2005 Year End Campaign Reports

2005 Year End Campaign Reports

Recent Blog Entries
The President Spends Earth Day Where?
by Andre Levesque on April 25, 2006
In case you haven’t heard President Bush spent his Earth Day here in California, in West Sacramento no less. A city that until the last few years was always known for that Pyramid that lights up at night that” used to be” the home of ‘The Money Store”.

West Sacramento hosting the President of the United States is a great for Yolo County and the surrounding area.

I am just a little confused as to why the local media didn’t embrace the President’s visit to the area as an opportunity for our community to show that it is an integral part of this Nation’s future.

Topics like the Iraq war, Immigration, and the Governor asking for more Federal funding for California’s levee’s, shadowed the fact that the most recognizable elected official in the world, was here to tout West Sacramento’s involvement in leading the way to alternative fuel energy. An energy that will reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil a major part of the President’s agenda and a major part of our future.

The President was here to promote the California Fuel Cell Partnership an organization that is committed to promoting the development of a fuel cell as a means of moving towards a sustainable energy future, increasing energy efficiency and reducing or eliminating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

I bet very few people in the area had even heard of the California Fuel Cell Partnership before this weekend, and I thank the president for spending the day here in West Sacramento. Proving that California, along with our community will lead the way as always while rushing in a new technology that will allow us to reduce emissions forever.

Meridian Pacific helped White House staff organize volunteers to help make this event go off smoothly, and it did.  Thank you to the White House Staff that made this historic day for Sacramento so memorable for our volunteers. As always the staff was very professional and expressed gratitude for every volunteer.

And FYI I was able to snap that cool shot of the President as he made his depature to Palm Springs.
Petition Gathering at Earth Day
by Tom Ross on April 22, 2006
I took a break from work today to take my girls to the Earth Day festival at Sacramento State. Lots of cool stuff for the kids -- a parachute, painting, bands, booths, games and food (more than just tofu, they had ice cream, kettle corn, smoothies). A petition gatherer had set up a table and he was making a mint like a true capitalist -- he had four petitions to sign and not all of them were left of center. He was pushing the Reed Hastings measure the hardest (it pays the most), for those of you that don't know the Hastings measure will raise your property taxes $50 a year to fund charter schools. They are paying top dollar to get it qualified because their timeline to get on the ballot is the middle of May and they got a late start. As expected, this petition gatherer was also pushing the ballot measure that would limit corporate contributions. But to my surprise, he was also peddling the eminent domain initiative as well as the measure that would prevent a raiding of higway money. The clock is running out on all four of these measures to qualify for the November ballot -- to get on the ballot they will all need to be turned in by the middle/end of next month. Judging from the number of signatures he had on his petitions, this guy made some coin today.
Everyone Loves a Team Player
by Andre Levesque on April 19, 2006
Everyone loves a team player. As many of you know, in politics its a necessity. Apparently no one has told Jim Ledford (R) Palmdale City Mayor.

I’ll have to admit I have never met Mr. Ledford, but my first impression is this guy is off his rocker.

After filing papers against two time incumbent Assembly member Sharon Runner, Ledford has been running around the 36th Assembly district criticizing Mrs. Runner for taking money from Indian gaming interests, alcohol, and tobacco companies.

His motives appear simple to me. Ledford thinks he can run against Sharon this year and rip her for being a “dirty incumbent” while boosting his name ID across the district setting himself up to be positioned to win when Sharon is termed out in ‘08.

There’s one problem with his strategy.

Anyone who has ever met the Runners knows that nothing can be farther from the truth. Assemblywoman Sharon Runner is the epitome of a team player as she continually steps up to help Republicans around this state time and time again through her position as Assistant Republican Leader in the caucus.

I would challenge anyone to find a single instance in which any contribution has ever affected her stance on policy. It’s true. Mrs. Runner, like many legislators, has taken money from all of the above, and as far as I can tell she has followed the law to the letter in accepting every contribution and reporting it, like I know she always has, and she has put that money to good use.

Instead of sitting on her hands while in a safe seat Republican district Assemblywoman Runner has gone out of her way to work hard raising funds to:

  1. Recruit Republican candidates to run in winnable seats around the state,
  2. Help the Governor in his special election efforts to Reform the state,
  3. Qualify a State Ballot initiative to protect our children from predators,
  4. Donate heavily to the Republican Party and its candidates.

