Tag Archives: Alex Padilla

Alex Padilla Will Bring Innovation and Efficiency to the SoS Office

The Honorable Alex PadillaEffective legislator will bring new energy to SoS office

by Brian Leubitz

I’m not as big of a critic of Debra Bowen’s time in office as some others. To be clear, while the office could have done a better job in some areas, like Cal-Access and some other very important data tools, she has made a concerted effort to make the voting process transparent. That being said, maybe we need a different type of leader in that office now.

With the recent news that Sen. Alex Padilla was leading Republican electoral neophyte Pete Peterson by a relatively slim 43-36 lead in the recent Field Poll. Of course, name ID on both candidates is very low, and much of those numbers are due to party ID alone. Peterson has a history in the think tank world that makes him appear pretty nonpartisan. And he probably would play most issues pretty straight down the middle. But, there are a few differences, and these differences tend to come up at the most important times.

During the primary I endorsed Derek Cressman because he has a history of fighting the all-consuming power of money in politics. He had this to say of Sen. Padilla:

As a lifelong champion for campaign finance reform and open government, I am proud to support Alex Padilla for Secretary of State. Alex will bring his energy, smarts and experience to work to get things done — and he’s a champion of the reforms that will make California elections more fair and just. (Derek Cressman on Alex Padilla’s website)

I know there is a bit of hand wringing out there, especially after that poll. But Sen. Padilla will work to make our elections fair and increase transparency. As a legislator, he has looked for ways to innovate, and he will continue to do so as Sec. of State.

You can find out more about his campaign on his website here: www.padilla4sofs.com

The Problem with Polling and Top-2

Flawed polling in SoS race

by Brian Leubitz

With Sen. Yee dropping out of the Secretary of State’s race, the media and the polling operations have been in something of a frenzy to figure out how that will impact the race. And, so, you would think that a poll that was being conducted during that mess could have some very interesting data.

It could, but the Field Poll that was being conducted while Yee was arrested has a few very serious flaws. First, here are the up-front numbers after the Yee arrest: Peterson-R: 30%, Padilla-D: 17%, Curtis-G: 5%, Schnur-NPP: 4%, Cressman-D: 3%, Other/Undecided: 41%.

That’s all well and good, but let’s look at a few flaws in this poll.

1) The poll didn’t include all the candidates on the ballot. Ordinarily in a competitive race with just a few relatively well-known candidates, you can kind of forgive that. However, this is a different kind of race. There are a slew of unknown candidates. Even Padilla, who is the most known candidate in the race, was basically an unknown to 54% of likely voters. But the poll did not include two candidates who haven’t filed fundraising reports with the state: Jeffrey Drobman and Roy Allmond.

Now, to be clear, neither of these two will be your next secretary of state. And they won’t pick up a ton of votes. But Allmond is running as a Republican, splitting the generic Republican vote. Drobman is running as a Democrat and may cause problems for Democrats as well. However, that split of base Republican vote could be meaningful. Peterson, with his $1800 or so that he has in the bank still seems likely to grab one of the top-two positions, but that is hardly a given.

2) The poll was split between pre and post-Yee. The margin of error is higher than most Field polls, with a 5.5% pre-Yee MoE, and 6.5% post-Yee MoE.

3) Winning the June primary is essentially meaningless. We do not have head-to-head matchups in this poll

Conclusion: I normally love the Field Poll data, and some of the things about the coverage that have been bothering me have nothing to do with Field at all. The media should know that winning the June election doesn’t really make you a frontrunner, but that doesn’t stop Breitbart declaring that Peterson is “favored” to win. Yes, he is favored to win the vote totals in June, but that and a quarter will get you a gumball.

Give me data for a head to head matchup between Peterson and Padilla, and then see what we get before any leads are declared. Note that this is also an issue in the Controller’s race. SacBee declared Mayor Ashley Swearingen the leader in that race, despite the fact that Democratic vote is split. Top-2 is apparently creating a lot of confusion for both reporters and readers, but in many ways, it isn’t that different than a regular primary when it comes to vote consolidation. Most Democrats will vote for the Democratic candidate in November, so comparing June vote totals is more than a bit confusing. Perhaps headline writers could do a better job on this front?

