Who’s left on the Democratic ticket? + Races we’re watching + Supreme Court to review ACA (again)

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It’s Super Tuesday! Here’s to all the pizzas we reporters shall consume tonight, topped off with cold coffee and probably a bit of chocolate, too.

It’s exciting isn’t it? And we’ll be here through it all. My eyes are on these races, among others:

THE TOP OF THE TICKET

Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer called it quits. All signs are pointing to a Joe Biden vs. Bernie Sanders showdown.

As my colleagues Bryan Anderson and David Lightman put it, California’s delegates could send Sanders on a clear path to the Democratic nomination by giving him an insurmountable lead.

It could also create more questions.

Biden, Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren could come out of California with delegates to carry their campaigns forward into later voting states. They’ll be competing for the 15 percent support needed statewide or at the congressional level to claim any delegates.

“If you see that first number and Bernie Sanders is winning, then it’s off to the races like this thing’s over,” said Paul Mitchell, vice president of the California bipartisan voter data firm, Political Data, Inc. “If you see that first number and maybe Bloomberg and Biden are high ... then you could say, ‘OK, we might be in for a long night here trying to figure this out.’”

California is, but isn’t, special — It’s called Super Tuesday for a reason. Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Virginia and North Carolina will close the polls in the late afternoon of Pacific Standard Time. Alabama, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Colorado will report after that. But the Golden State counts its votes slowly, so don’t expect the final results for a few weeks.

Counties have until April 3 to count their ballots and certify results before receiving final approval from Secretary of State Alex Padilla on April 10. However, given our mega-delegate status, what happens here is pretty important.

You can catch our coverage at sacbee.com, or you can follow the Capitol Alert on Twitter and monitor our individual accounts (Hannah, Sophia, Bryan and Andrew) for some news and a few quips, too.

HOT RACES

  • SD 5 - This is one to watch, folks. Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, was endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Democratic party. But Modesto City Councilman Mani Grewal got a boost from oil and real estate independent expenditure committees that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting him. Republican candidates are also on the ballot.

  • SD 7 - Incumbent Democrat Steve Glazer lost the support of Equality California and wasn’t endorsed by the state’s powerful labor unions. But he’s backed by pro-business committees that have spent at least $200,000 supporting his campaign. He’s running against labor-favored Marisol Rubio.

  • SD 23 - Glazer was not the only Dem to tick off the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group. Equality California called out Democrat Kris Goodfellow for running an “LGBTQ+ smear campaign” against fellow Democrat Abigail Medina.

  • AD 1 - Assemblywoman Megan Dahle, a Republican from Bieber, faces a challenge from PK “Paul” Dhanuka, a no party preference candidate funding his own campaign. The two are vying for the same conservative Northern California voters. Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt is also running.

  • AD 36 - This purple-district race shall be interesting. Republican incumbent Tom Lackey of Palmdale is running for re-election. Democrat Johnathon Ervin, who serves in the Air Force Reserve and works as an engineering manager for Northrop Grumman, is challengin him. So is Steve Fox, a former assemblyman whose checkered past includes sexual harassment allegations. Big business groups are spending heavily to help Fox.

  • AD 42 - I’m curious to see what happens between former Republican, now NPP Assemblyman Chad Mayes and Republican challenger Andrew Kotyuk tonight.

  • AD 57 - Do Southern Californians in this district want another Rubio or Calderon? We’ll see how the votes add up for Lisa Calderon, labor’s pick, and Sylvia Rubio, big business’ choice.

  • AD 72 - Republican Assemblyman Tyler Diep of Westminster voted for Assembly Bill 5, a major labor law that’s caused kerfuffle in the Capitol. Diep’s now paying for that vote. Former state Sen. Janet Nguyen presents a Republican challenge that should be intriguing to watch.

  • AD 73 - Will Republican Assemblyman Bill Brough, who was asked by his county party to end his re-election campaign, face voter repercussion for the accusations of sexual harassment against him? We’ll see.

CONGRESS

  • CA 25 - The race to fill former Rep. Katie Hill’s seat is a hot one. There’s Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, and Democrat Cenk Uygur, creator of The Young Turks. You also have Republican Steve Knight, who lost to Hill in 2018, and George Papadopoulos, a former Trump adviser who served time for lying to the FBI.

  • CA 10 - Will Democratic incumbent Josh Harder get a strong thumb’s up by voters tonight? He flipped the seat in 2018. Republicans Bob Elliott and Ted Howze are reaching to reach the November ballot.

  • CA 50 - Republican Duncan Hunter vacated his seat earlier this year amid a campaign finance scandal. KGTV-TV and the San Diego Union Tribune show Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Democrat, and former Republican Congressman Darrell Issa with the most support.

CALIFORNIA V. TEXAS

The United States Supreme Court has decided to review a consequential case that aims to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by challenging challenging the constitutionality of its core tenet - the individual mandate.

One one side — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of Democratic states, plus D.C. and the House of Representatives. They’re fighting to preserve the law because they claim a repeal would jeopardize tens of millions of Americans’ health care.

“Our health is the most precious resource we have—we should all be working to improve healthcare, instead of ripping coverage away from those most in need,” Becerra said in a Monday statement. “As Texas and the Trump Administration fight to disrupt our healthcare system and the coverage that millions rely upon, we look forward to making our case in defense of the ACA. American lives depend upon it.”

On the other — Texas and a crew of conservative states want to repeal the law, saying that a 2017 elimination of the mandate warranted the rest of the law moot. The justices have already heard a challenge to the law in 2012, when it determined the individual mandate was constitutional. But President Donald Trump’s administration set the tax at zero, which paved the way for the Republican-led states to challenge the penalty again.

A Texas federal district court and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided the tax was unconstitutional, but the higher court sent the case back to the lower judge to review the validity of the remaining provisions.

The blue states and the House instead asked the Supreme Court to hear the case. The justices will likely hear oral arguments by the end of October, though a decision is unlikely to be made before 2021.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“(In) front of DA Jackie Lacey’s house for that community meeting she promised with the @BLMLA crew. Rang her bell to invite her. Her husband pulled a gun, cocked it, pointed it at my chest and said ‘I’ll shoot you. I don’t care who you are.’”

- Melina Abdullah, on Twitter, with a video of the incident.

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