So if Mr. Ledford has an issue with California’s businesses, and Indian Gaming laws that’s fine, but I do have a little tip for him.

Almost everyone knows that you don’t file papers to run against a sitting incumbent when you want to be elected to that seat. It's likely to hurt your future attempts, and its not very sportsman like.
AD 65 candidate Jim Ayres
by Matt Rexroad on April 18, 2006
This editorial in the Valley Chronicle is not the way the Jim Ayres for Assembly campaign wants to start off.

While most candidates are just starting to prepare for the blitz that is about to happen in early May -- Ayres is making the editorial page for the wrong reasons.

This is certainly not something you would expect in April.

If the Valley Chronicle is complaining now -- they clearly have no idea what is about to happen in AD 65.  This race is going to be a wild one.

They had better be prepared to write weekly if not daily on this same issue until June.
Does your vote count?
by Andre Levesque on April 18, 2006
As reported by Lisa Vorderbrueggen in the Contra Costa times today, an environmental group is upset with Congressman Richard Pombo and plans to take its frustration out on him with a mail piece, and guess what we get to choose which one they send out by

However, there is one catch, you have to sign up with your name address and email in order to cast your vote.

If  Environmental Action were really concerned with beating Congressman Pombo,  I would say that his stance on the environment is pretty unimportant to Republican primary voters of the 11 Congressional District.

If they wanted to hit the Congressman where it hurts I am sure there is all sorts of issues relating to pay to play politics, illegal immigration, or taxes that they could use and the primary voters in the district would actually care.

But I doubt this group actually cares about what happens to Mr. Pombo, and I doubt that they care what mail piece people vote for. My guess is Environmental Action is more concerned with building a base of potential donors, and volunteers and they are using the Congressman as an excuse.

Congressman Pombo should get plenty of rest tonight knowing that his political career is safe as long as Environmental Action is wasting time producing hit pieces about the environment.
Implications of SD 35
by Helen Seliverstov on April 11, 2006
If Tom Harman indeed pulls this elections off, and I say if because the provisional ballots have not been counted, yet, this changes the dynamic for the election in AD 67.

Diane Harman
is facing off with Supervisor Jim Silva to fill Tom Harman's seat.  However, now you will have 2 Harman's on the ballot: Tom Harman running against Larry Caballero in the Special Election Round 2 for SD 35 and Diane Harman running against Jim Silva for AD 67.

Due to the fact that no one got over 50% in the Special Election in SD 35, Tom Harman gets to appear on the ballot again.  This will tremendously help Diane Harman.  So Silva's election just got a whole lot harder.
SD 35 – Harman Up By 530 Votes
by Helen Seliverstov on April 11, 2006

Registration and Turnout Completed Precincts: 723 of 723
Reg/Turnout Percentage
Total Registered Voters 513832
Precinct Registration 513832
Precinct Ballots Cast 25040 4.9%
Absentee Ballots Cast 63585 12.4%
Total Ballots Cast 88625 17.2%

STATE SENATOR 35th District
Vote Count Percentage
TOM HARMAN (REP) 34160 38.8%
DIANE HARKEY (REP) 33630 38.2%

CD 50 Results
by Helen Seliverstov on April 11, 2006
445/445 Precincts Reporting
100% Complete

Bilbray Wins by 880 votes.  Provisional ballots unlikely to change the outcome.

ALAN UKE       
BILL HAUF       
PAUL KING       

Check out the new links section!!
by Andre Levesque on April 04, 2006
Calraces has updated its links section. If you check it out you will see that every candidate in the state that has a website will be linked there. If I have overlooked anyone's campaign website please email me and I will be sure to add it.
Slate Mailer List
by Elizabeth Hansell on March 30, 2006
Each cycle we end up contacting numerous slate vendors througout the state for various issues and canidates.   We have developed a slate list  that you can find here Meridian Slate LIst.

Please let me know if any of the contact information is wrong or if I am missing key slates.  My e-mail is liz@meridianhq.com.

***Thank-you to those who responded with changes and additions.  Use the above link to find an updated list.  I will continue to update.
Bustamante: Will Work For Your Money
by Helen Seliverstov on March 30, 2006
It’s a good thing Cruz Bustamante, a “veteran politician,” doesn’t have an opponent, because even the ever so “balanced” media is writing hit pieces on Mr. Bustamante. 

