckol noted Sunday that Sanchez has picked up some key endorsements and even here in the Bay Area, Harris’ home turf – including nods from Rep. Anna Eshoo and Rep. Sam Farr.