The Skinny

How confident are the Democrats in their November election hopes? Well, the party is so flush with cash that they apparently have money to burn. The party gave more than $40,000 to Assembly Rules Committee chairman Ted Lieu this week, even though Lieu is not remotely in any electoral danger. Lieu did donate $30,000 to the party back in August, so maybe this was just their way of saying ‘thanks but no thanks.’ Plus interest, of course…And it looks like the UFW is parting ways with longtime lobbyist Richie Ross. According to filings at the Secretary of State’s office, the UFW has dropped Ross as their lobbyist. Ross has been a booster for the union, and his political clients often carry UFW legislation. UFW also employs Ross’s daughter, Esperanza, who they continue to keep on their rolls as a hired gun. But this would seem to confirm much of what we’ve heard bout Ross in recent months – that he’s transitioning out of the day-to-day operations on many legislative races and clients, and is evolving into more of an eminence gris for the party…CTA may not be playing with other labor groups in their independent expenditures for legislative races, but they’re still pumping money into candidates. CTA has opened its own IE committee, and has given money to Democrats Joan Buchanan and Manuel Perez. And we hear there’s money coming on behalf of Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo…And it’s never too early to think about 2010. Already, we see that one former Assemblymember is plotting a comeback. Former Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez, who lost a state Senate bid to Ron Calderon, has opened a committee to run for his last term of Assembly eligibility. Seems like a good stepping stone, at least, for whatever redrawn Senate district may be open in 2012…

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