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Who will miss McCarthy the most

Presented by Amazon: Inside the Golden State political arena
Oct 23, 2023 View in browser

By Lara Korte and Dustin Gardiner

Presented by

Rep. Kevin McCarthy departs a meeting on Capitol Hill, Oct. 19, 2023. | Francis Chung/POLITICO

DRIVING THE DAY: Gov. Gavin Newsom is on a tour of China, where he’s flexing California’s credentials as a global leader in climate change policy.

He started Sunday in Hong Kong, and is scheduled to visit six cities in five provinces, including Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Shanghai — where he’ll also make a stop at a Tesla factory.

Just this morning, Jeremy B. White tells us about how Newsom is fully embracing the role of climate governor.

His visit to Hong Kong has angered U.S.-based human rights organizations, who say his focus on climate issues “sets a problematic tone for future diplomatic engagement” that benefits the territory’s sanctioned leaders.

Our intrepid colleague Blanca Bergert is traveling with the governor during his tour. You can read her coverage in the California Climate newsletter. 

Newsom made his way to Asia after a brief stop in Israel at the end of last week, which included meetings with grieving survivors and Israeli leaders. More on that below…

THE BUZZ — Kevin McCarthy was a major source of cash for vulnerable California Republicans. Now they’re heading into a tough year without him.

The Bakersfield Republican has always been a prolific fundraiser and recruiter, helping his party flip five House seats in the last few cycles to give the GOP the slim House majority that, for a brief period, put him in the speaker’s office.

The aftershocks of McCarthy’s ousting will ripple for months. After three weeks of infighting, House Republicans are still unable to elect a leader. And Californians, who have long enjoyed special attention by having one of their own in the speaker’s office, no longer have that advantage.

But it’s the handful of California Republicans in tight Congressional races that could be feeling the squeeze most acutely.

So far in 2023, McCarthy has contributed more than $2.4 million to the eight California Republicans targeted by Democrats this election cycle, according to campaign filings. The donations came from four major committees connected to the former speaker, including Protect the House 2024, the joint venture he launched in February with the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In total, the funds went to seven vulnerable incumbents and CA-47 candidate Scott Baugh, who is looking to take over Rep. Katie Porter’s purple district in Orange County.

  • Rep. David Valadao (CA-22): $419,812
  • Rep. John Duarte (CA-13): $414,708
  • Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-41): $164,603
  • Rep. Kevin Kiley (CA-03): $409,092
  • Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45): $438,201
  • Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-27): $413,760.89
  • Rep. Young Kim (CA-40): $133,216.37
  • Scott Baugh (CA-47): $12,222

The figures don’t account for McCarthy’s entire influence when it comes to funneling party fundraising to vulnerable Californians, but it does offer a snapshot of what candidates could lose as they enter a critical election cycle.
Fellow House Republicans were quick to decry McCarthy’s removal this month, led by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz. But aside from one vote from longtime friend Rep. Doug LaMalfa, members haven’t done much publicly to revive the McCarthy era.

The House is expected to take another speaker vote Tuesday. In the meantime, the DCCC is using last week’s votes for Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan against California Republicans, calling them enablers of “their party’s worst impulses.”

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks with a patient at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center during an October 2023 visit to Israel. | Office of the Governor

NEWSOM AND NETANHAYU — Newsom visited grieving families and wounded survivors in Tel Aviv during a brief trip to Israel on Thursday, expressing support for the country amid ongoing fighting and calling for the safety of civilians in meetings with leaders.

The governor also secured a visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu, a significant moment as Newsom looks to show his bona fides on the international stage.

His office didn’t share details of the private meeting, which came days after President Joe Biden’s visit and included Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer. The governor also met with Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen and “expressed California’s solidarity with the people of Israel and his desire to ensure safety and security for all civilians — both in Israel and in Gaza.”

Much of Newsom’s short visit focused on survivors and civilians affected by the violence. He visited wounded patients in the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, and met with Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg, parents of 23-year-old Californian Hersh Goldberg-Polin, whose arm was blown off during the Oct. 7 attacks and has since been taken hostage by Hamas.

“We are bound by more than those who live one place or another, or who have family here or there,” Newsom said in a statement. “My heart is heavy for all innocent people under the crushing pressure of loss and grief, no matter which side of the fence they quite literally find themselves on.”


GROWING IN THE GOLDEN STATE: POLITICO California is growing, reinforcing our role as the indispensable insider source for reporting on politics, policy and power. From the corridors of power in Sacramento and Los Angeles to the players and innovation hubs in Silicon Valley, we're your go-to for navigating the political landscape across the state. Exclusive scoops, essential daily newsletters, unmatched policy reporting and insights — POLITICO California is your key to unlocking Golden State politics. LEARN MORE.


IN MEMORIAM — Angelenos and political and environmental leaders across the state are mourning former Assemblymember Cindy Montañez, who died on Saturday after a long battle with cancer.

As the Los Angeles Times’ Gustavo Arellano writes, Montañez was a political powerhouse from a young age — going on a hunger strike to demand the creation of a Chicano Studies department at UCLA and chaining herself to a tree to prevent it being cut down. She was elected to San Fernando City Council by the age of 25, and then became the youngest woman elected to the California State Assembly at 28.

Throughout her time in — and out — of government, Montañez was a fierce advocate for environmental justice, helping to clean up and decrease pollution in underserved communities. She also gained national attention for co-authoring the “Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights.”

"I saw her tenacity up close many times,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. “She was by my side when we fought together in Sacramento, making difficult decisions to help our state and she advised me when I served in Congress on a range of issues impacting our city.”

After the legislature, Montañez went onto the LA Department of Water and Power. In 2016, she was named CEO of the environmental nonprofit TreePeople.

In a post on Twitter, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas called her an “inspiration to so many.”

“She blazed an extraordinary path for Latinas who aspire to enter the world of public service and leaves an indelible mark on the lives of so many,” he said.


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BAD TO WORSE: America’s drug overdose crisis is out of control. Washington, despite a bipartisan desire to combat it, is finding its addiction-fighting programs are failing. (POLITICO)

BEHIND-THE-SCENES BATTLES: The Israel-Hamas conflict isn’t just causing fighting on college campuses and political stages, it’s also dividing movie and television writers in Hollywood. (The Wall Street Journal)


BIRTHDAYS — Vikrum Aiyer, head of climate policy at Heirloom Carbon … Caroline Kitchens of TikTok … Sheena Tahilramani

(was Sunday): Kurt Bardella … Geoffrey Baum … Mallory Howe Medina … Altana Technologies’ Jonathan Prince … Jeff Goldblum ... Michael Fishman … 

(was Saturday): Jordan Hoffner … Gyan R. Parida


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A message from Amazon:

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While working at an Amazon fulfillment center, Adrienne discovered one of the company’s free, on-the-job training programs, and jump started her career in UX design.

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Who will miss McCarthy the most


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