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Trump Republican in the recall mix + Child care providers out of work + SEIU endorses Weber

Sacramento Bee - 3/1/2021

Mar. 1—Good morning and happy Monday! Welcome to the A.M. Alert!


Is there another Republican candidate on the recall horizon?

Richard Grenell, the Californian who served the Trump administration and as Acting Director of National Intelligence, hinted that he could run against Gov. Gavin Newsom while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.

"If a public official is still failing to deliver on their promises and you can't limit their term, or recall them in time, there's always another option: you can run against them yourself," Grenell said.

Hours later, Politico reported that Grenell was meeting with Trump to talk about running for California governor over dinner at the former president's Mar-a-Lago estate.

It's the closest Grenell has come to confirming that he'd like to challenge Newsom. If he does jump into the recall race, he'd be joining fellow Republicans Kevin Faulconer, the former San Diego Mayor, and businessman John Cox, who ran against and lost to Newsom in 2018.

As of today, it's officially crunch time for the recall to collect enough signatures to qualify. Organizers have until March 17 to turn in 1.5 million valid signatures. Election officials then have until April 29 to certify the signatures.

Anything can happen in the event of a recall election, but a pro-Trump Republican challenger like Grenell could be good for Newsom and the Democrats, who are trying to paint the recall as a partisan ploy.


Speaking at CPAC Sunday evening, former President Donald Trump made a problem for another California politician: Republican Rep. David Valadao of Hanford.

Valadao was one of the 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump after a mob of his supporters on Jan. 6 overwhelmed the Capitol and drove lawmakers from their chambers.

Trump at CPAC called out Valadao by name as he listed every Republican in the House and Senate who favored impeachment, calling them "grandstanders" in the GOP.

TJ Cox, the Democrat Valadao ousted in November, seized on the jab, taking to Twitter where Cox called it a "tough Sunday" for the Republican. Cox is laying the groundwork for a rematch in 2022 in a district that leans Democratic by voter registration.


Nearly 30% of jobs in the child care industry have disappeared since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a recently published fact sheet from the California Budget & Policy Center.

"Already operating on thin financial margins, child care providers are struggling with a loss of income due to reduced enrollment, while facing dramatically increased costs necessary to keep children and staff safe and healthy," the fact sheet said.

Bearing an out-sized share of the burden are women and Black, Latino, immigrant and other workers of color, according to the center.

The loss of small businesses and jobs coupled with a decrease in child care supply for working families only exacerbates the economic toll of the pandemic on workers of color, women, and their communities," the fact sheet said.

According to the center, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 60% of Californian families lived in a "child care desert," meaning a place with limited access to child care providers.


Dr. Akilah Weber's campaign to replace her mother in the Assembly has racked up another big endorsement: The Service Employees International Union California State Council.

Weber, a San Diego board-certified gynecologist, is running to fill the seat left vacant by Gov. Newsom's appointment of her mother — Shirley Weber — to the position of Secretary of State.

The SEIU also issued an endorsement of another candidate for the seat, Leticia Munguia, an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 36 labor relations manager.

Weber's campaign also took occasion last week to tout their fundraising efforts. As of Feb. 20, Weber's campaign had raised $145,040, more than all the other candidates for the vacant seat combined.

"It is humbling to see how many people have supported our campaign; I don't have the words to express my gratitude," Weber said in a statement.


"Unless I missed it from the top of DeSantis, Gavin Newsom and Xavier Becerra have gotten attacked by name from the #CPAC2021 stage before anyone mentioned Biden. 'He sued the Trump administration 100 times,' (Sen. James) Lankford (R-OK) said of Becerra." — Dave Weigel, Washington Post political reporter, via Twitter.

Best of the Bee:

No more urine tests: Proposed California law would end most workplace marijuana tests, via Andrew Sheeler

Exclusive: California schools official promoted extremist 9/11 and Holocaust conspiracies, via Jason Pohl and Sawsan Morrar

Rep. Devin Nunes two years ago embarked on a campaign to sue organizations he viewed as adversaries, taking them to court over alleged defamation and conspiracies against him. So far, he hasn't had much success in court, via Kate Irby.


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