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Could Democrats screw up the primaries?

Welcome to the jungle, the new electoral Wild West

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Equality California’s Rick Zbur (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

The California Democratic Party convention logo was clever—a brightly lit lighthouse about to be hit by a big wave in the darkest of night. “California: The Big Blue Beacon of Hope,” the banner said, a sentiment anticipating the predicted giant blue Democratic wave curling up in the distance, about to hit the country in a midterm electoral response to Donald Trump’s 2016 election and the chaos that has since ensued. 

The prediction has merit. Democrats have been winning special elections and two unabashed progressives won primaries in the South on May 22. Out lesbian former Sheriff Lupe Valdez made history winning the Democratic nomination for Texas governor and the opportunity to go up against anti-LGBT Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in November.

And history was also made in Georgia where Stacey Abrams became the first woman to win the Democratic nomination and could become America’s first black female governor, if she defeats whichever white candidate the Republicans choose in a July 24 runoff.

“We are writing the next chapter of Georgia’s future, where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired,” LGBT ally Abrams said on election night.

But while politicos are excited about the prospect of the midterms becoming another “Year of the Woman,” there’s a hitch in the California Dream in which Democrats flip seven of the 23 GOP seats needed to retake the House. The state’s non-partisan June 5 primary—with the top two winners facing off in November—too many viable enthusiastic Democratic candidates are vying to catch the wave as Republicans strategize ways into the top two slots.

“It’s the Wild West at its best with the jungle primary,” Republican Bob Huff, one of 17 candidates hoping to replace retiring Rep. Ed Royce, told CalMatters. It “gives political operatives with money an opportunity to choose who they want to run against.”

In fact, in some races, California Democratic Party-endorsed candidates are competing with different candidates endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee while SuperPACs posit GOP candidates as liberal Democrats to Trump voters to scuttle their campaigns.

In Orange County, for instance, rock red Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s seat is a toss-up—in which the Democratic Party has endorsed stem cell researcher Hans Keirstead and the DCCC is backing Keirstead’s rival, Harley Rouda, an Orange County real estate investor.

In the race for retiring Ed Royce’s congressional seat, out California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman had to intervene in the public contretemps between Democrats Gil Cisneros and Andy Thorburn.“The opportunity to win this seat is too important for the two leading Democrats to squander it by focusing our fire on each other,” the two candidates finally said in a joint statement declaring a truce. “In order to flip the 39th District, it is essential that at least one of us make it through the June primary.”

Equality California executive director Rick Zbur tells the Los Angeles Blade, “our goal really has been to replace all the sitting [anti-LGBT] incumbents.” But it’s not a breeze. Trump colluder Devin Nunes in Congressional District 22 or Rep. Duncan Hunter in CD 50, who is under federal investigation, remain popular in their districts.

Zbur says progressive groups having been trying to dislodge some of the weaker Democrats to avoid the risk of two Republicans getting in the run off. “Most of us ended up going our ways and just picking our best candidate,” he says, “narrowing it down to one or two candidates that we thought were the strongest.” For instance, Equality California picked Harley Rouda in the Rohrabacher race.

In the contest to fill retiring anti-LGBT Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat, Equality California believes Sara Jacobs is the strongest of the four good Democratic candidates running. Jacobs, who formerly worked for Hillary Clinton, “has both a transgender brother and a gender non- conforming sibling and so her understanding of the LGBTQ social justice and civil rights issues is unique, really stronger than what we’ve seen from any ally candidates,” Zbur says. “So this is a pretty important race for us,” adding “this is one of the races where we’re worried that two Republicans could get in.”

Another race that has been generating angst among progressives is between Dave Min and Katie Porter hoping to boot Republican Rep. Mimi Walters. Porter has TV ads featuring endorsements from progressive Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. But Min has the endorsements of the CDP, Equality California and a number of progressive groups.

“We think he is going to be the stronger general election candidate,” says Zbur. “Katie Porter is great. Obviously, a strong progressive. They both were amazingly strong on LGBTQ issues—but ultimately we went with Min,” who has outraised Porter in money. Zbur notes that polling in the largely Asian Pacific Islander district indicates he performs well with Democrats, “but is also stronger in the Decline to State, which you need to pick up that seat.”

One seat that Equality California really wants to win is the CD 25 seat held by Steve Knight, son of anti-LGBT hater Pete Knight of Prop 22 “Knight Initiative” infamy. “We’ve got three candidates in that primary, two of which are LGBTQ candidates. We have endorsed Katie Hill, who is bisexual. She’s the top fundraiser in the district,” Zbur says. “Her closest competitor is the nominee from last year, Bryan Caforio, who is also very good on our issues but an ally.” The third candidate is self-described “grassroots scientist” Jess Phoenix, who’s in third place.

