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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says California ‘has potential’ and he wouldn’t let it secede

Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!

DESANTIS WOULD NOT LET CALIFORNIA SECEDE IF PRESIDENT

California is home to multiple secession movements, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants you to know that as president he wouldn’t let the Golden State strike out on its own.

At a New Hampshire town hall, De Santis was asked by Matt Sabourin dit Choinière of the New Hampshire Independence Political Action Committee — which advocates for the state’s secession — would be willing to let California go if it wanted to.

The PAC tweeted audio of the conversation on Tuesday.

“California’s got potential,” said De Santis, who is badly trailing former President Donald Trump in both state and national polls.

He then vowed to deal with “these Soros prosecutors” and to “restore law and order,” before saying “I don’t want to give up on any state.”

DeSantis was referring to billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish and whose financial support of liberal causes has made him a locus for rightwing and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

In a statement, Sabourin dit Choinière said he was disappointed in DeSantis’ remarks.

“If Republicans are tired of California’s politics and the California National Party and CalExit wish to part ways with D.C., I see no reason why everyone couldn’t get along on that basis,” he said.

The “CalExit” movement was found in 2018 to have ties to the Russian Federal Security Service, which at the time was asking for “turmoil” in the United States, according to federal filings.

LEXI REESE DROPS OUT OF CALIFORNIA SENATE RACE

Via Jenavieve Hatch...

Long-shot 2024 Senate candidate Lexi Reese has officially bowed out of the race. Reese, a Silicon Valley COO and tech leader, attributed her decision to one thing: money. Reese raised just $2 million while front-runner Rep. Adam Schiff, has collected $32 million. Fellow candidates, Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, have raised $12 million and $1.3 million, respectively.

”As someone outside the system, voters don’t know who I am and what I stand for,” Reese wrote in a statement Tuesday. “And even $2 million in paid advertising can’t change that, let alone run the kind of personal, grassroots campaign I think voters deserve.”

Reese’s last high-profile event was this month’s California Democratic Party endorsing convention, where she spoke during the second General Session, along with her fellow Senate candidates. Reese’s panel — and the convention at large — was disrupted by protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, which Reese supports.

In her Tuesday statement, Reese lamented the “career politicians and former lawyers” who make up most of American government and the party.

”Democrats should stop focusing on Trump the human or corporations as evil-doers and instead consider the insight that he and Steve Bannon uncovered: 70% of people feel the ‘system’ is rigged against them,” she wrote.

”That’s because while nearly everyone is working harder and longer than ever, they are still barely scraping by. And they continue to see people in Congress failing to deliver without consequence. It’s no wonder only 2 in 10 people trust the government.”

MCCARTY ALL IN FOR SACRAMENTO MAYOR

Via Lindsey Holden...

Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty recently secured a high-profile committee chair position — but that does not mean he is any less serious about his mayoral campaign.

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, last week appointed McCarty chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, starting on Jan. 22. McCarty will replace Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, who is running for Los Angeles City Council ahead of terming out of the Legislature in 2024.

McCarty is in the midst of his own campaign for Sacramento mayor. He is running against epidemiologist and police brutality activist Flojaune Cofer, former city councilman Steve Hansen and former state Sen. Richard Pan.

Andrew Acosta, McCarty’s campaign consultant, said the assemblyman’s new leadership role does not mean he plans to drop out of the mayoral race and file to run for re-election ahead of the Dec. 8 deadline.

“He’s running for mayor,” Acosta said. “Just like other people running for office around the state, he can continue to do his day job.”

The Assembly Public Safety Committee last year attracted significant attention for striking down bills from Republicans and moderate Democrats that would increase criminal penalties for fentanyl dealers and child sex traffickers.

Jones-Sawyer initially would not hear a group of fentanyl-related bills. He eventually allowed authors to present them at a special meeting, although almost none of the penalty-related measures made it out of the committee.

Just before the summer recess, members also killed a bill from Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, adding child sex trafficking to the list of crimes eligible for lengthy prison sentences under California’s “three strikes” law.

After public outcry, the committee held a last-minute meeting and advanced the measure. Newsom signed Grove’s bill in September after it received legislative approval.

NEWSOM NAMES NEW SECRETARY

Homelessness is a top issue for Californians, and Newsom acknowledged that Tuesday when he named Oakland native Tomiquia Moss as the new secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

She is no stranger to the issue of housing and homelessness.

Moss was the founder and CEO of All Home, which advances regional solutions to homelessness and poverty in the Bay Area. Prior to that, she served as CEO of Hamilton Families, another homeless advocacy group, from 2017 to 2019 and chief of staff for the Oakland mayor’s office from 2015 to 2017.

She also serves as board president of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California.

If confirmed by the Senate, Moss, a Democrat, would make $232,858.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The governor didn’t clear these homeless encampments — they just moved them down the street. California spends more tax dollars per homeless person than we do on our students. The homeless crisis is a national embarrassment. This governor needs to focus on real results instead of chasing presidential aspirations and gas-lighting Californians.”

- Sen. Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, in a statement response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press release announcing the clearing of nearly 5,700 unhoused encampments.

Best of The Bee:

  • You’re not dreaming: Filling your tank in the Sacramento region has become increasingly less expensive, via Brianna Taylor.

  • Ahead of his Thursday evening Fox News debate with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Gov. Gavin Newsom is seeking to burnish his record on homelessness, via Andrew Sheeler.

  • Ask any California state worker what piqued their interest in state service, and they’ll probably say a relative told them to apply. To an outsider, state work can feel like its own world with its own rules, its own culture and even its own secret language. Having a family member or close friend who knows how to navigate that world is a huge benefit, via Maya Miller.