Tag Archives: campaign finance reform

Thousands Sign Petitions Supporting California Disclose ACT

California Disclose ACT grows grassroots network

by Brian Leubitz

I don’t ordinarily post updates on every petition on legislation. There are just too many of them. However, the online and offline petitions for the California DISCLOSE Act are worthy of a mention.

On SignOn.org, MoveOn’s online petition site, three petitions already have over 53,000 signatures. Here are the links, where you can add your own name if you are so inclined:

Russ Feingold’s Progressives United Petition: Over 35K signatures

Clean Money Campaign’s petition: Over 16K signatures

Pat Johnstone, of Marin OFA and other grassroots fame: Nearly 1K signatures and nearly 500

This is in addition to the hard copy petitions that Clean Money Campaign and other volunteers have been gathering. If you were at the CDP convention over the last few years, you would have seen some of those petitions going around. By this point, the signature totals on those are probably enormous.

The California DISCLOSE Act is a simple proposal to require political funders to announce who they really are in political advertisements. It won’t stop anybody from spending gobs of cash on an initiative, or setting up an Independent Expenditure committee to promote or attack legislative candidates. However, it will force them to take ownership and responsibility for the words that they speak.

The California Disclose Act Gets a Hearing Tomorrow

SB 52 would require clear disclosure of political funding

by Brian Leubitz

In a state like California, big political campaigns tend to come down to the ads. Yes, field and grassroots outreach makes a huge difference, but a huge onslaught of money can kill a good ballot measure or campaign before you can really do the grassroots part of the campaign.

And yet, money can fly in from parts unknown and make a huge difference in the course of a campaign. See, for example, the huge sums of money dropped in from Maine, Arizona or some other place that we have yet to determine on Prop 32.

Unfortunately, we can’t stop the cash avalanche, but the Clean Money campaign and their allies are working to pass the California DISCLOSE Act, SB 52. As you can see from the image to the right, the law would require clear disclosure of the true source of funds for any advertisements.  It will tell voters who is really funding propositions and Super PAC attack ads.

Here’s a brief explanation from the Clean Money Campaign (CMC):

SB 52 will stop special interests from hiding behind fake names like “Stop Hidden Taxes” or “Stop Special Interest Money Now”.  Political ads will be required to clearly show their three largest funders.  Committee websites will have to show their top ten major funders.

SB 52 will require these disclosures be displayed on the bottom one-third of the TV screen for a full six seconds at the start of ads, so people know who the funders from the beginning.  In fact, the funders must be displayed in a big white font on a solid black background.  No more fine print.

Authored by Senators Mark Leno and Jerry Hill and sponsored by the California Money Campaign, SB 52 will apply to ads for and against ballot measures, and to outside ads for and against candidates – including sham issue ads.  It will tell voters who is really funding propositions and Super PAC attack ads.

Now, SB 52 already has some pretty strong support in both chambers of the legislature, but because this would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974, a voter passed measure, a 2/3 vote of both chambers is necessary. So, the CMC is looking for a little bit of help.  If you’d like to see what you can do, they have a lot of information available at their website or if you’d like to go to the committee hearing tomorrow, you can RSVP on their website.

Keep Special Interests at Bay in Los Angeles

          We know the Citizens United  v. FEC Supreme Court decision has unleashed a torrent of undisclosed corporate and union spending at the federal level.  It overturned a century of laws and decades of legal precedent.  Common Cause has decided to stand up and take action! Common Cause has joined forces with a number of other organizations to build awareness and educate citizens across  the country about the amounts of money corporations are emptying out of their own pockets to to steal our democracy. The goal of this new coalition is to strengthen the voice of the people and prepare to battle these corporations to save our democracy.

         So far, we have filed a complaint with the Department of Justice asking for an investigation of Justices Thomas and Scalia for attending a strategy session hosted by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch in Rancho Mirage, California, at the same time the Court was considering the case of Citizens United v. FEC in 2008.

         On January 30, 2011, Common Cause, along with over 30 organizations including the California Nurses Association, Courage Campaign, California Labor Federation, Greenpeace, held a peaceful public demonstration to  “Uncloak the Kochs” and turned out 1,500 protesters to Rancho Mirage, CA for the Koch Brothers annual meeting. This event in CA had legs – and people all over the country are starting to following the Koch Brothers money trail. From Wisconsin to Nebraska, people are starting to wake up to special interests stealing our elections.

