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Scott Walker, we hardly knew ye

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suspended his presidential campaign today, and urged other Republicans to do the same so that the electorate can coalesce behind anyone but Donald Trump:

It doesn’t sound like any other Republicans are immediately ready to follow him out the door.

But some Democrats were ready with double-barreled snark.

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Tom McClintock quits House Freedom Caucus

Rep. Tom McClintock quit the House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday, saying the Tea Party-dominated group actually undermines conservative goals in Congress.

Tom McClintockMcClintock, R-Elk Grove, tendered his resignation to caucus chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the caucus’ moves during the near-shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security in Februrary; during the debate over Trade Promotion Authority in May; and last week regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran have actually helped defeat Republican aims.

Now, he wrote, the caucus has formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood. Though he has strongly opposed public funding of abortions through his entire political career, “this tactic promises only to shield Senate Democrats from their responsibility for a government shutdown and to alienate the public from the pro-life cause at precisely the time when undercover videos of Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices are turning public opinion in our favor.”

“A common theme through each of these incidents is a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to strip the House Republican majority of its ability to set the House agenda by combining with House Democrats on procedural motions. As a result, it has thwarted vital conservative policy objectives and unwittingly become Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally,” McClintock wrote. “I feel that the HFC’s many missteps have made it counterproductive to its stated goals and I no longer wish to be associated with it.”

Jordan issued a statement calling McClintock “a principled conservative and a valuable member of the House Republican Conference,” and saying the caucus “looks forward to continuing to work with him, as well as every one of our colleagues, to give a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them.”

Read the full text of McClintock’s letter to Jordan, after the jump…
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CA17: Mike Honda’s political director resigns

The political director of Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign has quit, telling supporters the 17th Congressional District’s competitive nature “will require and deserve an increasingly greater commitment of time and energy.”

Lamar HeystekLamar Heystek wrote that he’s choosing instead “to begin devoting more time and energy to my wife, our son and the family we look forward to growing together,” as well as starting a new job as program development officer at ASIAN Inc., a San Francisco nonprofit working on behalf of Asian Americans and other minorities in areas such as business development, housing and financial education.

It sounds like there’s no bad blood between Heystek, 35, of San Francisco, and Honda, D-San Jose. “My faith and confidence in him and his campaign have been unshakable. He is an outstanding public servant and a great friend who will continue to receive my support and assistance.”

Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Honda’s campaign has been paying Heystek $6,000 per month.

Heystek, a former Davis councilman, departs as the 17th District race shifts into even higher gear for the sprint toward June 3’s top-two primary. Fellow Democrat Ro Khanna’s challenge has been making headlines for almost a year; Republican Vanila Singh got into the race at the start of 2014; and two other Republicans – Joel Vanlandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore – entered the race just before this month’s candidacy filing deadline.

Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said Wednesday that Heystek has been an important part of the campaign since joining it in 2011, helping to run its multi-lingual voter outreach and laying the groundwork for Honda’s overwhelming Democratic Party endorsement.

“Lamar’s departure from the campaign, so he can spend more time with his growing family, has been in the works for months and the transition has been smooth,” Kembaiyan said. “We miss seeing Lamar everyday, but thanks in part to his dedication and hard work, Congressman Honda’s campaign is in its strongest position ever and we are continuing full speed ahead into the primary.”

Read Heystek’s entire email, after the jump…
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Abel Maldonado drops out of race for governor

Former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado has dropped out of this year’s gubernatorial race.

At a news conference in his hometown of Santa Maria, the Republican said that “after having traveled all over the state and giving it my all, I have concluded that now is not my time.”

“It’s time to step away for a while, and spend more time with my family and stay a little closer to home helping my community, as an active private citizen,” he said. “This by no means suggests that I am giving up, or giving in. I love my country and I love my state. But it’s just time for me, to take a break and focus more of my time on being a fulltime dad and husband.”

Maldonado has been something of a pariah within parts of the GOP, both for striking a budget deal with Democrats while serving in the state Senate and for fathering a successful ballot measure that made the top-two primary system a reality.

Perhaps as a result, Maldonado never had much success in finding financial support for his campaign. He had raised just over $314,000 and had about $44,600 as of June 30, but he also had more than $47,900 in outstanding debts, effectively leaving him in the red; he has raised only about $148,800 since then. Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown had more than $10 million banked by the middle of last year and has raised at least $6.9 million more since.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, remains in the race, and former Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari – also a Republican – is expected to enter the race soon.

UPDATE @ 11:50 A.M.: California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton issued a statement saying Maldonado “saw the writing on the wall and did the smart thing. Governor Brown, and Democratic leaders in the Legislature, delivered on their promises by stopping the cuts to education, balancing the budget and pulling California out of the economic doldrums. Californians are once more discussing investing in our future instead of cutting our way to the bottom.

“It’s no surprise that Republicans are taking a look at the landscape and deciding they don’t have much to run on,” Burton said.

UPDATE @ 2:33 P.M.: Read the more complete story here.

Read Maldonado’s complete comments as prepared, after the jump…
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Kathy Neal drops 18th Assembly District bid

Kathy Neal is halting her 18th Assembly District campaign.

Kathy Neal“I am proud of the progress we made in such a short period of time and greatly appreciate the help, partnerships, and backing that emerged from a widely diverse base of support,” Neal, 62, of Oakland, said in a statement issued early this morning. “While I will not be an active participant in the race at this time, I will continue to be involved in state and local politics, because I am committed to improving the lives of those in our community, especially for those among us who are less fortunate or disenfranchised.”

Although her release said she “entered the race much later than her opposition yet garnered considerable traction,” it seemed she wasn’t keeping up with the other Democrats in the race: Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta; Peralta Community College District Trustee Abel Guillen; and AC Transit Director-at-Large Joel Young.

Neal – the owner of an information technology consulting firm; a former Port of Oakland commissioner; and ex-wife of former Assemblyman and former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris – was trailing far behind all three of them in campaign contributions. And although Neal is a county and state Democratic committeewoman, she trailed behind the others in votes at the party’s local pre-endorsement conference a few weeks ago (though none of them got enough votes to win an endorsement).

Neal noted she has worked to elect other California Democratic women including Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier and Barbara Boxer as well as more local names such as Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks and Peralta trustee Linda Handy.

“As women, I have always believed that our voices must be heard and I have worked tirelessly to place strong and effective women in elective office,” Neal said. “While I regret that at this time I am unable to continue my candidacy in the new 18th Assembly District, I look forward to future races where I can play an integral role in ensuring greater representation of women in office.”

She thanked all who have “committed time, energy and resources to my campaign. You are truly remarkable people. Going forward, I will assure that your confidence in me was well placed by continuing the work I have always done for the full, positive and beneficial inclusion of everyone in all that our society has to offer.”

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Alioto-Pier quits Insurance Commissioner race

San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier just announced she’s withdrawing as a candidate for state Insurance Commissioner.

“Michela suffered an injury to her leg which required surgery and will entail additional time in the hospital time to heal,” her husband Tom Pier said in an emailed statement. “The necessary recuperation, as well as the demands of her duties as a San Francisco Supervisor and as a mother of three young children, make a statewide run for Insurance Commissioner impractical at this time.”

Alioto-Pier entered the race in August and had won endorsements including those of former Vice President Al Gore, and U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid.

Still in the Democratic primary for this race: Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate; Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento; and former Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Eureka. On the GOP side, there’s Assemblyman Mike Villines, R-Clovis.