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As Republican Infighting Grows, Donors Call for Calm

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a fundraising event at a golf course in the Bronx borough of New York, Monday, July 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a fundraising event at a golf course in the Bronx borough of New York, Monday, July 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

STEVE PEOPLES, Associated Press
JULIE BYKOWICZ, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Worried about “Republican-on-Republican violence,” top party donors are taking action, with one firing off a letter calling for more civility and another seeking to block businessman Donald Trump from the debate stage altogether.

Foster Friess, a Wyoming-based investor and one of the party’s top 20 donors in the last presidential contest, issued a letter to 16 White House prospects and the Republican National Committee late last week calling for candidates to stay on the “civility reservation.”

“Our candidates will benefit if they all submit to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, ‘Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican,'” Friess wrote in a letter sent to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press.

In the dispatch, Friess cites the backing of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts. “Would you join the effort to inspire a more civil way of making their points?” Friess wrote. “If they drift off the ‘civility reservation,’ let’s all immediately communicate that to them.”

The call for calm comes as the sprawling Republican field shows signs it could tip into a bare-knuckles struggle for the nomination — a scenario that the party’s elite donors see as a distressing echo of four years ago.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday charged that Republicans don’t need Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s “lectures.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker repeatedly dismisses Republicans in Congress as doing little. And Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul regularly jabs his Republican opponents by name.

Yet no candidate has injected more provocation into the 2016 Republican presidential primary than Trump.

While few party officials see the reality television star as a credible candidate, he has lashed out at a growing number of Republican critics who have condemned his recent description of Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. Trump over the weekend posted a message from another user on his Twitter account charging that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife,” Columba, who was born in Mexico.

Campaigning in New Hampshire over the weekend, Bush said he “absolutely” took the remark personally. Trump has not apologized, but said Monday evening “somebody else” retweeted the message and “I don’t know anything about it” even though it was under his account.

Trump stood firm on his comments about immigrants, saying earlier Monday “the Mexican government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States,” and “criminals, drug dealers, rapists” are among them. He said “many fabulous people” come from Mexico and the U.S. is better for them, but this country is “a dumping ground for Mexico.”

Republican donor John Jordan said Monday that GOP leaders should take steps to block Trump’s access to the first presidential debate in early August.

Debate organizers at Fox News Channel, backed by the Republican National Committee, have released guidelines saying the top 10 candidates in national polling will be allowed to participate. Trump would qualify under the current terms, while contenders such as Ohio’s two-term Gov. John Kasich would not.

“Someone in the party ought to start some sort of petition saying, ‘If Trump’s going to be on the stage, I’m not going to be on there with him,'” Jordan told the AP on Monday. “I’m toying with the idea of it.”

“It’s something I feel strongly about as somebody who not only cares about the Republican Party, but also Latinos,” Jordan said.

Even as the other candidates say they’re trying to avoid intraparty backbiting, however, they can’t seem to avoid it.

In an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cruz refused to condemn Trump’s comments, saying he’s not going to perpetrate “Republican-on-Republican violence.” Christie, who entered the presidential race last week, wasn’t having it.

“I find it ironic, right, that Ted Cruz is giving lectures on Republican-on-Republican violence,” Christie said on Fox News, accusing the Texan of sponsoring hardball ads against Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander in the 2014 primaries. “I mean, all due respect, I don’t need to be lectured by Ted Cruz.”

The Republican National Committee has dramatically reduced the number of primary debates before the 2016 contest largely to avoid the kind of attacks that bloodied their 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.

As the last GOP nomination heated up in January 2012, Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got particularly nasty. Gingrich joined Obama supporters in attacking Romney’s business background, calling him a “vulture capitalist.”

Donors remember those exchanges well and fear a repeat of primary vitriol would lead to another general election loss. “Ninety-nine percent of leading donors saw the candidates carve each other up in the 2012 primaries and come out weaker for it and are determined not to let that happen again,” said Fred Malek, who has helped raise money for GOP presidential candidates for four decades.

Responding to Friess’ letter, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wrote he plans on “becoming the nominee by playing a better game, not by breaking the legs of my rivals.”

“I hope that we don’t commit fratricide again as a party,” Huckabee wrote, according to a copy of his response obtained by the AP.

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in New York City contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activism

East Oakland Community Clean-up

The office of Councilmember Treva Reid invites you to…

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Oakland Clean Up Flyer

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Politics

After Winning Recall Election, Newsom Says “Let’s Get Back to Work”

According to preliminary results, just under 65% of the voters have said “no” to recalling Newsom in the special election that is estimated to have cost California taxpayers $276 million.

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Governor Gavin Newsom Speaking, Photo courtesy of California Black Media

It looks like Gov. Gavin Newsom will remain in the office he won in 2018 after he secured an insurmountable lead in votes counted so far in Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election.

Several media outlets projected shortly before midnight Tuesday that the attempt to remove Newsom from office failed.

About an hour after thanking Californians for keeping him in office, Newsom tweeted, “Now, let’s get back to work.”