According to the article in the San Francisco Chronicle today, the Lieutenant Governor has taken thousands of dollars of contributions from the insurance industry he seeks to regulate as well as received gifts that he failed to disclose. 

As a “veteran politician,” Mr. Cruz should know better than to tempt the public with bad campaign finance behavior since the voters are never on the politicians’ side.  Also, the article reminds us of Chuck Quackenbush who was ousted from office for unethical behavior.  And of course, it is ironic that Bustamante would flirt with taking bad money, considering he became radioactive in the 2003 Recall when he took $10 million from casinos and thus sank himself. 
Get Plenty of Rest... The Debates Are Coming
by Andre Levesque on March 24, 2006
John Wildermuth on his Poltics Blog is reporting that Gubernatorial candidates Phil Angelidies and Steve Westly have agreed to a debate on May 3rd in Los Angeles.

I'm warning all of you out there that plan on watching, increase your caffeine intake before  you tune in.
Homelessness – Not in My Backyard
by Helen Seliverstov on March 24, 2006
Homelessness is a huge problem in Los Angeles.  I personally love the idea of a vibrant downtown, however, it is impossible to accomplish with the presence of skid row where there are rows and rows of people living in boxes. 

“Los Angeles County officials have proposed establishing five regional homeless centers in an effort to reduce “dumping:” by hospitals and police agencies in the skid row, while spreading out the burden of providing care for homeless people beyond downtown.” You can read the whole article here.

Some residents are expressing concern about having to deal with the burden of a lower income community in their district.  They believe that crime rates will go up and housing prices will go down. 

But if we break up this population into smaller chunks and make individual communities responsible for rehabilitation of people, wouldn’t it be easier?  Isn’t the best progress made by small communities as opposed to the one glove fits all approach?  And while this article says it is regionalizing the problem, I think it’s actually localizing it in a sense.  And it’s worth a thought.

Now, I don’t want homeless people in my backyard anymore than the next person.  Having said that, isn’t it part of the social contract for the society to take care of people who cannot take care of themselves?  And when I say that, I mean that we should have work programs, accountability in drug rehabilitation (unlike the joke that Proposition 36 is), and a plan of how to get people healthy and back into the work force.  I just don’t think that we can continue throwing people out on the street because hospitals have no space for them. 

I wonder though, if ACLU will see this as counties “forcing” people into shelters by requiring police officers to drop people off in shelters as opposed to on the street? Are we now violating these people’s rights?  Do we as a responsible society force our help on people or do we have to wait for them to want help (which many will never ask for)?  And what is the solution for people who do not want to go into shelters and prefer the street? 

I look forward to following this discussion between cities, ACLU, and the county. 
Corbett Wins FPPC Ruling
by Matt Rexroad on March 14, 2006

Will be allowed to transfer funds to Senate account
March 9, 2006
Contact:  Parke Skelton
(626) 535-9616
The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) today ordered their staff to draft a resolution to allow State Senate candidate Ellen Corbett to transfer the $80,000 remaining in her State Assembly 2004 account into her State Senate account.  On a 3 to 1 vote, the FPPC determined that the transfer was in the interest of fairness.
The FPPC made it clear that the failure to transfer the funds was the result of an error made by Corbett’s treasurer who misread a provision of the state’s campaign reform law.  Corbett had repeatedly asked the Treasurer to transfer the funds and had acted in complete good faith in the matter.
“We are obviously pleased that the FPPC has upheld our position in this matter,” stated Corbett’s consultant Parke Skelton.  “When Ellen discovered that the funds had not been transferred she did the right thing, she went to the FPPC to ask for a ruling on whether or not the funds could be moved.”
“Ellen Corbett, who made every good faith effort to comply with the regulation, should not be harmed because of an inadvertent error by her Treasurer,” Skelton continued.  “This ruling is fair and reasonable.”
Builds Sites Reservior Now!!!
by Justin Matheson on March 14, 2006
It’s hard to think that California will not have adequate water supplies to support our growing population, faming, and environment by 2020—but it’s true. Why we’re all focused on flooding after the Katrina aftermath, fresh water continues to flow down our rivers and is dumped into the ocean and wasted.  Although, I know I’ll never see an on-stream dam built in my lifetime, off-stream storage helps provide for better water quality and has been noted as one of the most environmentally friendly ways to store surplus water.
Over 12 years ago, I wrote a paper about the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County for a political science class at University of the Pacific.   Except from the over 10 years of hearings, reports, studies, etc.—nothing has changed.   The Governor’s original bond proposal included $1.25 billion to provide for the 1.9 million acre feet project. The original proposal was axed and now a mere $500 million is being proposed to fund studies and minimal construction costs for Sites and two other major water projects--see article
Note: the last water bond voters approved also gave money to study Sites. Building Sites may be a pipe dream and in 12 more years I may repeat this blog with again nothing changed. Republicans should stand strong on water storage and construct Sites Reservoir!!!!
SD 10 - Ellen Corbett has an FPPC problem
by Matt Rexroad on March 11, 2006
Former Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett is facing a bit of a fight.  She has Assemblyman Johan Klehs sharing a similar base and former Assemblyman John Dutra with more money.  In that case everything has to work just right on your campaign in order to get to the finish line in front.