I mean, come on, do you really think this video at the top of this post is going to push Peterson to the win?

CADem14: No Endorsements in Controller, SoS

Competitive Endorsement Races Amounted to a Whole Lot of Nothing

by Brian Leubitz

If you happened to walk into the Westin Bonaventure over the weekend, you may be confused why the key cards said “Alex Padilla”. But the endorsement races for the Secretary of State and Controller races were the highlight of the weekend.

But when it came down to it, the races weren’t settled at the party convention and the party will remain silent, at least until after the general election.  In the controllers race, Speaker John A. Perez got a plurality, but wasn’t able to garner anywhere near the necessary 60% required to get the endorsement. Betty Yee was able to attract strong support as well, showing that we might have an interesting race here.

In the Secretary of State race, Alex Padilla was nearly able to pull off the 60% endorsement. However, when all of the votes were counted, Padilla fell a few votes short.

In the end, the voters will have to decide for themselves without the help of the party endorsement. One thing is clear, all of the five Democratic candidates in the two races are qualified for the position. Perhaps the endorsement is most useful to let voters know when there is a Democratic candidate who doesn’t honor the values of the Democratic party.

Secretary of State Race Could Get Wild

Wide Field of Candidates Could Lead to Interesting General Election

by Brian Leubitz

The Secretary of State gig will be turning over this year, and there will be change. Lots of it. No matter which of the six announced candidates wins in November, the change from Debra Bowen will be stark. But as one of the two heavily contested races this year, I thought it would be worth a review of the current crop of candidates before the Democratic convention in LA this weekend. The race for the endorsement at this point seems to be Sen. Alex Padilla or a no endorsement position, but, of course, everything could change down at the CADem Convention. So, on to the candidates.

Derek Cressman – Democrat, Former Director of State Operation for Common Cause.

Derek Cressman is not a household name, but under the auspices of Common Cause, he’s done a lot of work on California campaign finance and other voter related reform. I’ve had the chance to work with him on a couple of occasions, and have always been impressed with the depth of his knowledge on the issues the SoS will face. From approving voting machines, to improving access and participation rates, and campaign finance regulations, I can attest that few people in California are as qualified for the job. And as far as I can tell, few people have anything negative to say about him.

All that being said, elections aren’t always about qualifications. Cressman will need to continue to fundraise and then do everything he can to increase his name ID. He may get a bump if he is able to get a good ballot title, but clearly his vote total is limited by this recognition question. If he’s able to squeak into the general election, all bets are off. His profile and qualifications would be very formidable in a two man race.

David Curtis – Green, Artist and designer

Curtis faces the same name recognition issues as Cressman without the long history in public policy around SoS-type issues. That being said, he clearly cares about the issues, with a special interest in using the power of the office in environmental issues. You can view his platform here.

Curtis has previously run for Governor in Nevada in 2010 and been active on other Green Party campaigns.

Alex Padilla – Democrat, State Senator, LA

Alex Padilla brings a lot of innate advantages into the race for SecState. First, he is known as being a very bright guy around the capital, with a firm grasp on the issues. He is the only Latino in a crowded field; that alone may be enough to get him through to the general election. But if he does get there, he’ll need to rely on a record that has only recently begun to be focused on the issues relevant to the office. While Padilla does bring a wealth of experience in local and legislative politics, only a handful of bills are relevant to the office. However, he does have some notable legislative accomplishments, including championing the Earthquake Early Warning System, a driverless car bill, and the bill for an LA NFL stadium.

On the other hand, Padilla is a bit more divisive than Cressman. The recent story about the lavish fundraisers thrown by Kevin Sloat won’t help a campaign for an office that handles elections, especially for a politician that has a bit of a track record with campaign finance violations. All that being said, Padilla is leading the cash on hand race. At the very least, he seems a favorite for one of the two November spots.

• Pete Peterson – Republican, Executive Director of Davenport Institute at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University

Peterson’s biggest advantage is something that he has no control over: he is the lone Republican. If another labeled Republican drops into the race, his position becomes a lot more difficult. That being said, Peterson is going to be as conservative as you could possibly elect in California statewide at this point. He has a record of working in bipartisan good government work, and the Davenport Institute, while at a conservative university, isn’t overtly conservative.

