By Miriam Raftery
Gail Lover also contributed to this article
October 26, 2010 – The California Secretary of State’s race pits two candidates who each represent historic milestones. Democratic incumbent Debra Bowen won a national John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for ordering hack tests on electronic touch screen voting machines—then decertifying some machines after tests at universities proved that tampering could change votes. She was the second woman elected to the office (March Fong Eu, in 1974, was the first).
Her opponent, Republican Damon Dunn, aspires to be the first African-American elected to the office. A Stanford alumnus, he told Chamber members that he was mentored by Condoleeza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State. Founder of a real estate business and an active community volunteer, he also had an award-winning career as a college and NFL football player.
“Put some swing in our vote,” Dunn told members of the San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce during an October 20th meeting at Nico’s Steak & Chop House in Eastlake. Noting how voting patterns have changed over the years, Dunn urged the group to “know the power of your neighborhood” and encouraged networking in the community.
Dunn has emphasized educating the public on programs to assist small businesses, providing matching grants for targeted areas for storefront renovation projects, especially healthcare facilities. He assured that he and his staff would be advocates for small businesses.
Bowen, a former state legislator who carried numerous election integrity bills, ordered a top-to-bottom review of our state’s voting systems when she took office in 2007. She won a $3.25 million lawsuit against a voting system vendor, strengthened election fraud prevention efforts, expanded voter education and enhanced public access by expanding website services and establishing social media feeds for Secretary of State news and directions.
She received the Profiles in Courage award for "conscientious and courageous acts of the public servants and to encourage elected officials to choose principles over partisanship." She also cut her department’s budget by 25% in the past two years. She holds a law degree from the University of Virginia and practiced law with a major Los Angeles firm, also working as a sole practitioner.
Bowen is endorsed by all major newspapers in California including the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, the Fresno Bee, and the San Francisco Chronicle. (Dunn’s site lists no newspaper endorsements). Bowen is endorsed by dozens of other organizations ranging from law enforcement groups to the California Teachers association.
Dunn is endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz, Clovis Chamber of Commerce, New Majority California, and Republican/local elected officials.
This editorial is deficient for not even mentioning Christina Tobin, the Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State. She is the founder of Free & Equal, which has sponsored six candidate debates this year, and which is sponsoring the only gubernatorial debate in California this year to include all six candidates (it is being held in Sacramento on October 28, and four of the 6 ballot-listed candidates will appear). She is endorsed by Ralph Nader. She led the opposition to Proposition 14, the June 2010 ballot measure that, starting in 2012, will eliminate minor parties from the general election.