Trump helps John Cox, for now

Good morning, California.
“We didn’t have any notice that this announcement was coming,” J.J. Ament, of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., said Wednesday of Chipotle’s Mexican Grill’s decision to move its headquarters from Denver to Newport Beach. Ament was in San Francisco to check on Bay Area companies that have expanded in Colorado.

In some districts and states, Republicans think twice about courting President Trump’s endorsement. In deep blue California, Republican John Cox is finding gold in Trump’s embrace of his campaign for governor.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday shows Democrat Gavin Newsom with 25 percent of the vote, Cox with 19 percent and Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa with 15 percent, 12 days before the June 5 primary.

Trump’s endorsement in a tweet last Friday came while the survey was underway. But PPIC president Mark Baldassare noted that three fourths of Republican voters have a favorable view of Trump, and are inclined to vote for candidates endorsed by Trump:

“To the extent it becomes known, it helps.”

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Newsom and Republican endorsed by Trump headed to runoff for California governor, poll shows

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox has surged into second place in the race for California governor, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Cox, a San Diego businessman and real estate investor, is favored by 19 percent of likely voters, up from 14 percent in March. His growing support, along with President Donald Trump’s endorsement last week, could result in a second-place finish in the June 5 primary and a spot in the November runoff against Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the institute.

“The one major candidate in the race who has shown momentum over time is John Cox,” Baldassare said, noting Cox’s favorable rating among likely voters has jumped 10 points since December. “Certainly he’s within very close range of being in second place.”

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Candidate for state schools chief, Assemblyman touts vision for public education

East Bay Assemblyman Tony Thurmond said his decision to run for the state Department of Education’s top job is not so much a political consideration as it is “a heart decision.”

“I’m all in for kids,” he said late Tuesday afternoon in Wood High School’s Catwalk Theatre, where the state lawmaker, a Democrat from Richmond, laid out his vision for public education during a gathering of some 30 members of the Vacaville Teachers Association, which has endorsed him.

The teachers applauded the statement, which ended Thurmond’s 45-minute presentation, including his responding to several questions.

If on June 5 he defeats his challenger Marshall Tuck, who is backed by so-called education “reformers” and nearly sunk Tom Torlakson’s second bid for state schools chief in 2014, Thurmond will lead a mammoth state bureaucracy that is responsible for educating 6.2 million K-12 students. (Other candidates include Steven Ireland and Lily Poloski.)

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New poll finds a volatile race for second place in California governor’s contest

The fight for second place in California’s governor’s race between Republican John Cox and Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa remains unpredictable and volatile as the June 5 primary approaches, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom led both by 10 percentage points or more, validating every other poll that suggests it’s a certainty the Democrat will claim one of the two spots on the November ballot.

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Barack Obama flashpoint in California schools chief race, though he hasn’t weighed in

Who gets to use Barack Obama‘s image in a political advertisement and when?

State superintendent of public instruction candidate Tony Thurmond and his supporters are trying to make a campaign issue out of a mailer for opponent Marshall Tuck that prominently features the former president.

Thurmond, a Democratic assemblyman from Richmond, and Tuck, a former charter school executive, are locked in a wide-open race for the nonpartisan office that oversees California’s Department of Education. It has attracted interest from teachers unions on one side and wealthy individuals who would like to overhaul public education on the other, resurfacing a dynamic that drove a contentious and costly election in 2014.

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Charter backers outspend teachers in 2 California races

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — In the battle for the future of California’s schools, charter school advocates are far outpacing teachers unions in spending to support candidates for governor and state schools chief.

Wealthy donors who support charter schools and education reform have poured more than $22 million into independent committees to support former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for governor and former schools executive Marshall Tuck for state schools chief. Many of the same donors have also contributed directly to Villaraigosa’s and Tuck’s campaigns.

The independent committees aren’t subject to campaign contribution limits but are prohibited from coordinating messaging with the candidates.

Teachers unions have dropped about $4 million on independent committees to back Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond for superintendent. Teachers unions and other organized labor groups have also contributed to Newsom’s and Thurmond’s campaigns.

All four men are Democrats who want more education funding. But they differ on state officials’ role in improving schools and how to handle nonprofit charter schools, which are publicly funded but typically run independently of the traditional public school system.

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