By Buck Shott
May11, 2010 – This week, we bring you a ringside seat for the latest political knock-down, drag-out fights in state and local races.
MISSING IN ACTION: Ballot statements have been published for the June primary—but one local candidate’s statement is conspicuously absent.
El Cajon’s Vice Mayor Bill Wells, who has been raking in endorsements and donations in the 77th Assembly district race, curiously has no ballot statement listed. If you’re a betting person, odds for one of his two GOP opponents (Christine Rubin and Bill Jones) pulling off an upset victory just went up.
THEY’RE BAAAAAACK: First U.S. Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina tarred GOP primary opponent Tom Campbell as the architect of California’s “budget nightmare” in a TV ad that critics termed “Demon Sheep.” Now Democrats are firing back with a trailer to a new film titled “GOP Demon Sheep.” It attacks all three Republicans in the race, cautioning viewers that frontrunner Fiorina is "fleecing California," sent 28,000 jobs to the chopping block and outsourced jobs overseas while flying "over the carnage" aboard her two private jets. Baaaaad news for Republicans in the race, though incumbent Barbara Boxer no doubt hopes fed-up voters will flock to support her at the polls.
POIZNER GAINS ON WHITMAN: Just three weeks ago, Meg Whitman held a 22-point lead over Steve Poizner in the GOP primary race for Governor, according to SurveyUSA. But a new poll by the same pollster shows Whitman’s lead has dwindled to a paltry two points. How is it that loaning her campaign $59 million isn’t enough to assure victory? Opponents have less to spend—but their messages appear to be resonating with voters.
ADS TARGET WHITMAN: A Poizner ad shows vultures circling and slams Whitman for profiting off home foreclosures in vulture funds, admonishing: “Bad judgment, wrong values.” California Democrats, meanwhile, are also hammering Whitman in a new TV ad. “While Wall Street cracks down on Goldman Sachs, Meg Whitman is silent,” the ad states, noting that Whitman sat on the Goldman Sachs board and was forced by a judge to return “millions in insider profits” – while stashing away tidy sums in offshore accounts.
PORK CHOPPED? San Diego’s trio of Republican Congressmen have sworn off earmarks: Duncan Hunter, Brian Bilbray, and Darrell Issa made no requests to fund local projects this year, citing a need to cut federal spending. Meanwhile local Democrats Susan Davis and Bob Filner, continue trying to bring home the bacon —requesting $560 million for local projects. Davis’ earmark requests include $41 million for local defense firms (formerly a favorite earmark target for Duncan Hunter senior, father of the current Congressman) including developing treatments for post-traumatic stress syndrome in veterans. Filner’s earmarks include funds for NASSCO to build Navy ammunition ships and for Cubic Corp. to create a Navy surveillance system—and jobs for San Diegans
CHAMBER PULLS PLUG ON BROWN ATTACK AD: California’s Chamber of Commerce has cancelled TV ads following complaints from numerous members that the message was misleading. The ad slammed Jerry Brown’s record as governor, claiming he increased state spending—but failed to mention that the increase was due to filling revenue gaps created by Proposition 13, which Brown opposed. Prior to Prop 13, Brown had amassed a surplus—in part by cutting welfare, over objections of liberals.
SAMPLE BALLOT STUFFING: The San Diego County Democratic Party has filed a Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) complaint accusing the County Registrar of Voters with making an illegal campaign donation to the local Republican Party by stuffing partisan GOP inserts in ballots mailed to voters. Those inserts tout the “leadership” of Supervisors Ron Roberts and Bill Horn. A similar campaign mailer would have cost a whopping $50,000 just for postage. “If the County government is now in the business of sending partisan propaganda under its official seal, it must register as a campaign committee and report those contributions under California law,” said Jess Durfee, Chair of the County Democratic Party, who called the action “an outrage to the voters and taxpayers of San Diego County and a sickening blow to the integrity of our election system.”
SPEAKING OF POLITICAL BRAWLS….Assemblyman Mary Salas held a press conference to denounce her State Senate Democratic primary opponent , Juan Vargas, for raking in hefty insurance industry donations. Now Salas has accused a Vargas campaign worker of assaulting her campaign staffer at the event. “This is not the first time Vargas thugs have attacked workers or volunteers of opposing campaigns. In 2006, a Vargas associate went so far as to vandalize the car of a Filner volunteer in Imperial Valley,” a statement issued by Salas read. “These despicable acts cannot be tolerated, and I call on Juan to renounce these acts and to immediately fire everyone associated with the assault.”
TARNISHED EMERALD: The City Ethics Commission has fined Councilwoman Marti Emerald $3,000 for late reporting on her campaign finance report. But Emerald claims a “victory” since the commission also ruled that the mistake was unintentional. Emerald says she was “blackmailed” to admit that she knowingly withheld info, but refused to sign the confession.
WHAT DO AN AVOCADO FARMER, 2 ENGINEERS, AND A TEACHER HAVE IN COMMON? They’re all running against Supervisor Bill Horn in the 5th district. Hear all five candidates duke it out in a KPBS debate, or read the transcript.