Tag Archives: Tony Strickland

The Race to Pass the Buck in CA-25

DFCon2012_0382Crowded Field and Top-2 could net interesting election

by Brian Leubitz

Buck McKeon announced his retirement in January, but the announcement produced little surprise. He was rumored to retire for a while now, including some rumors in the past few cycles. And Tony Strickland, after losing a run against Julia Brownley in 2012, has been pretty much campaigning in this district since.

But even with the Strickland campaign up and running for a long time, there have been no shortage of candidates. And over in the LA Daily News, Rick Orlov takes a look at the field:

The race has drawn two prominent Republicans – Sen. Steve Knight and former Sen. Tony Strickland – who have represented portions of the district in the state Legislature, as well as a physician who first ran against McKeon two years ago, a former test pilot, a pair of businessmen and one Libertarian. (Rick Orlov / LA Daily News)

Dr. Lee Rogers, the Democratic nominee in 2012, is running again, joining former Air Force pilot Evan Thomas. The crowded field of 4 Republicans, a Libretarian, and two Democrats kind of presents the question of Top-2. Last year, a strong chance at a Democratic pickup in CA-31 was foiled when a field of Democrats piled over each other and fell behind the two Republicans running. Of course, that could happen again there in 2014, with a huge field.

In order for that dynamic to really work, there has to be two recognizable members of one party and a field of less known candidates on the other side. However, 2014 seems more likely for the two Republican Senators to split most of the GOP vote, and the other two Republicans picking up only a smattering of votes. The fact that Thomas is starting a bit behind also makes him unlikely to creep into that top-2. However, with the small sample size we have seen so far, you never really know what is going to happen in the post Top-2 world.

While 2014 is likely to be a tough year for Democrats nationwide, one again California appears to be the breaking point of any momentum. The party stands a chance to pick up both CA-31 and CA-25, netting a few seats that may have to make up for other states across the country.

Running from Romney-Ryan, or reveling in it? Case study in CA-26

IMAG0504Greg Sargent first observed six Republicans, including CA-26 (Ventura County) candidate Tony Strickland, running from the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan. Sure enough, here’s Strickland claiming that he would have voted no on the Ryan budget because – and this is a true profile in courage, or something – the Ryan plan would give vouchers in lieu of Medicare for those 55 and younger, while Strickland’s cutoff is age 50. In other words, while Ryan’s plan is a huge, neon-orange, screaming

if you’re under 55, FUCK OFF, YOU DON’T MATTER

Strickland’s version is

if you’re under 50, FUCK OFF, YOU DON’T MATTER

Oh. That’s reassuring.

On Friday, August 17, Strickland held a press event on the grounds of a local seniors’ center that followed the Republicans’ Ryan budget pushback to the letter: “Inoculate by pledging to save and protect Medicare; use credible third party validators (mom or seniors)…”

IMAG0506Here’s Strickland, inoculating and validating at a senior center with wheelchair-bound seniors on the sidelines, dramatically signing a pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security for anyone 50 and older as he repeats the lie, which is to say the pants on fire lie, that Obamacare steals $500 billion $700 billion from Medicare. At Crooks & Liars, here’s the entire video of Strickland’s lies, including the oft-repeated “death panels” lie. Of course, to Strickland and his advisors “protecting” Medicare and Social Security means turning Medicare into a voucher program and privatizing Social Security, all in order to continue to favor the very wealthy and the corporate special interests over the middle class and the seniors forming the chorus line of his photo opportunity.

How much does Strickland want to run from the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it? To get to the truth, a Ventura County voter could check his website… oops, issues “coming soon.” IMAG0505Or a reporter could ask how much of the Ryan plan he’s read… oops, turns out he’s only read enough to articulate one small difference between him and Ryan, never mind the rest of the Path to Poverty. But Strickland can’t run from radical Ryan. Ryan co-founded the Young Guns program, and immediately named Strickland as one of his Young Guns. Strickland chairs the Romney-Ryan election California team. No wonder he’s wrong for California, and too extreme for Ventura County.

