California Dem Congressional Candidate Hasn’t Read the Anti-Crime Ballot Measure He's Trying To Kill

Dave Min, who is running to replace Katie Porter in Congress, admits for the second time in a week that he hasn’t read a popular anti-crime ballot measure he is working to undermine

California state senator Dave Min (@DaveMinCA)
June 19, 2024

California Democratic congressional candidate Dave Min, who is running to represent a purple swing district currently held by Rep. Katie Porter (D.), said for a second time on Wednesday that he has yet to read a popular anti-crime statewide ballot measure—even as he joins his party's efforts to kill it.

Min authored a bill in a criminal justice legislative package that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D.) and Democratic leaders hope to enshrine as a weaker alternative to the ballot measure, which would crack down on fentanyl trafficking, California’s retail theft crisis, and open-air drug markets. On Wednesday, Democrats on the final vetting committee approved the package along with language that would repeal all of its policies should voters approve the ballot measure. A mayor in Min's district on Wednesday slammed the congressional hopeful, saying his failure to read the measure reflects "laziness and incompetence."

"I’ll be honest, I have not had time to review the initiative," Min told GOP state assemblywoman Kate Sanchez during a legislative hearing. "I’ve got a lot on my plate these days."

Min’s admission comes as top Democrats in the state face growing backlash over their plot to kill the ballot measure. The Sacramento Bee editorial board said Democrats "feel emboldened to game the system" and "fear the voters." Democratic lawmaker Marie Alvarado-Gil, meanwhile, condemned the leaders’ "political maneuvering," against their ploys to undercut the November ballot measure. Law enforcement and prosecutors around California say the measure is needed in order to address the crime, homelessness, and drug problems that are frustrating residents.

On Wednesday Min said that he supported adding a kill provision to his bill should the ballot measure pass because it was added to all the proposals in the Newsom-endorsed package and "we accepted those amendments as being necessary to the bill."

This provision could undermine the ballot measure, as voters would be told their support for it would also mean overturning just-passed criminal justice legislation that Newsom and other Democrats are claiming will solve their concerns. Those bills can’t and don’t restore penalties for the underlying crimes of theft and drug dealing.

"I know there’s a lot of politics around this bill and around the initiative you’re mentioning, I’m trying to just get the problem solved here," Min told the legislative committee on Wednesday.

Democrats and Newsom want the measure off the ballot, as strategists warn it could hurt them in California’s tight congressional races by spurring a more conservative voter turnout. These races, which include Min’s, will be crucial in determining control of the U.S. House of Representatives come November.

Newsom, meanwhile, is drawing fire after leaked emails from the past weekend showed his chief of staff trying to delay the ballot measure until 2026, when the governor’s term will be up and the politics may not be so risky for Democrats.

"All the survey data I’ve seen is that the sheriffs and the DAs [behind the measure] are on the side of the voters," said veteran California GOP political consultant Matt Rexroad. "[Democrats] are trying to use the power of their supermajority to change that, but there are no Democrats in big chunks of California who can afford to be on the side of smash-and-grab robbers."