Well, it does not seem to be working out that way for her.

Please check out this opinion from the FPPC that basically takes $80,000 right out of her pocket. 

Two things --

The campaign treasurer is probably the most important person in a campaign organization.  This kind of thing is avoidable.  Good example for campaign schools.

With all the factors that go into a poltiical campaign it is often difficult to show causation between a simple little administrative action and the loss. This would be an exception to that rule.  If Corbett loses by less than a few hundred votes I would think this would clearly be a major factor.
Senator Roy Ashburn - Class act this week
by Matt Rexroad on March 10, 2006
Senator Roy Ashburn must have had a tough week.  For more than a decade he and dozens of others of political insiders have been gearing up for a race against Kevin McCarthy and the Thomas Machine.  When Congressman Thomas decided not to run this week I'm sure he was tempted to go with the plan that had been in place for years...run for Congress.

Ashburn made the right decision to run for re-election to the Senate.  It was crystal clear to me, based on a ton of evidence that he would have been beaten by McCarthy for Congress...and then he would have been out of elective office in December.

Picking an office to run for  was the tough political decision that was probably very painful for Ashburn.  Surely that had to hurt.  That wasn't the amazing part of the week. 

The part thatt Ashburn deserves credit for is the endorsement of McCarthy for Congress.  He didn't have to do that. Considering the circumstances and the emotion involved I'm not sure I would have advised him to do it.  But he did it and he deserved credit for it.  Lots of credit.

In my opinion it was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen in politics.  Every political junky reading this post would have understood if he had simply announced his candidacy for re-election and left it at that.

It took a lot of guts to do that.....and he deserves to be recognized for it.
What you need to win in California
by Matt Rexroad on March 09, 2006
Several times in the last couple days I've heard people say that the Governor just needs 50% + 1 to be re-elected Governor. This is simply not true.  In fact, if he was offered 47% of the vote right now he should take it.  He would win.  If he gets 50% +1 it should be considered a landslide.

If you look at the down ticket partisan races in 1998 and 2002 only 5 of the 12 candidates got an actual majority of the vote. in 2002, only Lockyer was able to get a majority although Bustamante and Angelides were close.

                                            1998                                    2002
Lt. Gov                                 Bustamante 52.69       Bustamante 49.40   
AG                                        Lockyer    51.50            Lockyer 51.40
Sec of State                        Jones 47.0                    Shelley 46.30
Controller                            Connell    60.91           Westley 45.40               
Treasurer                            Angelides 52.60          Angelides 49.40
IC                                          Quackenbush 49.86   Garamendi 46.50

The other thing i would point out about these numbers is the with 3rd Party candidates getting a higher percentage of the vote the 47% win number may actually drop to 45% this year.

I don't see how the Governor gets less than 43% of the vote even in a bad year.  His ceiling is probably around 53%.  The range of ten points is what the campaign is all about.
A cold-blooded killer lives another day
by Josiah Keane on February 21, 2006
So the execution of Michael Morales is now delayed indefinitely after the state was unable to comply with a judge’s order that it find someone who could confirm Morales wouldn’t suffer any pain during the three stage lethal injection process.

However, the judge’s order gave the state a second choice.  Prison officials could have simply given Morales an overdose of sedative.  Why didn’t prison officials go with the second option? 

It is ridiculous that in 25 years, the state couldn’t carry out this execution.  And the argument that lethal injection violates the Eighth Amendment falls flat for me when hanging, firing squad and electrocutions are still legal in several states.  Besides, if lethal injection is the most humane method for ending the lives of our beloved pets, then it is certainly good enough for condemned killers.