A Ventura County voter who wants to really preserve Medicare and Social Security, without Romney-Ryan-Strickland doubletalk, could vote for progressive champion Julia Brownley. And a voter anywhere who wants to give the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi – CA-26 is a nationally prominent toss-up race – could donate to Brownley.

Big Republican Money Keeps Coming in for Tony Strickland

Tony Strickland’s big oil-fueled campaign for Congress is getting a turbo charge of cash from some of California’s most extreme conservative special interests and high octane Republican bosses. Strickland has long tried to fool the voters of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties by pretending to be a moderate, environmentally-friendly Republican. But his actual record says otherwise: he has voted in favor of drilling along the California coast, denied the reality of climate change, and founded the so-called “Taxpayers Caucus” which opposes budgets with any added revenue including from oil companies making record profits, choosing instead to cut vital programs such as education. He is currently heading up Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in California, and is a founding member of the California chapter the of the arch-conservative Club for Growth, an organization explicitly devoted to expelling economic moderates from the ranks of the Republican Party.

So it’s not at all surprising that Strickland’s campaign is receiving a tainted wave of contributions from the big corporate backers he truly serves, including the Koch Brothers, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Valero and many others. Not to mention Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Republican budget architect Paul Ryan whose ranks Strickland hopes to join, and who openly voted to end Medicare but protected tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil companies.

And now Strickland is at it again, the beneficiary of a swanky high-dollar fundraiser at the home of California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and other leading California Republican establishment figures.

All of that dirty and ideologically-driven money will no-doubt be used to falsely portray Strickland once again as a reasonable, “moderate” Republican he isn’t. This time, however, the voters in California’s 26th Congressional district won’t be fooled. The gloss is off of Strickland’s slickly polished image. Tony has four long years of hyperpartisan votes and fundraising on behalf of his big corporate donors and extremist Republican ideologues. With every dollar he raises from those same interests he confirms what Californians already know: Tony Strickland is bad for California and doesn’t deserve to make decisions for us in Congress.

Cross-posted from WrongforCA.com

Linda Parks: A New Breed of High Broderist Politician

It’s hard to say which has been more harmful to the body politic in this country: the extremist tilt of conservative Republicans, or the crowd of aloof both-sides-do-it anti-partisans who give them cover. Normally the latter are confined to the traditional media, who follow closely in the footsteps of their patron bipartisan saint David Broder. Conservative extremists in elected office and partisan think tanks move on apace with their agendas; Democrats and even some progressives bend over backwards to give them most of what they ask for, in spite of the awful nature of the policies being espoused; conservative extremists smell weakness and demand even more; negotiations break down; and the traditional press tut-tuts over the horrible “partisanship” of it all. The stories written by these press flacks heave exasperated sighs at both parties for the futility of the debates, while covering the actual details of the policy arguments, the popularity of the proposals involved, and the depth of the actual concessions from each side with all the rigor of a children’s pop-up storybook. Jackie Calmes’ now legendarily terrible piece in the New York Times about the deficit reduction debate last year has become something of an archetype for this sort of vapid reporting.

Unfortunately, the passage of the top-two primary in California has created a new hybrid breed of anti-partisan politician. This relatively new species seeks higher office by attempting to marginalize both parties with the sort of detail-free bipartisan platitudes which the establish press has made its hallmark.

Case in point: Linda Parks, candidate for California’s new 26th Congressional District. Parks is currently the 2nd District County Supervisor encompassing much of Thousand Oaks and the surrounding areas. In 1996 she switched her registration from Democrat to Republican in order to win elected office in the mostly Republican district. She has a decent environmental track record, and is a moderate Republican swing vote on the Board of Supervisors. The local Republicans have attempted several fierce primary challenges against her, all of which failed due to Democratic crossover support (the district’s registration makes it very difficult for an actual Democrat to win there.) However, there was little chance for her to advance higher than the Board of Supervisors due to a lack of support for her in either Party.