         In Los Angeles, we’re preemptively stopping the Koch Brothers and other special interests from pushing money into our elections. We are working to strengthen campaign finance laws to keep special interest money at bay with our support of  Measure H, which will do two things:

1. Lift the cap on the public finance trust to create a more robust public financing system.

2. Ban prospective private companies with pending bids on city contracts from making campaign contributions.

         We are pleased to be standing with LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, City Council members Tom LaBonge, Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian, Jose Huizar, Bill Rosendahl, the California Clean Money Campaign, the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, the William C. Velazquez Institute and others to pass Measure H on March 8.

         All politics is local and we believe that!  Ifnot, then when? When Los Angeles succeeds in passing Measure H, we will send an important message that we are taking back our democracy.  It does not belong to We the special, well-financed interests.  Our democracy belongs to We the People.

A Modest Proposal on Voter Guides

One of the best ways I have found to sort out convoluted or misleading ballot initiatives is simply to look up who gave the most money to each side, since the vast majority of them are proxy battles for some powerful interest or another. Rare is the proposition that is a truly grassroots nonpartisan effort, and even those by definition create winners and losers when they pass.

So why not take disclosure laws to the next level, and print a short list of the major contributors to candidates and initiatives right underneath the rest of the voter info on the state voting guide? it wouldn’t add more than a couple pages at best, and would be a lot more salient information than the argument/rebuttal section, invariably done by some group calling themselves Californians for Truth, Goodness, Tax Fairness and Free Ponies.

Putting it online in some searchable database is nice, but the media doesn’t cover it, and most citizens don’t have the goddamned time to search through all that stuff. They’ve got jobs to do. Putting a brief summary of who is behind each campaign would give the average busy voter some idea of what’s being fought over and who the sides are, and it would undermine the effectiveness of the massive corporate and special interest spending on initiative campaigns.

originally at surf putah

Rep. Lofgren Votes to Drain the Swamp

A few members of California’s congressional delegation played leading roles today in passing the most sweeping reforms in our campaign finance system since the post-Watergate era through the House Administration committee. The bill could head for a full vote in the House as soon as next week, which would give the rest of our delegation a similar chance to show they are hearing voters’ call for change and are getting serious about reform.

Lofgren joined Rep. Susan Davis in passing the Fair Elections Now Act.  Fair Elections would let members of Congress focus on their constituents instead of raising money from lobbyists or other special interests. Candidates would raise donations of $100 or less from their home state, which would be matched on a four-to-one basis from a fair elections fund. The system is funded by the sale of broadcast spectrum and would not cost taxpayers a dime.



This fairly bold act comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling earlier this year which is unleashing a torrent of campaign cash from corporations who can now spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack candidates for Congress.  A Fair Elections system would allow candidates to fight back without themselves becoming beholden to special interests.

Bashing politicians has become an easy sport these days, with approval ratings for both congress and our state legislature in the tank.  Voters at both the recent Glenn Beck rally in DC and at MoveOn events around the country are saying strikingly similar things about the crisis of big money in politics and support for Fair Elections. Yet conventional wisdom is that incumbents will never change a system that got them elected, and certainly wouldn't take up any bold reforms in the heat of an elections.Given that, its truly refreshing to see that at least some elected officials seem to be listening, and seem to be ready to make major changes.

Unfortunately, California's Rep. Dan Lungren seems to be happy with things the way they are. Lungren offered an amendment in the committee aimed at ensuring that Fair Elections would not go into effect in any year there's a federal deficit.This ploy ignores the fact that the bill pays for itself, neither adding to the deficit nor adding to taxes, and would have created a perverse future incentive for incumbents to run up a deficit anytime they wanted to gut campaign finance laws. Fortunately, Lofgren, Davis, and four other committee members shot the amendment down.


S.F. Democratic Races Show Need for Reform

Candidates for the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC) have reported fundraising numbers for the period ending March 17th – and the need for reform is evident.  Unlike other local races in the City (where contributions are capped at $500), there are no limits for giving to a DCCC candidate.  Scott Wiener, Debra Walker and Rafael Mandelman are running simultaneous races for DCCC in June and Supervisor in November – and all three have exploited this obvious loophole.  Other candidates have raised huge sums – with the Firefighters Union giving $10,000 to each of its members running.  Nowhere else in California must candidates for DCCC raise this money – for a job that pays nothing, and whose only power is making Democratic Party endorsements.  Most counties elect their DCCC by Supervisor district (rather than Assembly District), which may be a good start.  But what’s really needed are campaign contribution limits – and it’s unclear which entity could do that.  With the upcoming State Party Convention in Los Angeles this weekend, now is an ideal time to be talking about such reform.

