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

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CA-10: DeSaulnier Solidifies Support While Others Circle

The biggest news out of the CA-10 race today is that, according to Lisa Vorderbrueggen, both Ellen Tauscher and friend of Calitics Rep. George Miller have endorsed Sen. Mark DeSaulnier for the future special election. That's a fairly big deal. There are essentially four power structures in the political scene CA-10, and DeSaulnier has swallowed up three - Tauscher, Miller, and Tom Torlakson. Considering that he's the chair of the Senate Labor Committee, the fourth power structure, the local unions, should be his as well.

Nevertheless, other prospective candidates are making news as well. Joan Buchanan's operatives clearly dropped a poll to Politico, showing her leading DeSaulnier narrowly:

The poll shows Buchanan leading DeSaulnier 21 to 18 percent, with Republican San Ramon mayor Abram Wilson at 14 percent and former GOP Assemblyman Guy Houston at 13 percent.

Neither Republican has yet expressed interest in the race.

Despite DeSaulnier’s experience representing the area in the state legislature, both Democrats have comparable name recognition, according to the poll. Buchanan is recognized by 34 percent of voters, while 31 percent offer an opinion on DeSaulnier.

That was a survey of 400 voters with a high margin of error (4.9%), so I wouldn't take it too seriously. Buchanan would see institutional support dry up fast, but could leverage an outside group like EMILY's List.

The insufferable California Blue Dog is floating that former Mod Squad member Asm. Joe Canciamilla, who previously announced he was considering the race for Attorney General, might jump in, but DeSaulnier hasn't just beaten him in the past, he's beaten his whole family (DeSaulnier beat Canciamilla's wife in a Senate primary in '08).

Meanwhile, there's "one of SF's top political minds," if he does say so himself, Adriel Hampton, who is intent on dropping a press release a day to get reporters to chase coverage. Yesterday he urged passage of S. 582, the Interest Rate Reduction Act, which is actually a solid policy goal to cap interest rates on credit cards and loans, sponsored by Bernie Sanders. Today he went hard negative against DeSaulnier:

California 10th Congressional District candidate Adriel Hampton (D-Dublin) is not mincing words in his criticism of State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier considering leaving the Legislature just months after being elected. If Sen. DeSaulnier were to resign his seat, it would result in a minimum of 112 day period where an additional Republican vote would be need to pass a budget or raise revenue under California's unique 2/3 requirement.

"When DeSaulnier ran for his office, he signed up for a four year hitch, not a few-month fling," Hampton said. "His fickle recklessness would strengthen the Republican bargaining position and could cost Californians billions in cuts to health care, education, and public safety."

Restaurant-owner DeSaulnier was sworn in to the state senate just last December. If he runs for Congress, it would be the third different office he has run for in as many years. If legislative Republicans believe he has a chance of winning, it would incentivize them to stall a budget compromise until after the election, further extending the period of gridlock that would result in Sacramento by his candidacy.

There's a lot about this that is arrogant and ridiculous ("restaurant-owner DeSaulnier" is kind of a lame epithet to put on a guy who's been elected by these same constituents multiple times), but Hampton raises a point I raised as soon as Tauscher announced she was leaving. The merry go-round of special elections will put Democrats in the legislature down a body or two well into next year, and in the case of Buchanan threatens the loss of the seat. Now, this logic maybe appeals to a junkie like me, but my guess is it will have approximately no appeal to those inside the district, who will want to pick the best candidate for the job. In addition, this is a hard negative message that only argues for someone not in the legislature to be elected, and since the field has in no way assembled fully, I don't see that as a political winner. Not to mention the pose that DeSaulnier is a fickle part-time legislator made by someone who apparently is still working a full-time job and thinking he can run for Congress at the same time.

Oh, and Sully Sullenberger won't run, either. In case you were wondering. But there are more candidates who may enter, FYI.

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