But now Ms. Parks has seized on the top-two primary system to run for Congress, courting the Decline-to-State vote while marginalizing both parties and maintaining a conveniently substance-free platform. Because Jerry Brown signed a law recently dictating that the ballot must reflect the Party in which one is registered, Linda Parks re-registered with no party preference a few weeks ago. The June ballot for this majority Democratic district will now have four Democrats (at least two of them conservative), a conservative Republican state senator named Tony Strickland, and the “non-partisan” former Republican Linda Parks. If the Democrats split their vote, it’s entirely possible if not probable that the November run-off in this Democratic district will lack a Democrat entirely, and be a face-off between Parks and Strickland. Fortunately, fantastic progressive Assemblymember Julia Brownley is running for the district, but it’s no guarantee she’ll make it past June without a lot of help.

Ms. Parks’ issues page is frustratingly but predictably vague, with neoliberal austerity-friendly platitudes like:

Congress needs to stop the brinkmanship politics and work together to balance our nation’s budget and restore our bond rating.  This will give businesses the certainty they need to invest in capital projects and expand their workforce. This in turn will create demand for goods and services which will buoy our economy.

So yesterday I issued a challenge on Facebook to Ms. Parks saying the following:

It would be nice if Linda Parks would inform voters what she thinks Democrats have been too “extreme” and “partisan” on. Women’s health? The environment? The lowest tax rates in modern American history? I’m really curious. No more platitudes, please. Specifics are needed.

A number of respected people in the county “liked” the post, and Ms. Parks responded:

I know that to some, party is very important. I’ve heard some representatives say Republicans and Democrats won’t even look at each other when passing in the halls of Congress. I think I embrace many of the principles that you do. For example, I am pro-choice and pro-environment, and have a record of balancing the County’s budget, which had a structural deficit, growing a 10% reserve fund that increased the county’s bond rating. This makes borrowing cheaper so that we can build bridges, among other things. I do have a focus on making government operate more efficiently while providing services, like public safety, public health, and protecting the welfare of seniors, the mentally ill, and veterans. I’ll bring this non-partisan way of looking at problems to Congress, focusing on the issues that are important to Americans – like improving the economy and helping grow jobs -and I won’t be alone because there are others who are committed to setting aside partisanship to get us working again.

When it was pointed out to her that this was yet another platitude, she again came back with a response that would have made David Broder proud:

I think steadfast refusal to compromise and work towards common ground is polarizing. Hyper-partisanship (putting party before country) is the problem. For example one may agree with my positions but oppose me based on my party or in this case my non-party.

Somewhat exasperated, my response:

Please give me an example of Democrats at a local, state or national level “refusing to compromise” in a way that would have improved the policy outcome. Again, specifics please. Until then, these are simply platitudes that reinforce the false idea that 1) both parties are equally to blame; and 2) the “compromise” position would result in the most popular outcome. Neither claim is true.

Pressed on the subject, she resorted to yet more fact-free platitudes:

David asks for specifics on how Democrats have been too extreme or partisan or have refused to compromise. The failure of the parties to compromise is well documented. For example, S&P lowered our nation’s bond rating stating how they are “Pessimistic about the capacity of Congress” because “in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he’s learned that it takes bipartisan support to succeed in national security and foreign affairs and finds the current hyper-partisanship leads to polarization and eventually paralysis, jeopardizing our nation’s defense. Ben Bernanke discusses in the NY Times “Politics Hurt Markets and Nation.” So much can happen, in terms of give and take and collaboration if the parties worked together. I’d like to see a bipartisan committee that can bring the sides together.

Trying not to lose patience with the myriad ways in which her response demonstrated studied ignorance of the details of the negotiations, I shot back with:

1) Whose fault was the failure to reach a budget deal? On what speicifc items should Dems have compromised even further? 2) Did the S&P downgrade really hurt the nation’s economy or lower Treasury yields? How much should we have cut from Social Security and Medicare to please S&P and the Republicans? 3) On what pieces of foreign policy have Dems been too partisan, or undercut Secretary Gates. Specifics please. Also, bipartisan compromise gave us the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 and the AUMF for Iraq. Were those good ideas because they were passed with bipartisan votes? Specifics please.