Candidates for the San Francisco DCCC – which governs the local Democratic Party – are not covered or regulated by local campaign finance law.  They are merely subject to state law, so like any other political campaign committee are required to file with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC.)  And besides that, the rules are pretty loose.

While all candidates for local public office – Supervisor, School Board, even Mayor – can only take $500 per donor, there are no contribution limits in DCCC races.  With the state requiring June candidates to report what they raised between January 1st and March 17th, the most recent filing reports for DCCC show a system that has gone out of control.

Candidates for Supervisor Use DCCC Loophole

The DCCC gets to make Party endorsements for local office – such as the S.F. Board of Supervisors – and its current control by progressives played a decisive role as to why they swept the Board elections in 2008.  So it’s no surprise that candidates running for Supervisor – on both sides of the spectrum – are making simultaneous runs for DCCC.  

Candidates running for both DCCC and Supervisor use separate campaign accounts – but let’s get real.  Money raised and spent for DCCC elevates their profile among voters in a District, so they can get elected Supervisor five months later.  And those wishing to give over the $500 limit can just funnel money to their DCCC account – a soft money conduit.

Back in February, I reported that Scott Wiener took two donations from strip clubs for his DCCC campaign – in amounts of $5,000 and $10,000, well in excess of what they could give to his Supervisor campaign.

With the June election in a few weeks, it’s no surprise that the three candidates running simultaneous campaigns – Wiener in District 8, Debra Walker in District 6 and Rafael Mandelman in District 8 – raised more this quarter in their DCCC account (a job with no government power that pays nothing) than their account for Supervisor.  Wiener raised $8,000 for Supervisor – and $12,000 for DCCC.  Walker raised $4,000 for Supervisor and $9,354 for DCCC.  Mandelman: $3,900 for Supervisor and $7,140 for DCCC.

And again, we see each candidate taking large checks for their DCCC account that would not be legal if made to their Supervisor campaign.  Scott Wiener did not get more money from strip clubs, but he took $2,000 from the Plumbers Union.  Smaller donations for Wiener in this period came largely from corporate lawyers, deputy city attorneys, bankers and realtors.

Writer Jennifer Viegas gave $500 to Debra Walker’s Supervisor campaign (i.e., the legal maximum), then gave her DCCC campaign $4,000.  Other Walker donations for this period include the President of Cresleigh Development, California Nurses Association, Albert Urrutia of the construction firm Santos & Urrutia and Tom Ammiano’s Assembly campaign account.

Rafael Mandelman also got money from Tom Ammiano – to both of his accounts, $500 for the DCCC campaign and $500 for his Supervisor race.  Other donations he got in this period came from the California Nurses, Carole Migden and $2,500 from Pinnacle Properties.

Problem Not Limited to Supervisor Candidates

While candidates who run simultaneous campaigns opens up the greatest risk of abuse, there is no shortage of other candidates taking advantage of no contribution limits for DCCC.  Mike Sullivan, who chairs the anti-progressive Plan C, raised $28,500 in the past three months.  A third of his money came from donations of $1,000 or more – including a $1,500 check from BOMA, the commercial real estate political group.

But it gets even more blatant when you look at the firefighter candidates.  As I wrote in March, the Firefighters Union is taking an active interest in the DCCC elections – two of their members are running.  Keith Baraka has collected $11,000 – one thousand of that came from himself, while the other $10,000 was a single check from the Firefighters PAC.  Dan Dunnigan raised $10,000 – with 100% of that money coming from their PAC.

Problem Unique to San Francisco

Of course, none of this is new to anyone who follows San Francisco politics.  DCCC elections are always competitive here – whereas in other counties, the drama is getting enough candidates on the ballot so the Lyndon LaRouche people don’t win by default. But I had always assumed it was because in a city like San Francisco, politics is a sport.

So I called Dante Atkins, a friend and fellow Calitics blogger who serves on the Los Angeles County DCCC – to ask if elections are just as crazy down there.  They’re not – San Francisco is unique among California’s 58 counties where you must raise thousands of dollars to win a seat on the Central Committee.  And there are a few reasons why.

