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State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, urged lawmakers Monday to reject a bill to pay farmworkers overtime after working eight hours in a day.

The Associated Press

Good morning and happy Monday! We hope you had a restful weekend!

‘GRAVITY COULD TAKE THEM DOWN’

California Republicans already have limited sway in the state Capitol, holding just 11 of the 40 seats in the Senate.

It could get even worse for the GOP on Nov. 3.

Three incumbents this year are fighting for their political lives in purple districts that used to be conservative strongholds. The state party is also working hard to keep a currently red open seat from turning blue.

“All four of those seats are competitive. It’s possible Republicans could lose all four,” said Republican strategist Rob Stutzman. “They largely reflect these districts that continue to morph under the feet of these Republicans.”

Up against a wealthy California Democratic Party, which has funneled significant sums into these swing districts, the Republicans also have to delicately balance their talking points with President Donald Trump’s more divisive rhetoric, Stutzman said. They have to woo moderate conservatives who might traditionally vote red, but have grown agitated with the White House.

“The Republican brand in California is rough, especially under Trump,” Stutzman said. “Gravity could take them down.”

To offset these disadvantages, the state party recruited 40,000 volunteers, trained 18,000 so-called “neighborhood team leaders” to bolster support for their local candidates and made about 8.4 million voter contacts, said Bryan Watkins, deputy executive director for the California Republican Party.

“They are tough races,” Watkins said. “(But) the Democrats in Sacramento and their one-party rule are really out of touch. When you make the argument that you don’t always have to be with us, but sending a Republican to Sacramento to add some balance might be the right thing, some folks are like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a good point.’”

The vulnerable incumbents are Sens. John Moorlach, Ling Ling Chang, and Scott Wilk.

We break down the races in this story today.

WHOSE ENDORSEMENT IS IT ANYWAY?

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association is in hot water over an election mailer. Again.

The CCPOA Political Action Committee, which previously sent out a mailer to voters in Assembly District 59, represented by Democratic Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, putting a targetover Jones-Sawyer, has sent another mailer, this time falsely claiming that Socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has endorsed Jones-Sawyer’s opponent in the race, Democrat Efren Martinez.

Sanders is popular in California (remember, he won our primary) and his endorsement is a coveted thing.

But the truth is that while Sanders has endorsed in the AD-59 race, he’s endorsed Jones-Sawyer.

Sanders wasn’t happy when he found out about the mailer, taking to Twitter to write, “The following mail piece being sent in LA is a lie. I endorsed (Jones-Sawyer) because he is the best candidate to represent progressive values. Deceptive political ads have no place in our political process. Efren Martinez must condemn whoever is making this effort on his behalf.”

NEWSOM CONDEMNS REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN

The tobacco industry’s effort to undo a new law banning the sale of flavored tobacco products in California does not have a fan in Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The governor is among those condemning the tobacco industry in a statement put out by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“This is Big Tobacco’s latest attempt to profit at the expense of our kids’ health,” Newsom said in a statement. “California will continue to fight back and protect children from Big Tobacco.”

ICYMI — Earlier this year, lawmakers passed SB 793, which restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products, albeit with several exceptions (including hookah, pipe tobacco and high-dollar cigars). Gov. Newsom signed the bill into law.

It wasn’t a slam dunk, however. Several lawmakers questioned whether the bill might have unintended consequences, such as the possibility of Black people being targeted by the law or subjected to increased racial profiling.

The tobacco industry didn’t take it lying down. Tobacco companies have spent millions funding the California Coalition for Fairness, Sponsored by Manufacturers, which is behind the petition effort to place a referendum on SB 793 on the 2022 ballot. If they reach the required threshold of signatures (623,212) by Nov. 30, they will prevent the law from going into effect until voters get a say.

SB 793’s author, outgoing Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, isn’t happy.

“Time and time again, Big Tobacco has shown that they will do anything to keep targeting our youth with their deadly products” Hill said in a statement. “Now they are spending millions to deceive Californians and block implementation of a law that will save countless lives. Californians won’t fall for these tricks. We will continue to be leaders in tobacco control and fight to protect our kids from Big Tobacco’s candy flavored poison.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Happy Birthday to me and Gavin Newsom, separated by 24 years and probably an existential chasm.”:

Dan Walters, the former Sacramento Bee and current CalMatters columnist, via Twitter

Best of the Bee:

Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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