She has ignored my queries. And why not? It advantages her nothing to actually face the issues honestly, any more than it does pundits like Broder or Thomas Friedman. Their arguments break down instantly when subjected to the remotest scrutiny.

Digby and I spent much of the late summer of 2011 pointing out time and again the number of ways in which the President and other national Democrats were going far, far out of their way to give Republicans 90% of what they wanted toward reaching a “Grand Bargain” on deficit reduction. I went to Washington, D.C. that summer and met many Democratic representatives who privately expressed to me their furious rage with hard-right tilt of the negotiations, driven in large part by the President and his advisers.

On the S&P downgrade, this blog was also at pains to point out that S&P was never an honest broker in making the downgrade in the first place. More importantly, I also noted that the downgrade had the opposite effect from what others predicted:

A downgrade in U.S. debt means functionally that U.S. treasury bills are, in S&P’s oh-so-wise opinion, less trustworthy and a greater credit risk to investors. This comes only a day after investors fled the DOW and S&P500 into the safe and waiting hands of…you guessed it: U.S. treasuries. The same treasuries that S&P suddenly finds a more dangerous buy. So what does that say about the stock market, and the S&P500? Perhaps S&P might wish to re-evaluate the credibility of its own market index.

And yet politicians like Linda Parks and their High Broderist friends in the traditional press will continue to make these sorts of vapid statements because they can, and because nobody “serious” pays attention to Paul Krugman or to dirty hippies who just happen to have a blog–no matter how knowledgeable we are, or how right we’re proven time and time again.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that while Linda Parks and the arch-conservative Strickland gang on the Republican side of the CA26 race despise one another, Parks’ fact-free platitudes help give extremist Republicans like him all the cover they need to do what they do. I don’t necessarily blame politicians like Linda Parks for having no awareness of macroeconomics, or for thinking that a nation like the United States has to balance its budget as neatly as a County Board of Supervisors does. That’s a piece of parochialism for which she may be forgiven, as opposed to members of the press who should know better.

But I do blame them for being so unaware of their surroundings that they help along the very extremism they pretend to oppose.

Cross-posted from the original at Digby’s Hullabaloo

Will vanity Democrats put Republican in office? Case study in CA-26.

Ventura County, California was long represented by useless back-bencher Elton Gallegly (R-CA-24). Now he’s retired, the lines have been redrawn to a slight Democratic advantage, and Democrats should have one of their best chances of picking up a House seat…unless vanity candidates, ostensibly Democrats, give the seat to the Republicans. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee lists the newly renumbered CA-26 as a “red to blue” race.

Below the fold, a case study in California’s new “top two” primary rules, and in ego.

On the Republican side, Tony Strickland is the young, energetic, ethically challenged teabagger into whom the national Republicans have poured their wealth ($250K and counting) and their hopes of winning this election and then cruising to reelection every two years for the next several decades. He’s running against Linda Parks, so moderate (think Olympia Snowe with environmentalist leanings) that she’s officially reregistered as “no party preference.” Both have high name recognition.

The Democrats began with county supervisor Steve Bennett as the front runner. Also filing were tennis pro David Cruz Thayne, harbor commissioner Jess Herrera, and Moorpark city councilmember David Pollock. Bennett withdrew literally minutes before an endorsement vote at the state Democratic party convention Feb. 11. Activists, including me, immediately began drafting Assemblymember Julia Brownley, and on Feb. 21 she stepped into the race, where she immediately became the front runner. However, unless the Democrats unify behind her, voters will diffuse their votes among four candidates and lose in a free-for-all, leaving Strickland to face Parks in the November election under California’s new “top two” rule.