However, he is attempting to consolidate the conservative vote. He’s written a few articles for Flash Report that won’t hurt his cause there. The June Republican vote will be relatively strong. If he is able to get 80%+ percent of the GOP vote, he’d be pretty tough to dislodge from one of those two November spots. However, come November, that Republican tag becomes more of a liability than an asset.

Dan Schnur – No party preference. Former FPPC chair, Director of Jess Unruh Center at USC

First, let’s be clear about something: Dan Schnur is a Republican. He worked as Gov. Pete Wilson’s press director for five years, and then worked on John McCain’s 2000 campaign. Now, he’s always professed to be a moderate, and the McCain2000 work could back that up. However, his lack of party preference is more about wanting to draw votes from both Democrats and Republicans. It is an astute political move. Two Republicans in the race could very well mean no Republicans in the general election.

But his bio is stronger than Peterson’s with his brief tenure at the FPPC and very public appearances on the behalf of government reform. And as Joe Matthews points out, he’s the media’s candidate. He’ll need to use all of those media connections in the next three and a half months to increase name ID. Despite the rising number of decline to state voters, by definition those voters don’t stick together. He has no real base of support, but will instead have to hope voters can embrace the “outsider” schtick from a former political consultant.

Leland Yee – Democratic State Senator from San Francisco

Yee, having recently lost in his bid for San Francisco Mayor, has been building a strong resume for the office. Most notably, his online voter registration bill has made voting a lot easier and got a lot of good press for the senator and the state in general. More than a million voters have now registered to vote using the system. And over the past few years, he has built a long list of bills relevant to the job. He is seemingly following the steps that Debra Bowen took in her last few years in the Senate, and he is certainly a strong resume for this particular position.

On the other hand, Yee will also be carrying that state legislator ballot label and will have to hope that there is a strong turnout in the Asian-American community. That being said, he does have a complicated relationship with the community here in San Francisco, finishing a disappointing fifth place after taking some knocks in the press over a mixed record. He has built up a nice war chest, second only to Padilla, and could be a formidable candidate if the chips fall right. High Democratic turnout and/or weak Republican turnout could make this a two-Dem race, and you have to think that Yee would be in the best place to capitalize on that.

CA-SOS: Field Widens to Three Dems As Derek Cressman Joins Race

Secretary of State Turns Into a Competitive Primary

by Brian Leubitz

Of the statewide offices, incumbents will likely run for reelection as Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction. That leaves three statewide positions open: Treasurer, Controller, and Secretary of State. John Chiang looks to be a strong front-runner for treasurer and Betty Yee the front-runner for Controller. Former Bank Bailout (TARP) administrator has also been rumored for one of those two positions, and would likely make for the most credible Republican challenger.

On the other hand, there is no clear front-runner for Secretary of State. Debra Bowen, the long-time progressive leader on the issue of voting machines, is termed out. Sens. Alex Padilla and Leland Yee both quickly announced their candidacies after the presidential elections wrapped up. Both will likely have strong fundraising numbers, and a fair bit of name recognition within their communities. Padilla tends toward the more business friendly moderate wing of the party, and Yee towards the labor-friendly progressive wing. But neither fits the traditional mold particularly well, as they each have strong friends, and some detractors, on the entire spectrum of the Democratic coalition.

On the Republican side, Pepperdine think tanker Pete Peterson is the only announced candidate. And all three are sounding similar themes: increasing voter registration, turnout and transparency.

And now, Derek Cressman, a good government advocate who has spent time with the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and more recently with Common Cause as the director of state operations, is jumping into the race. I should note here that Derek is a friend of mine, and I’ll be hosting a conversation with him at Netroots Nation tomorrow at 10:30. He’s well suited for the job, as he has experience in managing an office and the knowledge of best practices over politics.

But, with a wild three-way race on the Democratic side, who emerges is anybody’s guess. As long as there is only one viable Republican, the top-two nature of the race won’t be too much of a factor. If an additional Republican jumps in, and we get several more Democrats, we run the (admittedly small) risk of a Rep-on-Rep general election. However, while there is still a fair bit of time left, I haven’t heard much in the way of additional candidates from either party, with just one big name left in rumors.