L.A. County’s DCCC has over 200 people – whereas San Francisco only has 24 elected members.  So buying one seat on the Central Committee can’t buy a lot of influence for the Party’s endorsement.  But what’s interesting is how they choose to elect members.

San Francisco elects its DCCC by State Assembly District – in a County that only has two.  In other words, half the DCCC is from the East Side – and the other half from the West Side.  Running for DCCC in San Francisco means campaigning in half the city.

That’s unusual, as most counties elect their DCCC by Supervisor district.  Los Angeles chose to do it by Assembly District – because they only have 5 Supervisor districts, and 26 Assembly districts.  But in San Francisco, it makes a lot more sense to elect a DCCC among 11 Supervisor districts – where a smaller electorate makes money less important.

If we want the DCCC to be a “farm team” for future San Francisco Supervisors, it makes sense to do this change.  Electing three per district, for example, would help include more voices.  All that needs to be done is for the San Francisco DCCC to amend its charter.

But Campaign Finance Reform is What’s Really Needed

While changing the way DCCC members are elected is intriguing, what’s really needed is to better regulate campaign finance.  If we have a $500 contribution limit for other local campaigns in San Francisco, it’s time to bring DCCC campaigns under the same rules.

But it’s unclear to me how we could make that change.  Could the City amend its Ethics Ordinance to bring DCCC campaigns into the fold?  DCCC positions are not exactly “local office” – as it’s really an arm of the California Democratic Party.  Passing state legislation might be necessary, or amending the rules and by-laws of the State Party.

This weekend, the California Democratic Party will hold its annual Convention in Los Angeles.  I’ll be attending as a delegate, as I normally do every year.  As this problem appears unique to San Francisco, I hope Democrats from across the state will join me in supporting campaign contribution limits for DCCC candidates.  It’s the right thing to do.

Paul Hogarth is the Managing Editor of Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily, where this piece was first published.

Help Us Increase Campaign Finance Disclosure – Pass S. 233!

(Cross posted from the The Sunlight Foundation)

The Sunlight Foundation launched a new web site, Pass223.com, to harness the distributed power of the Internet to pressure the Senate into increasing disclosure of campaign contributions by passing a bill – S. 223, the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act – requiring senators to file their contribution reports electronically.

We need your help to pass this bill. Please follow the link to Pass223.com and call your senators to find out where they stand on S. 223. The site has full instructions on who your senators are, how to call, what to say, and how to report back to us. For more detail on the bill, keep reading.

Currently, presidential candidates and candidates running for the House of Representatives file their campaign contributions in electronic form. Electronic filing speeds the process by which campaign contribution data reaches the public over the Internet, allowing citizens and journalists to more easily spot a conflict of interest or an inappropriate contribution. Filers in the Senate do not file electronically, delaying disclosure by weeks and possibly months.

Passage of S. 223 appears to be a “no-brainer,” and isn’t publicly opposed by any senator. However, at every step of the way over the past year and a half the bill has been interrupted and blocked for a variety of reasons.

Right now, Sen. John Ensign (pronounced en-sen) is blocking the bill by insisting on adding a poison pill amendment. This poison pill is meant to protect senators from legitimate ethics complaints filed by outside groups. The amendment would impose an unconstitutional burden on on charities, religious organizations and other nonprofits by forcing them to disclose their donors when they file ethics complaints against sitting senators. Ensign’s amendment is opposed by a group of non-profits, religious groups, and charities from the right and the left.

For S. 223 to pass, Ensign’s amendment must be defeated. And to do that, we need you help in identifying senators who OPPOSE Ensign and SUPPORT S. 223. This is a great chance to help pass a long overdue bill.

Go to Pass223.com and get started calling your senators (remember, you have two of them). Don’t forget to report back so that we know where these senators stand on increasing campaign finance disclosure.

Pass223.com is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation, Public Citizen, Public Campaign, Center for Responsive Politics, Campaign Finance Institute, Change Congress, and Open the Government.

(Disclaimer: I am the Online Organizer and Outreach Coordinator for the Sunlight Foundation)

Friday Odds And Ends

As we head into e-board (and await Brian’s updates), here’s a few things I’ve noticed around the Web-o-sphere:

• It’s a few days old, but I should mention that AB583, Loni Hancock’s Clean Money bill for California elections, was amended.  The latest is that it will be placed on the June 2010 ballot to enact a pilot program that would provide voluntary public financing in the 2014 Secretary of State’s race.  The original plan was to make the 2010 Governor’s race clean money, along with a selected Assembly and Senate race.  While shifting this to the lower-cost Secretary of State’s race increases chances of passage, it basically puts off any chance at clean money for another four years.  So it’s bittersweet, to me.

