Newsom Recall Part 6: Kapelovitz #1 on Ballot (UPDATE: Sort of)!

Animal Rights (and criminal defense and First Amendment) attorney hitches a client to a lamppost outside of a courthouse — every trial lawyer’s dream!  [Correction 7/20: not his client; it belonged to him.]

This afternoon, I called Daniel Kapelovitz — here’s his website; you should definitely take a look — for the first time so I could set up a time for an interview.  He told me that he had just gotten a call from an local TV newsroom from up north seeking his comment about his being assigned the top position on the recall ballot.  He had said something like “someone up there apparently likes me.” If so, maybe in heaven animals get to vote — and they are pulling hard for the animal rights lawyer.

“Is that true?”, I stammered. With 41-42 candidates running,  it seemed like an incredibly lucky break. We quickly reviewed the randomized ballot alphabet he’d been sent, so as to confirm it (and so that I’d know if I could use this headline.)  Not only was “K” the top letter starting any candidates’ names, but “A” came before “I”; that put him in front of the three candidates whose surnames begin with “Ki.”  It was true.  The best ballot position — in a huge field, that’s usually worth a few points!

NOTE: It turns out that, because the state rotates the ballot alphabet across its 53 counties, so this may mean that Kapelovitz is #1 in only 2 or 3.

Kapelowitz, who on the side has been an actor and small-time movie producer, had better hold on to the rights to his story, because in a piece of fiction no one would believe it.

How does a third-party candidate with no experience as an elected official — though plenty of experience with both law and issue advocacy — get into a position where he has as good a chance as anyone to  replace Gavin Newsom as Governor if he loses the recall — as the massive number of Republican candidates turning out their flocks is designed to facilitate?

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a confluence of village idiots (and a little luck) to raise a dark horse candidacy.

  • Being assigned the top ballot position helps!
  • Opposing 8-9 Republicans with comparably legitimate chances (we’re still waiting to see whether Larry Elder qualifies) and one Libertarian public official splitting the Republican/right-wing vote helps a lot!
  • Having the Democratic incumbent — backed by a state party whose leadership may be slightly more prone to cravenly bowing to the powerful than are Vladimir Putin’s followers — block any legitimate Democrats from running to replace him, lest they encourage people to vote for his recall, was a huge assist!
  • Having three other Green candidates drop out (replaced by just one, who is without a website or any apparently relevant experience), and no Peace & Freedom candidate on the ballot, was a lucky break!
  • Having no Democrats or No Party Preference candidate with anything going for them — except notoriety, in the case of for a porn star and a YouTube landlords instructor — who will be cannibalizing their votes of their portions of the population, is great luck!  (Newsom presumably does not want people even endorsing the Democrats running to replace him, which is amazing luck!)
  • Having ties to two industries (legal and entertainment) and two voting blocks (Greens and Berniecrats) in a low-turnout election — who can fund him quite well if they choose to — is quite fortuitous!
  • Finally, one thing isn’t luck: that he’s a very smart (top-ten graduate of UCLA Law), personable, serious, well-informed, and organized free-thinker of a sort that is usually considered to be “too good for politics.  Well, surprise!  When no one else would step forward to be able to keep a conservative Republican from taking the reins — Dan Kapelovitz has ridden in to the rescue!

Possible slogan: “Vote for him AND the horse he rode in on!”  Seriously, do you prefer the full color-or the this tone?  Tell us in comments.  [Corrections 7/20: it’s a mule, not a horse; he didn’t actually ride it to the courthouse; though it was hitched there and he can ride a horse.] 

We didn’t speak for long, but long enough for me to ask him about one issue: would he (as is common for Greens, common for Berniecrats, and uncommon for establishment centrist Democrats) favor legislation instituting ranked preference voting, as was recently used in the New York City Mayor’s race?

This dream has seemed so far-fetched that even Greens have not put too much energy into promoting it.  But if you have a third-party Governor making it a priority — even if it’s only for 13 months — then suddenly it becomes a possibility.  And if Democrats try to block it on the grounds of their desire to squelch outsider reform — well, then Kapelovitz might be popular enough to be re-elected in 2022 — and maybe 2026!

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves!  First he has an election to win — and he’ll need funds, volunteers, coverage, voters, and enthusiasm. Once people realize that he has stepped into one of the biggest political vacuums in memory, he may have good shots at them all!

Obviously, this is a developing story — one that bears watching!

Ahhh, there we go! True sepia!  That horse/mule looks like a winner!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)