Without any polling numbers available at this point, it is tough to do very much in the way of prediction. The candidates will likely be focusing on fund-raising for a while before spending money on increasing their name ID, so poll numbers will have a lot of “don’t knows” for a while yet anyway. However it goes, SoS might end up being the race to watch in what is generally a pretty chill election next June.

Photo credit: The Uptake. Derek Cressman at NetrootsNation 2010.

Bob Hertzberg Looks for a Comeback

Former Assembly Speaker Has Strong Support

by Brian Leubitz

Former Assembly Speaker, and former California Forward leader, Robert Hertzberg is looking to replace Alex Padilla when he is termed out of his state Senate seat:

After announcing Tuesday he will run for a state Senate seat next year, the Van Nuys Democrat said this morning he has the support of incumbent Sen. Alex Padilla and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. …

“I’m a guy who really believes in public service,” said Hertzberg, 58. “And I just love the work.”(SacBee)

With his name ID and support that he has already garnered, he stands a pretty good chance at the seat. However, there is still a year before voters go to the polls for the 2014 primary election.

Bill Clinton’s California Swing with Newsom and Garamendi

Bill Clinton is making his California swing today and tomorrow. Today, he’s doing his events in support of Gavin Newsom’s camapaign for governor.  Although, article titles like “Clinton lends shine to lusterless Calif. campaign” aren’t what you generally like to see.

Anyway, his events for Newsom were this afternoon at LACC and at a private location for a fundraiser.  UPDATE: Here’s the video of the LACC event with Sen. Alex Padilla, the President, and Mayor Newsom.

The 42nd President will also appear with Lt. Governor John Garamendi in support of his CA-10 campaign. Unfortunately for Garamendi, the event is actually in Jackie Speier’s district. It seems that Clinton’s time in the Bay Area is short, so the event is being held near SFO.  

I actually just got a robocall from Garamendi touting this as a health-care rally, so expect that to be a focus.  Details over the flip.


Who:   President Bill Clinton, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi

What:  President Bill Clinton and Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi will host a rally with hundreds of Bay Area residents.  Lt. Governor Garamendi, California’s first insurance commissioner, is the Democratic nominee for California’s 10th Congressional District.

When: Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 3:00 p.m.

Where: Basque Cultural Center, 599 Railroad Avenue (near Magnolia Avenue), South San Francisco, CA 94080. Directions

Sen. Alex Padilla Comes Out Swinging as Newsom for Governor Campaign Chairman

State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-LA) today endorsed SF Mayor Gavin Newsom for Governor and was also announced as the new campaign chairman.

Padilla immediately came out swinging against Newsom’s presumptive competitor, Attorney General Jerry Brown:

But “with all due respect,” he added, Californians know Brown “for his time in state leadership decades ago.”

“The world has changed, and the challenges before us are certainly more complex,” Padilla said. “The solutions need to be modern solutions, not old solutions.” … Padilla said that Newsom, 41, has “the passion and certainly the energy we need to lead the state in a better direction,” and that Brown does not. (LAT 7/15/09)

This is basically standard talking points on the experience vs. youth dispute. Padilla, while known from his time on the LA City Council, is hardly a household name. However, he does help Mayor Newsom make inroads on what could be a decisive voting bloc – SoCal Latinos.

Now, that takes care of our horse race coverage for the day…

Sen. Steinberg To Run For President Pro Tem

In the aftermath of Prop. 93’s narrow defeat (and by the way, Arnold, we do have to move on now, because, you know, the voters didn’t vote for it.  Brilliant stuff, Gov), Anthony York reports the first candidate for the new Senate leader:

Now that Proposition 93 has been rejected by voters, the races to replace the two legislative leaders are officially under way.

Sacramento Democrat Darrell Steinberg was the first to publicly announce his candidacy to replace Senate leader Don Perata Wednesday.

“It’s no secret that I’m going to run for the position and I’m going to run hard,” said Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. “Obviously, it’s  a decision for the caucus to make and I know this, whatever happens, the election will be amicable,something that reflects the congeniality of the senate. That is the tradition. I expect it will be that way.”