• This Alex Kozinski situation has gotten a lot of noise on political blogs – I even linked it up in quick hits.  Kozinski, the chief judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, was presumably caught with pornographic materials he stored on a public website, and now he’s offering himself up for investigation.  But the truth might be more sinister.  As Lawrence Lessig explains, Kozinski may have been the victim of a smear campaign by a lone nut who accessed material that was private but unsecure.  Worth a read.

• At the moment there are ten initiatives which have qualified for the November ballot; the latest would float $5 billion in bonds to subsidize purchases of clean-energy vehicles and research into renewables.  I’m a bit worried that such a long ballot with an what will probably be record turnout is going to bring lots and lots of low-information voters to the polls making decisions on the state’s future armed with little in the way of facts.  In other words, just another California election.

• On Tuesday, all couples in the state will be permitted to marry regardless of gender.  In anticipation, the New York Times ran an interesting article about marriage and gender relationships.  Very interesting stuff.

• Fabian Nuñez endorsed Kevin Johnson in his runoff race for Sacramento Mayor.  That race will happen in November.  No word on Johnson’s position on the allegations that refs gave the 2002 Western Conference Finals to the Lakers over the Kings, which may be a salient issue in Sac-town.

The Money Goes In, The Favors Go Out

This article by Frank Russo got me pretty depressed about the state of California politics.

There’s something amiss in the state of Sacramento-and it has something to do with the state’s banking and lending institutions and the stacking of committees that deal with them with legislators that are either weak kneed or just a bit overfriendly with the industry that they should be protecting us from.

What else is new?

Well, this afternoon, the Senate Committee on Banking, Finance, and Insurance, Chaired by Senator Michael Machado of Stockton, will be hearing two bills that have been gutted down behind a closed door process such that today’s public proceedings on them may amount to little more than a sham […]

It’s difficult enough to get bills passed through the Assembly Banking Committee and the Assembly floor when going up against the behemoth banking industry which has a lot of spare change to throw around in legislative races and many high paid lobbyists scurrying about the Capitol.

It looks like AB 69 by Assemblymember Ted Lieu, originally a great bill, has been amended since it left the Assembly-and before today’s hearing-such that the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices, initially listed in support, has withdrawn that position.

Read the whole thing.  The bottom line is that in this recent primary election special interest groups spent nearly $10 million, and a good bulk of them were business interests who are now playing inside Democratic primaries in traditionally liberal areas to sell low-information voters a bill of goods.  This doesn’t always work, but it works just enough to frustrate progress in Sacramento.

Lesson 3: The business lobby can influence Democratic politics, even in a largely minority district.

Former Assemblyman Rod Wright, a moderate, defeated liberal Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally — reversing the pattern of leftist victories — in a South Los Angeles Senate district after business donors invested roughly $1 million in Wright’s campaign.

“Business has tended to stay out of black politics,” says Sragow, who advises the business lobby. “But some black politicians ask, ‘Why? We’re always out looking for economic development in our districts.’

“The business community has decided it can’t get a Republican Legislature, so it will play in districts where there’s a Democratic candidate it can work with.”

A major Democratic strategist has all but said that Don Perata shepherded along the candidacy of Rod Wright, and actually put it in terms that come very close to illegal coordination (note “a flurry of record spending by closely-aligned IE groups focusing all of their attention and ammo in one, concerted direction.”)

This is the game.  IE’s are increasingly the only way to reach the electorate, as the low-dollar revolution has pretty much not reached the Golden State.  So the Chamber of Commerce and industry groups fill the pockets of the politicians who, once elected, feel obligated to repay them.  The US Constitution allows the right for anyone to petition their government for redress of grievances; outlawing lobbyists or the ability of merchants to consult their politicians is not tenable.  What is tenable is to either create a parallel public financing system by employing the residents of the state to pay attention to local politics enough to fund progressive-minded candidates, or to bring clean money to California, where it’s arguably needed more than anywhere else, and end the pernicious influence of special interests in state elections.  Otherwise, you get a steady parade of mortgage relief bills that offer no relief.


I think the results of yesterday’s primaries had some good news and some bad, and also brought to light the depressing realities of California politics.