This is extremely sad and unfortunate for the victim’s family who has had to wait 25 years for justice and now will have to wait even longer. 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as well as the political ramification that will develop from it.  After all, capital punishment remains favorable among voters.
Why another warning will be ignored
by Josiah Keane on February 21, 2006
The LAO released a report on Friday on the growing cost to taxpayers of state government retiree’s health care benefits (LAO report).  The report states the cost of providing health care to retired state employees and their dependents is approaching $1 billion a year and increasing significantly.  In fact the LAO predicts that the state’s unfunded liability will eventually reach between $40 billion to $70 billion.  The burden to pay this will fall on taxpayers.

So, why won’t state lawmakers heed the LAO warning and attempt reform?  Teachers, Cops, and Firefighters. 

To achieve meaningful reform that will reduce the liability to a manageable amount, the reform would need to include a reduction in government retiree’s health benefits. Any attempt to work with this coalition to come up with a solution that involves a hint of a reduction would be a non-starter.  After the Special Election, there simply isn’t the political will to work with or take on this coalition. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata said it best in the Sac Bee, “(Anyone) who seeks to use this report to abandon the teachers, cops and firefighters who have worked their lives for the people of this state will be disappointed.”

Why stick your neck out if you are an elected official?  Governor Schwarzenegger did with the pension reform initiative last year and was nearly decapitated for it.  The news media is inclined to ignore the issue.  And, Californians either just don’t know or fully understand that there is a looming crisis.  So again, why would any thoughtful politician risk their political future for reform?

Well, one reason may be the issue has legs for anyone who will have to pay for their own health care after retirement — the vast majority of California’s workers. 

A 2001 survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting reports only 27 percent of large employers offer retiree health benefits and a mere eight percent of small businesses offer health benefits.  That leaves most of California’s workforce to fend for themselves when it comes to health care after retirement.

For private sector employees, who just like “teachers, cops and firefighters” work their entire lives for the people of this state and whose hard work fuels the economic engine of California, the growing cost of government retiree’s health care benefits may become a cause of angst and frustration.  While they plan and save for their own future medical needs, they will be asked to pay an ever increasing amount for the health care benefits of government retirees.  Throw in the pension crisis and there is a recipe for a taxpayer revolt.

So it goes, the LAO report will be ignored and the opportunity to overt a fiscal crisis will pass…or will it?
Senator Jon Kyl, Great American
by John Peschong on February 17, 2006

This week I received an e-mail from the re-election campaign of U.S. Senator Jon Kyl.  The Junior Senator from Arizona has an American Conservative Union rating of 100 and American Civil Liberties Union rating of 0.  This last week he has been working to pass a permanent repeal of the death tax.  In other words a great American. 

 His campaign invited me as a Kyl Captain to support the Senator by helping the campaign collect 75 signatures for his re-election nomination papers.  He needs a total of 6,000 signatures to make it on the ballot, which should not be a problem for the campaign.   The Senator is running against former Arizona Democrat Party Chairman Jim Pederson who spent $1.8 million of his own money rebuilding his party and helped elect Arizona’s Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano.

My reward for doing my duty to help Senator Kyl is an opportunity to attend the February 23rd fundraising dinner at the Arizona Biltmore that will feature our own Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as the headliner.  If I collect 75 signatures, I can get in to the event for the cost of the meal which is $75.  From the campaign’s political perspective the signature gathering drive could add 80 new volunteers to their grassroots efforts; however the campaign finance staff most likely hates the idea of filling those seats with grassroots types and not $1,000 donors.  In California, the last campaign I can remember that collected signatures in lieu of a filling fee was Darrell Issa’s 1998 U.S. Senate run.

The real issue here is the direction of the conservative movement in the West. Some conservatives in California are angry at Governor Schwarzenegger and conservatives in Barry Goldwater country are having him campaign and help out with fundraising.

I tried to sign up to gather my signatures and then I read the fine print that only a resident of Arizona can witness the signature being written.  I guess I will have to wait until Congressman Issa runs again for U.S. Senate so I can get in on a $75 ticket to see the Governor.

Softening the Battlefield
by Tom Ross on February 16, 2006
Three weeks ago Karl Rove, President Bush's top political strategist layed out the Republican strategy for the midterm elections.

