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

Saturday, March 14, 2009

CA-AG: Eleventy-Billionth Candidate Enters Race

For some reason, Attorney General has become the most coveted job in California. I'm counting EIGHT Democratic candidates either announcing or strongly hinting toward announcing for the primary. There's Kamala Harris and Ted Lieu and Alberto Torrico and Pedro Nava and Joe Canciamilla and Rocky Delgadillo among the announced. There's Chris Kelly, the chief privacy officer for Facebook (the website that keeps trying to invade your privacy), hinting at an announcement. And now my city councilman Bobby Shriver is talking about getting in.

Bobby Shriver, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the brother of California first lady Maria Shriver, is mulling a run for state attorney general next year, according to his political adviser [...]

"There's been a wide variety of people who have come to him and who he has used as a sounding board to talk about the job of attorney general and the role it takes, the profile it has in terms of moving California forward," said Harvey Englander, a Democratic political strategist who managed both of Shriver's successful runs for Santa Monica City Council.

Englander, who described himself as "very close" to Shriver, called the role of California's top cop "a very powerful position" and one that is "closest to fitting his profile."

I should say that Shriver is not seen as a progressive ally on the city council. The Santa Monica Democratic Club did not endorse him in his run for re-election, and nor did Santa Monica for Renter's Rights. I wouldn't say he's been terrible on the council, but he doesn't have a grassroots base. He has been quite good throughout his career on environmental issues, and his vote to reject the proposed Toll Road through the Trestles while on the state parks board earned him removal from his brother-in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In such a crowded field, his name may help with low-information voters. It will not help, according to other campaigns in the race with winning the overall primary:

As for Shriver, with whom (Torrico campaign consultant Phil) Giarrizzo said he has worked on environmental issues, “he’s a talented, bright, articulate person, but we’ve seen many times, in the sense that ‘he’s a Kennedy,’ that people look to accomplishment, they look to a record,” Giarrizzo said. Primary voters tend to be very discerning, he noted, and “it doesn’t work that you can just pass along a family name; he will have to run on his own merits … a level of experience he’ll have to communicate. I don’t think we look at him as ‘a Kennedy’ – I think we look at him as Bobby Shriver, an activist and city councilman.”

I would look to leadership in assessing these candidates. You have Ted Lieu traveling to Washington to meet with Administration officials and get them to raise the threshold on homeowners underwater in their homes eligible for help from the Obama housing plan. You have Alberto Torrico trying to get oil companies to actually pay for the natural resources they take out of our ground. I don't much care for names and profiles as much as I do leadership.

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