Julia Brownley is both progressive and viable. She has a passion for education and a track record on environmental issues (she wrote AB 1998, the ban on single-use plastic bags, that nearly passed last year). She’s a coauthor of SB810, the California single-payer healthcare bill, and supports the California DISCLOSE Act requiring disclosure of money in politics. In her first ten days in the race, she’s raised over $150,000.

Who is David Cruz Thayne? He’s hired high profile consultants, including Garry South and Joe Trippi. He was chief of staff for the (Democratic) minority leader in the Utah state legislature, but apparently never run for office before. Fresh faces are welcome, but he hasn’t demonstrated strength as a candidate.

Cruz Thayne’s fundraising has been both anemic and questionable. In six months, he’s raised about $65,000, possibly as much as he’s spent on his expensive consultants. Review of FEC and Open Secrets records show that $5,000 came from Joe Hess, chief executive officer of Hess Oil Co., and his wife. Republicans are constantly floating proposals to get to local offshore oil, and environmentalists must constantly oppose their efforts; the last thing the area needs is to be represented by a Congressman friendly to Big Oil. Most of the rest came from friends-and-family in Utah and Malibu. He has no ActBlue support at all.

Cruz Thayne doesn’t appear to be knowledgeable on issues. I asked him the same question I ask all candidates – “I’m a single issue voter on climate. Give me your elevator pitch on why I should vote for you.” He told me that he drives a biodiesel car, which is nice but doesn’t demonstrate a grasp of policy. At a local debate, he was unfamiliar with DOMA, let alone why repealing it should be a Democratic priority.

Local activists call Cruz Thayne an empty suit. He’s acquired a handful of endorsements by Latino legislators outside the district, but no local endorsements at all. He’s not taken seriously. He’s simply a vanity candidate.

Jess Herrera is equally unimpressive. His website doesn’t mention his party affiliation, but does recite that he’s

* Right for Ventura County

* Right for America

* Right on the Issues

Again, he’s been endorsed by a handful of Latino legislators – Joe Baca, Cruz Bustamante, Gil Cedillo, and Lou Correa (but, oddly, no local politicians). And, as the repeated emphasis on being “right” hints, Herrera has a history of Republican endorsements. He’s been endorsed by District Attorney Greg Totten in the past. More troubling, in 2010 he was one of the few county elected officials to endorse Don Facciano in a treasurer’s race, an extremist so far to the right that his conservative opponent picked up endorsements across the political spectrum. And Facciano is now returning the favor, appearing at a fundraiser for Herrera.

Herrera’s fundraising is rumored to be weak; his ActBlue page currently shows a total of two donations. In short, he’s, at best, a vanity candidate.

David Pollock is a Moorpark city councilmember. He’s generally seen as progressive, and has gotten some buzz on a shoestring budget. I’d like to see him run for higher office, e.g., county supervisor or Assembly. However, it’s a big leap from councilmember of a relatively small city to Congress, his fundraising hasn’t impressed, he doesn’t have name recognition, and he’d be crushed by the Strickland juggernaut. His name on the ballot in addition to Brownley’s simply splits Democratic votes and increases the odds that neither will finish in the top two, leaving the November race between hard right Strickland and moderate Republican Parks.

A March 9 deadline looms. It’s time to ask Cruz Thayne, Herrera, and Pollock whether it’s more important that they have “failed candidate for Congress” on their resumes, enabling a Strickland-Parks election, or whether they will unify behind Julia Brownley so that the best Democrat can win the primary, win in November, and return Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

full disclosure: I’m an elected state Democratic Party delegate from AD-41, Brownley’s current district, although I only met her for the first time last Thursday. At the state party convention, I voted “no endorsement” after Bennett dropped out.

