As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

SD-12: Denham Recall Reaches The Ballot: Vote Must Happen Within 60-80 Days

This is a pretty big deal. I really hadn't been paying much attention to this recall possibility, but it's come to fruition. There have only been 4 other recall elections of sitting state legislators in the past 90 years. Jeff Denham becomes the fifth.

The recall attempt of Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, has gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Tuesday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger must set the recall election for a date 60 to 80 days from today, Bowen's office reports.

Once the Governor sets the date, (it seems almost certain that he'll pick June 3, which is 77 days away and also the day of the statewide primary) candidates can emerge. And given Sen. Perata's interest in this race, I think we'll see some strong Democrats contest this seat, unlike the somewhat shameful behavior in SD-15, where apparently Abel Maldonado's vote for last year's budget got him a reprieve from any challenge (right now there's no Democrat on the ballot to face Maldonado, though a write-in campaign still has time to emerge). However, this does put the Senate in play to flip to a 2/3 majority, given this race and the race in SD-19 with Hannah-Beth Jackson versus Tony Strickland.

Like the gubernatorial recall in 2003, there will be two questions on the ballot. The first will ask if Denham should be recalled, and the second will ask who among a list of challengers should replace him.

It seems to me that this is an excellent opportunity to message-test the major themes around the budget, revenues, and spending in advance of the nasty legislative fight and the November general election. While I don't expect this recall to be as exciting as Gray Davis', or to feature Gary Coleman, to the extent that it's a referendum on failed conservative ideology I think it could be extremely revelatory.

Robert is our resident expert in this neck of the state, I expect him to chime in.

UPDATE: Apparently, the old No on 93 team is getting back together to support Denham. So expect them to make this about Perata and a power grab. Whatever they choose, this will be extremely costly to the CRP at a time when they don't have the money. And they have to be extremely nervous about this stat:

The recall campaign, funded by the Democratic Party and a campaign committee linked to Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, turned in more than 61,000 signatures last month, nearly double the 31,084 need to qualify.

I would guess that 61,000 voters would be more than enough to dump Denham in June.

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