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, also is a contender to succeed Perata. Conversations with several senators indicate that Padilla is actively seeking votes. Steinberg has been the prohibitive front-runner for the job since his election in 2006. Padilla, a former president of the Los Angeles City Council, is said to have waiting for a formal OK from Perata to begin seeking votes.

I’m a pretty big fan of Sen. Steinberg, for his engagement with Calitics and his advocacy for the mental health victims that the Governor tried to throw out on the street last year.

Rampant speculation begins in the comments!

UPDATE by Brian: Might as well throw in all the speculation together. Over at Capitol Alert, Shane has a good run down of all the competitors for Speaker. The problem with the Assembly, is that many of the so-called candidates will be termed out in 2010. That being said, I’m not sure I could take a real position on this other than to say that I would really not be comfortable with a Speaker Calderon. Really, really not comfortable. I have a lot of respect for Asm. Fiona Ma for her work on toxics and high speed rail and it might be a good time for a female Speaker, there has never been a female Speaker as far as I can tell. But, there are a number of interesting candidates, and we’ll have to keep our eyes out to ensure we get the most progressive Speaker and Pres Pro Tem as possible.

UPDATE by Dave: From the comments and via email from Anthony York, “Dorris Allen was speaker for about three months, thanks to WIllie Brown, back in 1995 or so.”

Alarcon enters the L.A. City Council District 7 Special Election

Senator Richard Alarcon, who just won the 39th Assembly seat without contest two weeks ago, has made official his entry into the fight to represent L.A.’s District 7 in next year’s special election.  Alarcon will be duking it out with Felipe Fuentes and, presumably, Cindy Montanez (who has announced but not yet filed).

Let’s review the drama.

Once upon a time in the nineties, both Cindy Montanez and Alex Padilla enjoyed the mentorship of Richard Alarcon, a political fixture of the Northeast San Fernando Valley.

That was before Alarcon encouraged his wife to run against Padilla for the City Council seat Alarcon had vacated in order to move on to the Senate.  Padilla, who had managed the ’98 campaign that had delivered Alarcon his new Senate seat, was, understandably, peeved.

Padilla went on to win his City Council seat, and Alarcon went on to enjoy his two terms in the Senate.  Montanez, meanwhile, represented much of the same Northeast Valley constituency as Padilla and Alarcon in her role as Assemblymember for the 39th district.

Things looked cozy in the San Fernando Valley for a time, but term limits have a way of turning even the most carefully crafted political detente upside down.

Alarcon and Montanez made a pact to trade seats in 2006, when both would be termed out of their respective legislative chambers.  Logical enough, but what then of Alex Padilla?  With Villaraigosa — not exactly a chum of Padilla’s — running the city, marinating in City Council for the indefinite future was an unlikely prospect for a rising star like Alex.

Padilla disrupted the Alarcon-Montanez arrangement, by running for Alarcon’s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat.  Then he disrupted it further, by winning.

On the evening of the June primary election when she conceded her defeat, Montanez, suddenly faced with a dearth of elective options, announced her intention to run for Padilla’s vacated Council seat.

Circumstances might have settled nicely at this point, with Padilla in the Senate, Alarcon in the Assembly, and Montanez a shoo-in for the Council, and with term limits in Sacramento years away.  But after such a nasty primary tangle for SD20, there was absolutely no love any longer lost between Padilla and Montanez, and Padilla was not about to stay neutral in any contest to succeed him.  Padilla’s Chief of Staff in the Council, Felipe Fuentes, filed papers for the upcoming special election.  The race was looking to be a match-up of Fuentes versus Montanez for the City Council seat vacated by Padilla and once occupied by Richard Alarcon.

But that wasn’t quite interesting enough.  Speculation abounded that Alarcon was not exactly satisfied with his fate for the next six years in the Assembly, and that his eyes were wandering in the direction of City Hall.  The question of what is so much more appealing about representing Council District 7, a seat Alarcon had already occupied in the ’90s, than Assembly District 39, will make for good political chatterboxing.  Regardless of his motivations, it’s now official: City Council District 7 will be the next clusterfucked battlefront in a long-standing and ever-more-complex squabble in the Valley among like-minded Democrats who once wore the same stripes.

And now there’s a brand new tidbit for political speculation: with the possibility of Alarcon going back to City Council, who’s starting to size up AD39?