CA-26: Asm. Julia Brownley to seek Congressional seat

Race could be critical for Democratic hopes in the House

by Brian Leubitz

Since Sup. Steve Bennett dropped out of the race for CA-26, the Democrats have been looking for a candidate that could raise the money in what is likely to be a pretty expensive race.  Bennett had been pretty successful at fund raising, and has promised to help for any future Democratic candidate.  Until now, that has been limited to David Cruz Thayne, who is described as a “businessman” on the CA-26 page on AroundTheCapitol. But considering that Tony Strickland appears set to contest this race, his fundraising left a lot to be desired.

So, enter Asm. Julia Brownley, who represents much of the district in the Assembly in a district that runs the coast from Santa Monica to Oxnard:

I’m thrilled to announce my candidacy for Congress in a district I’ve represented for over five years. It’s clear that we need to end the partisan gridlock in Washington and start representing the interests of the voters who elected us. Ventura County residents want to get back to work, they want their children to have the same quality education they had, they want to make sure our coastlines are protected and they want access to affordable health care. These are the values I’ve fought for on behalf of my constituents and I’d be honored to be able to continue that work in Congress.

Brownley received Bennett’s endorsement, so perhaps this could really be all one big story. But whatever it happened, it certainly made the DCCC happy. In Brownley they found somebody with good name ID and fundraising acumen. Assuming the top-two is between Strickland and Brownley, expect to see a very expensive campaign.

Finally, as David Nir points out, this likely puts the kibosh on the pressure to move Brad Sherman over to this seat instead of the new 30th district. Game on, “-ermans”.

One Step Closer to An Environmental Majority

Cross-posted from the CA League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) blog, Groundswell

By Mike Young and Beth Gunston

Late Wednesday, CLCV-endorsed candidate Assemblymember Bill Monning was greeted with some fantastic news: Senator Sam Blakeslee announced that he will not seek re-election. Despite being the incumbent, Blakeslee decided that defending his seat would not be worth the effort since decennial redistricting shifted this coastal district to a new 16% Democratic registration advantage. If that were not insurmountable enough, much of the new district that stretches from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obespo overlaps areas that Monning currently represents in the Assembly.  

In 2010, it was largely argued that Blakeslee only won his race against Democrat candidate and environmental champion John Laird because then-Governor Schwarzenegger made that contest a special election where Democratic voters tend to have extremely low turnout. Whether that's true or not, Blakeslee felt he had no viable chance this time around. Without a serious primary challenger and with the incumbent ducking out, Monning is in a great position to essentially walk into the seat. This will be a big pick-up for the environment. Monning (100% CLCV score) will be a much needed breath of fresh air from Blakeslee (21% CLCV score), especially in the Senate where environmental priorities have had a much more difficult time passing.  Monning is well regarded for his environmental health work around toxics and pesticides, and has been specifically outspoken about the recent introduction of methyl iodide in the state.

But while Monning’s expected win is a great for the environment, it's time to look this gift horse in the mouth. With little hope of a contender to pit against Monning, the polluter interests that helped Blakeslee win in 2010 will likely now spend their money to defeat a more vulnerable target: state Senator Fran Pavley. Pavley, an environmental leader who authored California's landmark global warming laws, has a much more difficult race this year as redistricting has put her in a Senate seat against Tony Strickland with a very narrow registration advantage. In 2008, despite his 2% record on the environment including countless votes against bills to increase renewable energy, Strickland reinvented himself as a renewable energy expert and narrowly won his current Senate seat. With environmental advocates just one seat away from a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate and environmental champion Fran Pavley potentially being ousted, you can bet big polluters will spend more heavily on this race than any others.

So while the prospects for Bill Monning look fantastic, the consequence may be that we will need to work even harder to protect Fran Pavley. Still, much can change between now and Election Day, and nobody quite knows how the top two primary system will change the political landscape. All we know for sure is that in 2012 we must remain vigilant and work towards electing an environmental majority in the Senate. That way we’ll be more likely to pass bold environmental laws along with a balanced budget, taxes, and fees to keep our state moving forward in the years to come.

Look to Nevada?

Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star focuses on a statement from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval in today’s must-read column:

One thing that hasn’t changed in Nevada is that its Republican politicians continue to be fiscal conservatives. But if GOP lawmakers from California were to return to Reno this year to pick up any lessons, they might be surprised at one thing they’d learn.

They’d find out that the state’s constitutional amendment, passed in 1994, that requires any tax increases be approved by a two-thirds vote of legislators includes a provision that gives ultimate authority to voters. To place a tax increase proposal on the ballot, it says, shall require only a simple majority vote of lawmakers.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who promised during his campaign to oppose any tax increases, appears to also believe that a public vote on taxes ought to carry more weight than his own opinion.

Asked whether he would sign a bill to put a tax increase on the ballot, Sandoval this week told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “We’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but I’ve always been supportive of people’s right to vote.”(Ventura County Star)

Now, let’s say this first, Brian Sandoval is nobody’s moderate.  He’s a pretty right-wing governor, and hardly somebody that you could really call anything other than anti-tax/anti-goverment.

But, in the system we have out west, governments frequently defer (for better or worse) to the people.  Perhaps Tony Strickland and his TeaParty Caucus should consider the fact that despite what Grover Norquist is telling them, a vote for Brown’s budget package will increase no taxes.  That’s up to the people, and unless Tony and the Gang don’t trust the people, he should get moving on that pronto.

Don’t Get Snookered, Central Coast

Back in 2008, Tony Strickland ran something of an interesting campaign to defeat Hannah-Beth Jackson.  He ran as a neo-environmentalist.  His mail was all about Green energy, and how he has quite the record in developing said energy.

Of course, you’d have to consider some pretty dirty energy to be “clean” to buy that. However, Strickland snuck through by a few thousand votes as enough people bought the hype.

Now, fast forward to today, and it’s all being run over again. This time it is Sam Blakeslee, the man who has consistently taken Big Oil dollars trying to make himself all clean and green.  It’s a tough task to be sure.

But CalBuzz goes ahead and punches the holes out of that story:

The blunt truth of the matter, however, may be found in 1) the lavish oil industry contributions shoveled into committees that have forked out more than $1 million to back Blakeslee’s play in the 15th State Senate district and 2)  the photograph posted at the top of this story, which shows exactly where the San Luis Obispo GOP assemblyman stood on offshore oil drilling in California – before that whole Gulf of Mexico thing made it really, really unfashionable. (CalBuzz)

As John Laird pointed out about his election, this truly is critical.  We’ll likely see Laird and Blakeslee in the runoff, but this is where we must start to tell Central Coast voters the real story. Fortunately, the CDP has gotten a virtual phone bank system up and running, so now’s the time.  The election is Tuesday, let’s push John Laird over the top.  Heck, maybe we can even avoid that runoff…

Tony Strickland Never Changes

PhotobucketDuring his narrow victory over Hannah-Beth Jackson, I found this picture of a beaming Tony Strickland in front of some political signs he had stolen from an opposing campaign. Very cute.  Apparently being a little (or, in Strickland’s case, a big, tall) huckster is in his political DNA.

Back in 1998, fresh from his first election to the Assembly, he helped depose the guy who got him there, Rod Pacheco.  I guess if it worked for him once, Strickland figured why not do it again when he was central to deposing Dave Cogdill:

Next week marks the 10th anniversary of former Riverside County legislator Rod Pacheco’s unceremonious ouster as Assembly GOP leader.

Pacheco, now the county DA, was the last county lawmaker to lead any legislative caucus until restive Senate Republicans installed state Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta as minority leader during last month’s budget standoff.

At the center of both moves was Ventura County lawmaker Tony Strickland. (Press-Enterprise 3/30/09)

And guess what, Strickland got a promotion to assistant minority leader out of the coup.  Works out well for the hoops-shooting Senator from Ventura.  It appears that Strickland is trying to angle for the minority leader gig when Sen. Hollingsworth is termed out in 2010.  But, the fight between Runner will be a brutal one. Both are extremely ambitious, and extremely out of touch with the political views of the majority of the state.