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California Assembly Leaders Face Rebellions From Party Grassroots

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) is the target of a recall effort after shelving a single-payer health care bill for the year.

Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) is fending off calls to resign his leadership post – including a looming vote Friday night of the state GOP board of directors – after he negotiated a cap-and-trade deal with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

The two California Assembly leaders are both facing revolts from party activists after their actions on high-profile issues infuriated grassroots liberals and conservatives.

It’s the latest sign that California’s political center is shrinking.

“As hard as it has been to compromise, it’s getting harder. The ideological splits are getting deeper, and the middle is disappearing,” says USC political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe. “Sure, we have seen it before. But we haven’t seen it quite so intense in both parties – at least, not that I can remember – at the same time.”

There’s one difference in the quandaries facing the two leaders: While Mayes is coming under fire from many of his fellow Assembly Republicans as well as his party’s grassroots, Rendon still has the support of his Democratic colleagues.

Copyright 2017 Capital Public Radio