Here it is spelled out in the Washington Post on January 21st:

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove offered a biting preview of the 2006 midterm elections yesterday, drawing sharp distinctions with the Democrats over the campaign against terrorism, tax cuts and judicial philosophy, and describing the opposition party as backward-looking and bereft of ideas.

"At the core, we are dealing with two parties that have fundamentally different views on national security," Rove said. "Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview. That doesn't make them unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."

Rove isn't afraid to broadcast his strategy to the Democrats because he is confident that the Republicans will be better at implementing and he knows that Howard Dean and the Democrats can't agree on unified message that they will run over the next 8 months.

Fast forward three weeks from the Washington Post story, Progress For America, a rightward leaning non-profit /issue advocacy/grassroots organization, releases two new tv ads focusing on the US mission in Iraq and the progress we are making against terrorism.

I'm not the military expert at Meridian Pacific, but I think they call this "softening the battlefield".
Bam!!! Internet Slams are Becoming the Norm
by Justin Matheson on February 15, 2006
It’s incredible how the internet is continually changing how campaigns are run.  The trend now is to establish an attack website on your opponent.  Check out the new website set up to slam 68th Assembly candidate Jim Righeimer -- Righeimer Exposed
More often then not, these websites are set up with complete anonymity.  I have no problems with the new trend of negative campaigning if the information is truthful, but have the integrity to associate your name or organization with the accusations. 
Flying Upside Down
by Tom Ross on February 12, 2006
Every two years about this time, I start to get a lot of calls from solid Republican candidates that I just don't have the time to take on as clients but would love to help with their campaigns.  I usually give them an hour or so of time talking about the basics and then send them into the exciting world of political campaigning with a copy of Joe Gaylord's book Flying Upside Down (its less than 100 pages and Gaylord encourages passing it along to fellow Republicans).
This book isn't another "how-to" manual that is handed out at campaign school.  Joe Gaylord (former Chief Strategist for House Speaker Newt Gingrich) analyzed successful challenge  campaigns and discovered they all had similar characteristics -- confidence, creativity, contrast, controversy and capital.

Unfortunately many of our candidates fall short in every area because they are too busy checking boxes on a campaign to do list (which I also keep on hand and I'm happy to share) that they actually forget to try and persuade voters to vote for them on Election Day.

Email me your address for a copy of Gaylord's book, you need to credential yourself as a Republican because he specifically asks that we keep it in the GOP family.
Where are they now? -- Former Senator Maurice Johannessen
by Justin Matheson on February 12, 2006

Remember Senator Maurice Johannessen?  As a Republican State Senator he broke with party ranks in 2002 to support Governor Gray Davis’ Budget.  After the vote, it wasn’t clear what he received from the deal.  He soon was appointed as Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the details of the deal became evident. 


 After Johannessen was ousted as Secretary by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, he returned back to Redding to focus on his roller rink business – read article here. 


 Recently, Johannessen started making news again by hinting he was going to run for Shasta County Supervisor. In a recent article in the Record Searchlight he declared that he will not seek the office.  However, he has built a house in the small community of Shingletown (30 miles east of Redding) and it seems he is still positioning him self for a race.  I’m sure Senator Jim Brulte and the other Republicans that felt betrayed by Johannessen in the past may become involved in this small supervisor race if he runs.

Marian Bergeson Leadership Series
by Elizabeth Hansell on January 28, 2006
In 2004 the Marian Bergeson Excellence in Public Service Leadership Series was started here in California.  It was the brain child of Emmy Day and Kate Keena who saw an opportunity to build a program that would help Republican women get elected to public office.  This program generally referred to as simply the "Bergeson Series" is going to change the Republican Party in California.

Through an application/interview process a diverse class is selected each year from across the state.  Participants attend monthly trainings(thru July) with trips to both Sacramento and Washington DC.  I'm honored to be a member of the class of 2006 and am currently attending our first training held in Orange County.

The importance of this program is best reflected by its namesake -- Marian Bergeson.  She has over 50 years of public service(appointed at age 79 to the CA Transportation Committee) and has focused on opening doors and providing opportunities for women across the state.  In her comments to us today she noted that women, in comparison to when she was first serving in the Assembly in 1978, have more access, more education, and more opportunities.....yet there are no Republican women in the State Senate.  A case in point that the Bergeson Series is needed now more than ever before, not just to train women, but to build a network that can put them into office.

