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OK, this is mainly for the political geeks out there; if that’s not you, avert your eyes.
It’s time to ask that eternal question when it comes to ballot slate mailers: “Who PAID to get on the slate and who got DRAFTED and may not even know that they’re there?” I got an e-mail today from a source that had been giving me lots of chances to buy onto the slate being crafted by a Democratic political figure associated with a consulting firm (whose slate contains the names “California” and “Democratic” but is “Not Affiliated with the California Democratic Party“), so I wanted to share with you what things look like from the candidate’s perspective.
As a candidate who has received so many solicitations for mailers in the past few months that I gave my plan to inform you about each one for fear of boring readers to death, I’m not a fan of pay-for-endorsements. But I don’t want to smear all of these candidates for patronizing houses of endorstitution! Let’s try to figure out who paid and who got dragged in to make the paying clients look good! Here are my suspicions — and they are only that!
Candidates in order of apparent placement on mailer:
Barack Obama for President of the United States
My guess: DID NOT PAY. Has a reasonable chance of winning California without it.
A couple of judicial candidates
My guess: DID PAY.
Reason: Priority of placement.
Senate Dist. 31 — Major General Richard Roth
My guess: DID PAY. He has a close race against Steve Clute for who takes on well-funded Jeff Miller in this Democratic-leaning District that borders OC (Corona.) Plus, he’s up near the top!
41st Congressional Seat — Mark Takano
My guess: DID NOT PAY. No way that he doesn’t make the top two (and has to be the favorite to win in Nov.) But his being on the “slate” helps General Roth.
35th Congressional Seat — Joe Baca
My guess: DID NOT PAY. Ditto the exact same above analysis.
(By the way: I don’t recall having a preference in the SD 31 race and I wish the Democratic victor well, whoever it is; I just don’t like pay-for-play slate mailers and do like letting people peek behind the curtain of electoral politics.)
Los Angeles County District Attorney — Jackie Lacey
My guess: DID PAY. (It’s a tough race with many candidates; she needs some boost.)
64th Assembly Seat — Isadore Hall
My guess: DID NOT PAY. There’s no reason that he should. He was probably drafted to help Lacey.
44th Congressional Seat — Janice Hahn
My guess: DID NOT PAY. This race goes to November and it’s just her against Laura Richardson. Why pay?
50th Assembly Seat — Betsy Butler
My guess: DID PAY. Oh, that’s why Hahn may have been drafted. This makes it look like Hahn is part of the same team as Butler (who currently represents the Beach Cities and Torrance.) The 50th AD is a tight race with three credible Democratic candidates — Torie Osborn leads in cash on hand and Richard Bloom is the Mayor of Santa Monica; the Republican might not even make the runoff — and Butler would benefit from association with Hahn. That’s no problem, though, so long as Hahn actually endorses her … and, I just checked, and she DOESN’T. She’s not listed as endorsing any of the three Democrats. Sneaky!
59th Assembly Seat — Reginald Jones-Sawyer
My guess: DID NOT PAY. Reasons: funding leader against impoverished competition, so doesn’t need to; well-liked Party official; and both his first name and last name are misspelled.
54th Assembly Seat — Holly Mitchell
My guess: DID NOT PAY. Incumbent. Maybe comped?
__ Assembly Seat — Norma Torres
My guess: DID NOT PAY. Reason: In no trouble at all. District number not listed. District number also not listed in website. (It’s the 52nd.)
47th Assembly Seat — Joe Baca, Jr.
My guess: DID PAY. He’s in a tight race with Cheryl Brown and a third in this district abutting Torres’s; the one Republican could knock the second place Democrat off of the November ballot. Association with Torres would be good for him.
I’ll stop there; I think that those are the only headliners. Anyway, this is the way that the slate mailers work. Again, these guesses are only my opinions; anyone who wants confirmation can just call the campaigns themselves — Betsy Butler’s for example! I don’t hold people’s paying to be on a slate mailer against them, but I really don’t like making publishers money for spreading choices made by payment rather than merit.