If Hill wins the primary, Zbur says, “that’s going to set up an interesting dynamic where we’ve got an LGBTQ candidate running against someone from the Knight family with that whole anti-LGBTQ history.”

Will the June 5 jungle primary generate enough Democratic voter enthusiasm to win back the House or will Republicans win their Trumpian crapshoot?

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Los Angeles County

Heat Advisory issued as temps expected to be in triple digits

LA County will see hot & breezy conditions Monday. High temperatures will reach 90 degrees. Temperatures at night will fall to 64 degrees

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory warning for most of Southern California on Monday. Temperatures while remaining lower in the 80s and 70s in the coastal areas are expected to exceed triple-digits for most of the inland areas in the region.

Los Angeles and Orange counties will see hot and breezy conditions Monday. High temperatures will reach 90 degrees. Temperatures at night will fall to 64 degrees.

The valleys and Inland Empire will be very hot and windy Monday as temperatures soar to 105 degrees. Evening temperatures will drop to 72 degrees.

Beaches will see temperatures rising to 78 degrees amid breezy conditions on Monday. Overnight lows will dip to 64 degrees.

Look for a 20% chance of thunderstorms in the mountain communities on Monday, with temperatures reaching a high of 89 degrees. Temperatures will fall to 55 degrees at night.

Desert conditions will be sunny and windy on Monday, with temperatures expected to rise to 104 degrees. Nighttime temperatures will drop to 69 degrees.

Detailed Forecast

Today

Sunny and hot, with a high near 106. East northeast wind 10 to 15 mph becoming north northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Tonight

Clear, with a low around 69. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph becoming east northeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Tuesday

Sunny and hot, with a high near 104. Southeast wind around 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 15 mph.

Tuesday Night

Clear, with a low around 68. West northwest wind 5 to 15 mph becoming east southeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Wednesday

Sunny and hot, with a high near 98. East southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Wednesday Night

Clear, with a low around 62. Breezy.

Thursday

Sunny, with a high near 94.

Thursday Night

Clear, with a low around 58.

Friday

Sunny, with a high near 92.

Friday Night

Clear, with a low around 57.

Saturday

Sunny, with a high near 90.

Saturday Night

Clear, with a low around 56.

Sunday

Sunny, with a high near 89.

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Orange County

Right-wing news anchor delivers obscenity-laden homophobic rant

“Guess what I came home to be greeted with? This fucking bullshit. [points to Rainbow Pride flag] What the hell is that?”

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Alison Steinberg (Screenshot/Twitter-Ron Filipkowski)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Ca. – Alison Steinberg, an anchor and contributor for right-wing extremist media outlet One America News, launched into an obscenity-laden rant captured in a now viral video over an LGBTQ+ Pride flag flying in the beachfront business district of Huntington Beach commemorating Pride Month.

Steinberg had originally posted her video to her Instagram account but it was later removed.

In the rant Steinberg is heard saying: “And guess what I came home to be greeted with? This fucking bullshit. [points to Rainbow Pride flag] What the hell is that? Huntington Beach is the town of good old-fashioned hard-working American people, much less human. People who worked all through the COVID lockdown. Yes, that’s right. Huntington Beach never shut down through any of the COVID nonsense fuckery. And now we’re peddling this garbage?”

“What the hell is this? The only flag that should be up there is that American flag. This is a disgrace to our city and it should be taken down immediately. Whoever the hell is running this town needs to be fired. Make America great again. Make Huntington Beach great.”

Ron Filipkowski, a defense lawyer and former Assistant United States Attorney had captured the video and uploaded it to his Twitter account where many of his 402.9K followers retweeted it:

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Southern California

Triple A: Gas Prices Drop on Increased Production, Economic Worries

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.38, which is six cents lower than last week

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Screenshot/YouTube

LOS ANGELES – Gas prices dropped as local refineries reported their second-highest California-blend gasoline production levels of 2022 and economic concerns pushed down oil prices, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.38, which is six cents lower than last week.

The average national price is $4.94, which is seven cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.40 per gallon, which is six cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month, and $2.14 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $6.32, which is five cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month, and $2.09 higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $6.32, which is three cents lower than last week, 29 cents higher than last month and is $2.10 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $6.29, which is four cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month and $2.11 higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $6.36 average price is the same as last Thursday, 36 cents higher than last month and $2.22 higher than a year ago today.

“The state’s refineries produced more California-blend gasoline last week than in any other week since January of this year, according to the California Energy Commission,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe. “At the same time, Oil Price Information Service says concerns about the U.S. economy are pushing down oil and wholesale gasoline prices.”

The Auto Club reminds drivers they can save money on gasoline by shopping around virtually using a tool like the AAA Mobile app, which shows users the cheapest gas prices near them. AAA members can also take advantage of discounted gas prices at participating Shell gas stations by joining the Shell Fuel Rewards® program.

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on June 23, averages are:

June 23
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