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Essential Politics: Good news for Trump – Los Angeles Times

Today’s Essential Politics begins with Hillary Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine in the West. Clinton on Monday raises money in Los Angeles and appears with Jimmy Kimmel. Kaine is in Las Vegas and then goes on the California fundraising circuit this week.

Donald Trump is in swing state Ohio, while his running mate Mike Pence is in battleground Iowa.

I’m Christina Bellantoni, and an interesting thing happened over the weekend, as Trump gained ground over Clinton in our USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times daily tracking poll.

The jump comes after a broad-based decline in early August and suggests a possible narrowing of the race.

As of Sunday, the tracking poll showed Trump at 45% and Clinton at 43%, within the survey’s margin of error. Those results are far closer than most other polls, which use different methodology and almost uniformly show Clinton ahead by several points.

For the first time in three weeks, more Trump supporters said they planned to vote than Clinton supporters by a slight margin, 83% to 82%. One week ago, on Aug. 14, 78% of Trump supporters planned to vote compared with 83% of Clinton supporters.

Before the figures surfaced this weekend, Cathleen Decker took a look at six weeks of findings from the poll and detailed how Trump’s 22-point lead among whites narrowed to 18 points. Among nonwhites, Clinton’s advantage rose from 38 points to 46 points. Trump’s lead among voters without a college degree shrank from 12 points to five points. Among those with college degrees, Clinton’s edge increased from 13 points to 15 points. Among men, Trump’s advantage dropped from 12 points to eight points. Among women, Clinton’s edge grew from five points to 12 points.

You can always check in on the results of the tracking poll at the top of the politics page, and get more details here. (And this is a good explainer on how this poll is different from others.)

IS THIS A PIVOT?

First, Trump expressed “regret” for some of the things he’s said over the course of his campaign.

Then, top aides suggested the GOP nominee may be reconsidering his signature campaign promise to round up and deport 11 million people who are in the country illegally. Brian Bennett details how Trump is “wrestling” with how to do it, the latest sign that his new management team may be trying to broaden his appeal.

Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics.

CLIMATE DEBATE CENTERS ON POOR PEOPLE

As Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders push toward a major vote on California’s climate change policies, wary lawmakers are pushing back with a pointed complaint.

They want more money generated by the state’s climate effort to go toward disadvantaged communities, Liam Dillon reports, and their efforts have helped inspire a climate spending plan with a huge boost toward poor neighborhoods as well as Brown-endorsed reform measures to funnel more dollars their way.

The whole thing is causing friction between lawmakers from poorer parts of the state and big-city legislators. “It’s welfare for the rich,” one lawmaker said of rebates for electric cars. Another said, “A poor person in my community doesn’t see a person driving a Tesla and say, ‘That benefits me.’ “

As the legislative session rockets toward a finale, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed.

EMBATTLED ASSEMBLYMAN HALTS CAMPAIGN, BLAMES ‘HATERS’ AND EX-WIFE

Assemblyman Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) indicated Friday he was no longer actively campaigning for a U.S. House seat against Democratic Rep. Grace Napolitano.

“I don’t have the fight in me to continue forward in a congressional run,” he told reporters Friday in Sacramento after more than two weeks on medical leave.

The assemblyman, who was stripped of his committee assignments after a judge issued a domestic violence restraining order against him, said he has been suffering from blood pressure issues.

Sophia Bollag reports he compared his ex-wife, Baldwin Park City Councilwoman Susan Rubio, to “Tonya Harding,” and said her accusations that he beat her during their marriage have been like “a baseball bat to my knees.”

Hernández’s congressional bid was rocky from the start, Javier Panzar reports. The accusations from Rubio landed two months before the election and, along with other past scandals, were used as attacks by Napolitano’s campaign.

Though Hernández cannot seek re-election to the Assembly because of term limits, he has an existing account to raise money for a potential run for California’s 22nd Senate District in 2018. Hernández’s office said “he is keeping it as an option.”

WHEN IT’S PERSONAL

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s support for gun control laws is personal. He’s seen gun violence take the lives of three of his relatives and injure two others.

