Partner Voter Guide

CDT partner California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) Action released their 2020 primary voter guide, including their endorsements of Abigail Medina for SD23 and DeniAntionette Mazingo for AD42. CEJA Action was a key partner in CDT and V4P’s early endorsements of Abigail and Deni in August. They also endorsed Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes in AD47, Assemblymember Shirley Weber in AD79 and Lorena Gonzalez in AD80, CDT-endorsed incumbents. 


State Legislature

Courage California released their new Courage Scores for the 2019 legislative year. Courage awards the top scorers with their “All Star” designation. CDT endorsed legislators were 5 of the 21 (24%) All Stars. Below are the scores for CDT endorsed elected officials (those with * by their names were jointly endorsed with V4P).


Legislator Year Endorsed 2019 Courage Score Lifetime Score Notes
Senator Holly Mitchell (SD30 – Los Angeles) 2016 100 / A+ 98 2019 All Star
Senator Ash Kalra (SD27 – San Jose)* 2016 100 / A+ 100 2019 All Star
Assemblymember Eloise Reyes (AD47 – Inland Empire)* 2016 98 / A 98 2019 All Star
Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (AD65 – Orange County) 2016 49 / F 38 Sharon regained this seat from a Republican in 2016.
Assemblymember Shirley Weber (AD79 – San Diego) 2016 91 / A 93
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (AD80 – San Diego) 2016 96 / A 92
Wendy Carrillo (AD51 – Los Angeles)* 2017 90 / A 95
Assemblymember Luz Rivas (AD39 – Los Angeles)* 2018 95 / A 95
Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (AD45 – Los Angeles)* 2018 67 / D 74
Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove (AD54 – Los Angeles)* 2018 88 / B 88
Senator Melissa Hurtado (SD14 – Central Valley)* 2018 28 / F 28 This seat was formerly held by a Republican.
Senator Maria Elena Durazo (SD24 – Los Angeles)* 2018 98 / A 98 2019 All Star
Assemblymember Robert Rivas (AD30 – Hollister)* 2018 88 / B 88
Senator Lena Gonzalez (SD33 – Long Beach)* 2018 100 / A+ 100 2019 All Star


Courage also targets legislators with the worst scores and track records of working in alignment with corporations and lobbyists with their “Hall of Shame” designation. This year, there were twelve Hall of Shamers, including Jim Cooper (AD9 – Sacramento, challenged by Tracie Stafford) and Steve Glazer (SD7 – Contra Costa County, the lowest scoring Dem, challenged by Marisol Rubio). 


CDT ally Smart Justice California has endorsed Tracie Stafford for AD9, a safe Democratic seat. Per Politico: “Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) has the type of pro-cops voting record that you might expect from a former sheriff’s deputy. His steadfast support of law enforcement has long irked some liberals, and now he’s facing a viable challenge from a Democrat, businesswoman Tracie Stafford, who has gotten money from some deep-pocketed liberal donors.” 


CDT partner Lift Up Contra Costa Action (LUCCA) endorsed Marisol Rubio for SD7. Rumor has it that Glazer helped recruit a Republican to run in the race to split the vote so that he faces the Republican in this safe Democratic seat. Per Politico: “State Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda has long been a target of California unions, who have repeatedly spent heavily to defeat the centrist Democrat. This year, those interests are putting their chips behind Marisol Rubio, who has racked up union money and endorsements and blocked Glazer from securing the support of the California Democratic Party.”


CalMatters runs down the races to watch in the California Senate, Assembly and congressional primaries. 


District Attorney and Criminal Justice Updates

Chesa Boudin was sworn in as San Francisco District Attorney on January 9. San Francisco Rising Action director Emily Lee — who led the independent expenditure supported by CDT donors to get Chesa elected — spoke at his ceremony on the next challenge of now governing in partnership (link to the video of Emily’s speech). “‘Winning is hard — governing is harder,’ Lee said, adding that Boudin was ‘put in [the DA’s] office by a movement — and he is now accountable to that movement.’”


Other reformer DAs are lining up to support CDT-endorsed Los Angeles DA candidate George Gascón as they seek to grow a national criminal justice reform movement. ”The unfolding March 2020 contest between Gascón and Lacey promises to become a nationally watched — and funded — race, and it poses a prominent test for the movement in a massive and influential jurisdiction that was once among the principal drivers of mass incarceration.” Per Politico, law enforcement unions are coming out strongly against Gascón, with the LA Police Protective League now having invested $1 million in an anti-Gascón PAC.


CDT-endorsed Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton will clear marijuana convictions of 2,400 people under Proposition 64, “which removed certain marijuana offenses from the state penal code.”


Proposition 47, which reduced some felonies to misdemeanors, “is projected to save a record $122.5 million next fiscal year by keeping 4,569 inmates out of state prisons.” However, Prop 47 is facing a challenging ballot measure, co-written by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, that would roll back some of the reforms and allow law enforcement to charge theft and fraud crimes as felonies again. 


Inland Empire

CDT partner Inland Empire United won their court battle to have Dawn Rowe removed from the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors. Rowe had been illegally appointed by the Board, and IE United had opposed the appointment to “[protect] public transparency and accountability for our elected officials.” (quote from IE United executive director, Michael Gomez Daly). Gavin Newsom will appoint a new Supervisor for District 3.


CDT ally Karthick Ramakrishnan’s UC Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation released a report on Inland Empire civic engagement that “showed an 84% increase in Inland voting between 2014 and 2018, including a 260% surge in voting by 18- to 24-year-olds, a 214% surge among 25- to 34-year-old voters and a 159% surge in voting by Latinos in those age groups,” setting the IE up as a key region in the 2020 election, including the presidential primary race. 


Orange County

Per Politico, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is focusing on protecting Democratic incumbents in the Orange County. A new six-figure program led by Representative Judy Chu will focus on Asian-American and Pacific Islander voters as a “critical component of the path to victory.”


Social Justice

Low- and middle-income people are leaving California at greater rates than the wealthy.


California and 13 other states sue to block the federal administration’s new rule that would eliminate food stamps for 688,000 nationally.


A California appeals court ruled that California cities have to comply with sanctuary state policies.


The rate of sexual assault and rape of women farmworkers is likely higher than the national average (though currently no statistics capture the problem). Some rape crisis centers in CA are successfully working with women farmworkers, though the barriers are significant enough that there is not the level of need support.



According to polling of California voters by the Public Policy Institute of California, homelessness is the priority issue they want the governor and state lawmakers to address.


In his recently announced budget proposal, Governor Newsom wants to dedicate $750 million to help housing the homeless, and his homelessnes task force has proposed a ballot measure to require local and state governments to increase housing and services. 


CDT-endorsed Assemblymember Luz Rivas introduced a bill to establish an Office to End Homelessness. She has also introduced a bill that would require climate change to be taught in schools. 


CalMatters looks at how California’s policies have been adopted on presidential candidate’s campaign platform, which demonstrates how California still needs to push to continue to lead on progressive policies.