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Battleground 2016: Top Legislative Races

By MATT FLEMING

Republicans in the state Legislature are thought to have a challenging election cycle this year. The outcome in November will determine whether the GOP has enough seats in the state Assembly and state Senate to maintain relevance in legislative matters.

Many factors are contributing to the angst, not the least of which is that Donald Trump as the GOP nominee is a wild card. No one knows yet how the reality T.V. star and real estate tycoon will affect down-ticket races — although Democrats are anticipating this will help them. 

Regardless of the top of the ticket, this year looks to be tough for Republicans — who are largely hoping to just hold seats — as presidential election turnouts are generally more favorable to Democrats, when the electorate becomes more diverse. 

Republicans need to keep Democrats from achieving a two-thirds majority in the Assembly and Senate to have a meaningful impact on state lawmaking. Dipping below that…

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Trump’s Republican National Convention chases CA dream

By JAMES POULOS

 Thanks to Donald Trump, California’s role at the Republican national convention in Cleveland has been dramatically expanded — out of proportion, some critics have suggested. The changes belied a calculated effort to shift the center of GOP gravity away from its more traditional areas of regional support, where many anti-Trump conservatives and moderates continue to hold influence.

To begin with, Californians have been given prominent speaking slots during the Trump-dominated event. “Sabine Durden, of Moreno Valley, is slated to speak in Cleveland. She’s been a well-known critic of illegal immigration since her son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2012, and she’s testified on the issue before Congress,” as the Los Angeles Daily News reported. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., a Trump delegate and nearly Speaker of the House, will also address the convention. “McCarthy’s speech is expected to focus on the House GOP’s ‘Better Way’ agenda and on building party unity,” the…

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State attorney general and charter school haggle over education settlement

By JAMES POULOS

California Senate candidate Kamala Harris has kicked over a hornet’s nest in a big but contentious settlement with the nation’s largest online charter school. Not only has K12 refused to admit wrongdoing, despite Harris’s public allegations, but the organization has also disputed how Harris characterizes the size of the settlement reached. 

In a statement, Harris accused the school of bilking families and Sacramento alike. “K12 and its schools misled parents and the state of California by claiming taxpayer dollars for questionable student attendance, misstating student success and parent satisfaction and loading nonprofit charities with debt,” she said, according to the Associated Press. CEO Stuart Udell fired back with a statement of his own, denying K12 had broken any laws and claiming that Harris’s office had blown K12’s behavior — and its monetary concessions — out of proportion. “Despite our full cooperation throughout the process, the Office of the Attorney General grossly mischaracterized the value of the settlement just as…

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