Tomorrow is the California Primary. So, this here will be of next-to-little interest to anyone who doesn't live in California. And for all I know, it may even be of no interest to people here either. But if you fall into the, "Hmm, I'm moderately curious what the lummox has to say about this," read on, McDuff.
Mainly, I largely repeat what I've said in the past, though with one day before the voting, it's a topic more on one's mind today (unless you voted by mail, which I did...) Plus, a few words about another race you might likely ignore.
First, though, I want to address that recurring topic --
California has an idiotic law, the open primary. Parties don't matter. Whichever candidates get the two-most votes, they move on to the November ballot. (Even though this tends to benefit Democrats in a Blue state like California, I still think it's an idiotic rule.) As I've previously noted, with this law in mind, it's possible that Democrats could get the two candidates in both the highest-profile races -- governor and the U.S. Senate. And if that occurs, such a result could drastically depress Republican turnout in the general election...which, in turn, could seriously impact all the other state races, most notably races for the U.S. House of Representatives, for which Democrats need to flip only 24 seats.
I've particularly mentioned the Senate race in the past because, for a while, it appeared that a neo-Nazi was the leading Republican candidate and in second place. However, as more news of his views have been made public, and other polls have come forth, it looks like his candidacy has plummeted off the ledge, barely registering. That's not certain -- the polls are all over the map -- but he doesn't appear to be a factor at this point. (Whether that's the case, we'll find out.)
However, another Republican, James Bradley, has seemingly jumped into second place, a few points ahead of the the #2 Democrat, Kevin De Leon, the liberal President Pro Tem of the state senate. Or some polls have him a few points behind -- as I said, the polls are all over the map, so it's uncertain the place of things. What's not uncertain is that the race for this second spot is very close. Not for first place -- incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein will win, and win handily. She's up by between 20-30 points, leaving everyone in the dust. And she'll win in November. But -- that's where that whole "two Democrats on the ballot" thing comes into play, if De Leon can pick up even just 3-4 points. And that's why I've been recommending to people that if they were planning on voting for Feinstein in the Primary, they should vote instead for De Leon. She's still going win and win handily, but just a small shift of votes from her to fellow-Democrat De Leon could alter the field. And having Feinstein and De Leon on the November ballot could potentially make a significant difference throughout the state in November. (For that matter, liberal Democrats might even prefer De Leon.)
By the way, the fact that a neo-Nazi ever had noticeable polling in the Republican Party -- in any state, but especially California -- speaks volumes of the pathetic condition of today's GOP. But happily, that ship here has seemingly righted itself.
I have no recommendations in the governors race, but it's an interesting situation. For a long while, it looked like that was clearly going to be a two-Democrat race, between Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa, putting them both on the November ballot. That's now not certain. Newsom does seem to be safely in the lead, but Villaraigosa appears to have dropped to third place, behind Republican John Cox. The uncertainty is that whole, "the polls are all over the map." Some polls have Villaraigosa neck-and-neck with Cox, just a few points behind. But other have him as far back as in fourth place behind Gavin Newsom and two Republicans. So, I don't have a clue what's going on there. We'll see.
So, there may be both a Democrat and Republican on the November ballot for governor and U.S. Senate. Or two Democrats in one race, but not the other. Or in both. No idea. The only thing I know is that it would be a good idea for Democrats to vote for Kevin De Leon for U.S. Senate in the Primary, even if they had been planning to vote for Dianne Feinstein. She's still going to finish first, she's that far ahead. But just a small switch could push him to second.
And that brings me to the other race. One for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Like most people in California, I know absolutely nothing about the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, nor about the candidates. But I do know Martha Melvoin and trust her implicitly. So, when she sends me a note -- okay, a bulk email, but still, I'm sure she'd tell me in person, too -- that she recommends voting for Marshall Tuck in that race, I pay attention. She also makes a good point when she notes that just a very few votes could make a huge difference since, as she noted, "this is one of those offices that people often leave blank because they don't know whom to vote for."
I've mentioned Martha here a few times, though more her TV-writer husband Jeff, and a few times their son Nick, who is currently Vice President of the L.A. School Board. But deeply well-grounded as the latter two fellows are, Martha is the one you pay most attention to when she speaks, just on general principle. So, I'll hand over the floor to her and let her explain herself --
"I met Marshall when he ran for the office 4 years ago and was so impressed with his commitment to improving public education. He has been an inspiration to, and a supporter of, Nick and I know he will work in Sacramento for the same things that Nick has been working so hard for: increased funding for our public schools, eliminating the bureaucratic nightmare that is much of the state education code, and making sure that California's school children are well prepared for a bright future. Marshall left the private sector to devote his energy and talents to improving education and he will work tirelessly in Sacramento to do so."
But mainly, I find her most-compelling argument when she writes, "Having him in Sacramento will also make Nick's job easier and his mother will be grateful!"
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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