California's Democratic congressional candidate hasn't read the anti-crime ballot initiative, but he supports efforts to defeat it anyway.


Dave Min, 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 bill he's trying to undermine.

California State Senator Dave Min (@DaveMinCA)

Dave Min, the Democratic candidate for Congress in California who is running for a “purple” swing district held by Democrat Katie Porter, said for the second time Wednesday that he still has not read a statewide crime-fighting referendum – even as he joins his party's efforts to defeat the bill.

Min authored a bill in a criminal justice bill package that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and Democratic leaders want to enshrine as a weaker alternative to the ballot bill that would address fentanyl trafficking, California's shoplifting crisis and open drug markets. On Wednesday, Democrats approved the package in the final review committee, along with language that would repeal all of its provisions should voters approve the ballot bill. A mayor in Min's district sharply criticized the congressional candidate on Wednesday, saying his failure to read the bill showed “laziness and incompetence.”

“I'll be honest, I haven't had time to review the initiative,” Min told Republican Rep. Kate Sanchez during a hearing in the House. “I've had a lot on my plate lately.”

Min's admission comes as leading Democrats in the state face growing opposition to their plan to defeat the ballot measure. Sacramento Bee The editorial said Democrats “feel emboldened to game the system” and “fear voters.” Democratic Rep. Marie Alvarado-Gil, meanwhile, condemned the “political maneuvering” of party leaders and their ploys to undermine the November ballot bill. Law enforcement and prosecutors across California say the bill is necessary to address the crime, homelessness and drug problems that frustrate residents.

On Wednesday, Min said he supported adding a kill clause to his bill if the ballot measure passed because it had been added to all proposals in the Newsom-backed package and “we accepted those changes as necessary to the bill.”

This provision could undermine the ballot measure by making it clear to voters that their support would also mean repealing the just-passed criminal justice bills that Newsom and other Democrats claim would address their concerns. Those bills cannot and do not restore penalties for the underlying crimes of theft and drug trafficking.

“I know there's a lot of politics around this bill and the initiative you mentioned, I'm just trying to resolve the issue here,” Min told the legislative committee on Wednesday.

Democrats and Newsom want the bill off the ballot because strategists warn it could hurt them in California's close congressional elections by encouraging more conservative voter turnout. Those elections, which include Min's campaign, will be crucial for the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

Newsom, meanwhile, is under fire after leaked emails last weekend showed his chief of staff trying to delay the ballot measure until 2026, when the governor's term will be over and the political risks for Democrats may not be as great.

“All the polling data I have seen shows that the sheriffs and prosecutors [behind the measure] are on the side of the voters,” said Matt Rexroad, a veteran political consultant to California Republicans.[Democrats] try to use the power of their two-thirds majority to change that, but in much of California there are no Democrats who can afford to side with the burglars.”