Larry Elder, a conservative Republican Los Angeles-based talk show host, who was the leading candidate vying to remove Newsom from office conceded the race. A total of 46 candidates were on the ballot to replace Newsom.

“Let’s be gracious in defeat,” Elder said after the results started pouring in and it was obvious he had no chance of winning.  “We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war.”

According to preliminary results, just under 65% of the voters have said “no” to recalling Newsom in the special election that is estimated to have cost California taxpayers $276 million.

With about 67% of all votes counted on September 14, only a little over 35% voted ‘yes’ on the recall.

Reactions on social media included the following:

Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo), Assembly Speaker Pro Tem tweeted, “A $276 million waste just to reaffirm 2018’s results with an election coming in 2022. The CA recall process must be reformed including elevating the Lt. Guv in the event of a recall. But to avoid partisan power grabs the Governor/LG should be a ticket of the same party (like NY).”

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis wrote, “Thank you California for recognizing that @GavinNewsom is exactly where he needs to be, in the Governor’s office! His commitment to the people of California is unwavering and I look forward to his continued leadership of our great state!”

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA 37) tweeted, “Proud of our governor. Proud of our people. Proud of California.”

Newsom told supporters, although Californians voted “no” to the recall, he wants to focus on all the things they were saying ‘yes’ to by their votes.

“‘No’ is not the only thing that was expressed tonight,” Newsom said. “I want to focus on what we said ‘yes’ to as a state. We said ‘yes’ to science. We said ‘yes’ to vaccines. We said ‘yes’ to ending this pandemic. We said ‘yes’ to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression.”

The gubernatorial recall was the fifth statewide vote Dr. Shirley Weber has overseen since she was appointed Secretary of State on January 19. Throughout the process, Weber, a former assemblymember who represented the 79th District in San Diego County, says she worked hard to make sure that voter fraud or the talk of fraud of would not interfere in the results of this election.

“We worked hard to secure our elections. There’s no evidence of fraud or miscounting,” Weber said on CNN. “As Secretary of State, we’ve been even-handed in how we’ve handled every issue. I was sued by the governor as well as by others because of some of the decisions we made that were fair and just.”

Weber’s office has 30 days to certify the recall election once all of the votes have been counted. If there are any discrepancies, Weber said those issues will be addressed.

“I like to say to those that continue to challenge this issue of fairness and so forth, I always say, ‘where’s the evidence?’” Weber said. “We are willing to accept the evidence as it is not just to simply (claim) open-ended allegations of fraud and deceptions. Those things are easy to say. But we have yet to get evidence of fraud and deception.”

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Bay Area

New Assemblymember Mia Bonta to Caucus With 3 Legislative Groups

The 18th Assembly District includes a large portion of the city of Oakland and the cities of Alameda and San Leandro. Bonta was elected in a special election on August 31, defeating fellow Democrat Janani Ramachandra.

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Assemblymember Mia Bonta, (third from left), with (left to right) Senator Steve Bradford, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurman, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, assemblymembers Isaac Bryan Reggie Jones-Sawyer, and Kevin McCarty.

Soon after Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) was sworn in last week to represent California’s 18th Assembly District — which covers parts of East Bay — she signed on as a member of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus (CLWC), the California Latino Legislative Caucus (CLLC), and the California Black Legislative Caucus (CLBC).

Bonta is the 11th member of the Black Caucus and the only lawmaker representing a district in the Bay Area. In the Latino Caucus, she is the 30th member, and out of 120 lawmakers in both houses of the state Legislature, she is the 39th woman.

“Special congratulations to our newest member @MiaBonta, who was sworn into the Assembly this morning! #AD18 has chosen a fantastically fearless representative, and I look forward to working with you Assemblymember Bonta! #CALeg,” wrote Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D- San Diego).

Mialisa “Mia” Tania Bonta, who is Puerto Rican of African descent, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1993 and a Master of Education (Ed.M.) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1996. Bonta also received a J.D. from Yale University Law School in 1999.

Her work experience includes over 20 years working with nonprofits, including serving as CEO of Oakland Promise, a college and career prep program for Alameda County high school students.  She was also president of the Alameda Unified School District Board from 2018 to 2021.

“Congratulations to @MiaBonta on her election to the Assembly, which not only made her the first Afro Latina in the Legislature, but also raised the number of women in the Legislature to an all-time high,” California Lt. Gov., Eleni Kounalakis stated on Twitter.

The 18th Assembly District includes a large portion of the city of Oakland and the cities of Alameda and San Leandro. Bonta was elected in a special election on August 31, defeating fellow Democrat Janani Ramachandra.

“I am deeply honored to represent the 18th Assembly District. Our district has a long history of bold, progressive, leadership and I plan to continue this work in our diverse district,” Bonta tweeted September 7. “I’m ready to fight for bold solutions to issues like homelessness, housing affordability, climate change, and criminal justice reform for AD-18 and all Californians. I am ready to get to work.”

Bonta steps in to replace her husband, Rob Bonta, who vacated the AD 18th seat in April after Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed him California Attorney General, replacing Xavier Becerra, who is now United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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