Turnout was horrendous.  These numbers will go up, but with all precincts reporting we’re looking at 22% turnout, the lowest in recent memory, far lower than 2006 and 2004.  There still is not much of a real political culture in California with respect to state politics, and I think that’s something we have to recognize.  I saw a lot of activism and citizen-led activity leading up to these primaries which made me somewhat hopeful, but it did not translate at the ballot box.  Of course, with so many uncontested primaries there was little at stake.  But as a measure of intensity of the electorate, there wasn’t much.

IE campaigns win elections.  The outsized influence of IE campaigns is something we have to understand and work with.  Even the races where, as Robert said, progressives won in state legislature primaries, there were in general a lot of IEs, funded mostly by labor, on their behalf.  Rod Wright basically bought a seat in SD-25, with well over a million dollars of independent expenditures funded mostly by tobacco and business interests.  And the size of Bob Blumenfield’s victory in AD-40 suggests the importance of IEs.  There isn’t going to be a lot of appetite for reforming this from a set of state legislators who have IEs to thank for their positions in office.  Clean money elections is obviously the killer app, and I’m glad Loni Hancock will be in the State Senate to carry the bill, but it’s pretty depressing how easily these seats can be bought, particularly in low-turnout primaries where almost nobodyis paying attention.

Measuring Congressional intensity.  Looking at turnout numbers in the primaries isn’t really a great measure of how the candidates will do in the general elections, but it’s a good benchmark of base support.  Among the winners were Bill Durston (within 8,000 votes of Dan Lungren) and Charlie Brown (just nipped by Tom McClintock in raw votes, but he got 42,000-plus out to vote for him in one of the highest-turnout elections anywhere).  Among the losers?  Well, pretty much everyone else.  But Nick Leibham can’t be happy about his totals, and he has a MAJOR activist support problem in the 50th district that he has to recognize and fix.  Russ Warner did sort of in the middle, well enough but with the need for improvement.  Considering she faced two challengers, Julie Bornstein didn’t do too badly either.

Incumbency can be defeated, but it’s tough.  Carole Migden is something like the first incumbent to be beaten in a primary in California in a dozen years.  Mervyn Dymally was a sitting Assemblyman and something of a legendary figure so I’ll call him a sort-of beaten incumbent.  But it took lots of money to unseat these two and they had their share of political scandal.  Otherwise, it’s just real hard to get your message out.

PDA is less than worthless.  I love and respect my friends in Progressive Democrats of America for their advocacy of progressive causes.  As an electoral engine, they are simply not a legitimate organization.  Only Cheryl Ede can hold her head up high as a PDA-backed candidate, and honestly I think that had more to do with Leibham than her.  Mary Pallant had PDA backing, more resources than the other two candidates in the race, and was thrashed by someone who suspended her candidacy and came back just weeks before the vote.  It takes more than screaming about the system and emailing frantically back and forth and writing resolutions to build a power base, and PDA needs to learn in a hurry.

The legislative battlegrounds.  I’m very excited by Manuel Perez’ win in AD-80, where he was the only candidate to show strength in all parts of the district (he actually finished a close second in both Riverside and Imperial Counties).  He has a lot of momentum going into November against Gary Jeandron, the former sheriff of Palm Springs.  And Democrats got about 5,000 more votes than Republicans in that seat.  If Perez can unify the factions, he wins.  AD-78 looks good, too.  Marty Block squeaked out a win, and overall Democrats got over 8,000 more votes.  Joan Buchanan did well in AD-15 and has a decent base of support – this will be a close race against Abram Wilson.  I like what Alyson Huber did in AD-10, getting more votes than anyone on the ballot, Republican or Democratic.  In AD-26, John Eisenhut, a farmer, got almost as many votes in his unopposed primary as Republican Bill Berryhill did in his.  Ferial Masry is a longshot in AD-37, but the Democratic vote was within 5,000 of Republican Audra Strickland’s total.  Those are the 6 races that get us to 2/3.

In the State Senate, we’ll see what becomes of the Morris write-in.  But the good news was in SD-19, where Hannah-Beth Jackson got 47,000-plus votes to Tony Strickland’s 50,000-plus.  That’s relative parity, and a good place to be.  Because of the coattails Barack Obama will bring, I don’t mind some deficit between Democratic and Republican numbers in the primary, because there will be lots and lots of new voters coming out to support the nominee in the fall who will pull the lever for downticket candidates.  

That’s what I’ve got for now, I’m sure we’ll all be poring over the numbers in the days to come.