Rendon talked to Patrick McGreevy about how his cousin Armando’s murder in 1997 helped shape his views on the issue.

CONGRESSMAN’S FATHER WILL GO TO PRISON

Babulal Bera, the 83-year-old father of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for organizing a money-laundering scheme that helped fund two of his son’s campaigns.

The judge acknowledged Bera’s age would make a prison term more difficult for him than for a younger man, but said the sentence addressed the severity of his actions and was sufficiently serious to deter others from committing similar crimes.

Bera’s sentence, which was lighter than federal guidelines that call for up to three years in prison, included a fine of $ 100,200. He could be released after 10 months and must surrender to authorities within 90 days.

BROWN’S BIG HOUSING MEASURE IS DONE

Last Thursday, Rendon delivered the death knell for Brown’s major plan to streamline housing development, saying that talks wouldn’t move forward in his house this year.

The negotiations had been on life support for weeks after powerful labor and environmental groups had walked away from the table. Brown had wanted to make it easier to build housing as a way to lower costs. But the labor and environmental organizations were concerned about pay for construction workers and that the measure would limit some environmental review of projects.

Also unlikely to move forward is $ 400 million in low-income housing subsidies that Brown had agreed to spend if the Legislature passed a version of his streamlining plan.

SENATE RACE SNOOZE

Political campaigns usually slow down during the lazy summer months, but California’s U.S. Senate race has been sleepier than most. During the first weeks of August, Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez and Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris rarely surfaced for public campaign events — surprising, given that this is California’s first open Senate seat in more than two decades.

Phil Willon reports that Sanchez may have the most to lose, since she trails in the polls and with campaign fundraising.

ANOTHER SHOWDOWN EXPECTED ON FARMWORKER OVERTIME

California lawmakers are expecting another battle over a bill that would expand overtime pay for thousands of the state’s farmworkers, Jazmine Ulloa reports. The legislation, revived by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), would phase in new overtime rules over four years starting in 2019.

A large coalition of supporters, and even Clinton, say AB 1066 promotes the fair and equal treatment of all workers. But opposition in California’s $ 54-billion agricultural industry is just as strong, with producers and lobbyists countering it would burden farmers with more costs and spur some growers to leave the state.

PODCAST: DRUG DEBATE FIZZLES, REPUBLICANS LOSE MORE GROUND

For months, powerful interest groups battled behind the scenes at the state Capitol over a plan to require new disclosure over the price of prescription drugs. But the bill was officially killed last week, the victim of amendments crafted in private that weakened its efforts at transparency.

On the latest California Politics Podcast, John Myers leads a discussion on the collapse of talks over drug price transparency and how it might affect a Nov. 8 ballot measure on the same topic. Other topics include disagreements between Democrats on climate change proposals, and a new voter registration report showing Republicans again losing ground in the Golden State.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

— Tracy Wilkinson evaluates Clinton’s record as Secretary of State.

— Louisiana flood victims welcomed help and comfort from Trump and Pence.

— Yes, if somehow you didn’t hear about it already, there was a naked Trump statue in Los Angeles.

— In his Monday column, George Skelton upbraids lawmakers for not being able to raise taxes to pay for crumbling roads, and Brown for not pressuring them harder.

— California became the first state to officially legalize lane splitting when Brown signed a bill authorizing the California Highway Patrol to establish guidelines for the practice.

— California Assembly members on Thursday passed a controversial bill decriminalizing prostitution for minors in an effort to protect children and teens forced into the sex trade.

— A bill that would protect young witnesses at the center of trafficking cases is headed to the governor’s desk.

— The California Assembly passed a bill to end the time limit for prosecuting rape and other felony sex crimes, paving the way for the legislation to reach Brown before the session ends.

Sen. Barbara Boxer pushed for more focus on the Salton Sea Thursday in response to a Times story about complaints from local officials that state and federal agencies are dragging their feet on projects to save wildlife around the drying sea.

— What do you think of Clinton? We want to hear from you.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.

LOGISTICS

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