Shenanigans? Under California’s primary rules, some campaigns boggle the mind

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Kathy Garcia is not your typical Republican candidate for the California Senate. For one, she only just joined the GOP. A lifelong Democrat, she won election to the Stockton school board member with the backing of the county Democratic party. She changed her affiliation to Republican in June 2019, six months before the deadline to […]

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Why California’s top court just struck down the state’s Trump tax return law

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Many constitutional law experts, former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Republican Party are now all officially entitled to say, “I told you so.” This morning the California Supreme Court unanimously struck down a new state law that would have required presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns before appearing on the primary […]

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No-shows, endorsement spats and drag queens: What’s on tap at this weekend’s Democratic convention

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Like Comic-Con for progressive political nerds and consultants, the California Democratic Party’s biannual convention — one of the year’s largest gathering of like-minded partisans — will kick off in Long Beach this weekend with an estimated 5,000 attendees.  Some will be coming to snap selfies with presidential candidates, although for all the predictions of this […]

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Fact check: Do Californians really cool on ballot measures as the election approaches?

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

In 2020, California voters will be asked to weigh in on some of the most contentious and consequential issues facing the state — criminal justice reform, rent control, school construction funding and inequality. For those hoping to make sense of the deluge of political polls and they’re likely to see over the next year, consider […]

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Conservatives clap back against California in court — twice

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

It was a busy day for GOP-affiliated courtroom battles against the state of California. In the morning, conservatives sued the state claiming it was failing to “ensure that non-citizens are never placed on the voter rolls.” In the afternoon, they scored an early, anticipated victory to block a new state law that would require presidential […]

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Newsom cracks down on vaping — and asks the Legislature for help

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

California lawmakers ended the Legislative session without doing much on vaping. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is stepping in. This morning, the governor signed an executive order which he said would be “pushing the envelope” to regulate the burgeoning e-cigarette industry despite a lack of new legal authority from the state Assembly and Senate. “In the […]

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California’s political equivalent to Iowa’s corn ethanol? Democratic presidential wannabes haven’t found it yet

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

When presidential candidates spent time in Iowa (and they spend a lot of time in Iowa), they are expected to ingratiate themselves to the state’s 2.1 million registered voters by chowing down on deep fried foods and spending plenty of time talking about grain growing, trade policy and corn ethanol. With California Democrats now scheduled […]

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As Gun Control Efforts Advance in California Capitol, Opponents Bank on the Courts

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Brian Jones may be a California state senator, but as a Republican with an expansive view of the Second Amendment, he’s all but given up hope of holding back the wave of gun-control bills advancing in the Democratic-dominated Legislature. Instead, like many like-minded advocates, he’s taking the fight to a more hospitable venue: the federal […]

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Lawsuit: California should open its presidential primary to independents

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

The way California holds its presidential primary violates the constitutional rights of political independents and misuses taxpayer dollars to “benefit wholly private political parties,” a nonpartisan election group will argue in a lawsuit it says it will file tomorrow against the state. A draft filing from by the Independent Voter Project argues that Secretary of […]

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Can California crack down on deepfakes without violating the First Amendment?

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

A California lawmaker says he knew something had to be done after watching a video of Barack Obama calling President Trump “a total and complete dipshit.” Set in what appears to be the Oval Office, the video also depicts the former president speaking fondly of the militant anti-colonial villain of the “Black Panther” comic franchise […]

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