Dr. Bill Filante Would Always Get My Vote in CD 6
by Tom Ross on January 25, 2006
Helen's post is a good analysis of the personalities in CD 6.  I thought it might be helpful to share the story of how Woolsey was first elected because I have a little 'history' here.

Back in 1992 when Woolsey first won this seat, I worked for the late Assemblyman Bill Filante.  Dr. Filante was a unique breed of Republican who was able to represent this extremely liberal part of the state (his district actually had a portion of San Francisco at the time) -- partially because he was a moderate on social issues but mostly because he worked his tail off.  My job was to pick Bill up every afternoon at 1:00pm from the State Capitol, we would drive to the district, walk precincts (Bill actually had this weird running thing he did between houses), stand in front of a local grocery store, we would then attend 2 or 3 events -- everything from Eagle Scouts ceremonies to city council meetings and I would drop him off at home at midnight and then do the same thing the next day.  There was a saying in the district, if more than 2 people were getting together in the district, Bill Filante would be there.

Filante was well positioned to win this seat, Democrats were battling it out in a bitter primary, I can't remember all the candidates but there were two or three men on the Democrat side (including Nation and the wealthy son of a Louisiana US Senator).  Remember, 1992 was the "Year of the Woman" -- so Woolsey slipped through the primary on her story as a former welfare mother who had worked hard to get off public assistance and out of poverty.  This was a great human interest story that the media ate up.

Then came the general election match up.  The Republican Congressional Committee was targeting the seat, high level Bush appointments were flying into the district for fundraisers and the campaign was beginning to ramp up.

Then came one of the most difficult days I've ever had.  I drove Bill to a doctors appointment because he had been dizzy and was having difficulty keeping his balance.  He was diagnosed with brain cancer and referred to one of the best brain surgeons in the country at  UC San Francisco, where I admitted him into the hospital under a fake name (didn't want the media to know what was happening).  We stayed the night at the hospital for observation and then he basically discharged himself in the morning.

Before the general election campaign even got started, it was over.  Bill wasn't going to be able to campaign and it was very clear that he wasn't going to be with us much longer, there was a small group of extremely loyal staffers that did an incredible job keeping the campaign operation in place -- Cindy Laubacher, Tanya Graham, Rene Croce, Pam Simpson and Beau Biller, but it was clear that Woolsey was going to walk into the congressional seat without a challenge.

The point to the story is this, Woolsey has never faced stiffed competition from a candidate who is willing to take out the opposition research binder and go after her.  Defeating and incumbent is almost impossible, but If Nation takes off the gloves and attacks Woolsey hard, he might pull an upset.
Now Political Bloggers Have a Convention
by Justin Matheson on January 25, 2006
Get ready for a historic event in the new media revolution!  The name derives from the “Burning Man” event, but the newly formed blogger conference called “Blogging Man 2007” will be no naked dance in the desert.  “Blogging Man 2007” is well on its way to becoming the top annual convention for political bloggers.  When the “Blogging Man” website went live on January 20, 2006 it received 5,000 hits in the first week and continues to grow.  The convention to be held in Reno, Nevada in October 2007 will consist of blogging workshops as well as speeches from top bloggers.  The first 500 registrants receive a copy of Hugh Hewitt’s book “Blog”. For more information about “Blogging Man” visit www.bloggingman.org.
by Elizabeth Hansell on January 23, 2006
I traveled to my home state of Oregon this past weekend to check out and attend the Oregon Campaign Institute(OCI) held in Portland. What a great program the Oregon Republican Party has going. OCI was first held in 1988 and has been going bi-annually ever since with the majority of all candidates running for office in the state attending. This training, organized by Adams and Company, has played a key role in Republicans holding a majority in the lower house.

The two day institute provided candidates a fountain of information ranging from how to give a 3,5,or 7 minute stump speech to fundraising to grassroots.

I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of involvement by currently elected members of the legislature. The current House Majority leader started his speech by acknowledging that he had been in attendance a mere 4 years earlier as a candidate. Two members not only gave a presentation (Door-to-Door: The Best Techniques) complete with a "real" door and role play, but STAYED all day, sitting next to the newbies and listening. Apparently both had cleared their schedules and made attending OCI their priority -- one that will most likely pay off as they help train the next Republican leaders.
Rep. Doolittle Speaks Out on Abramoff Scandal
by Josiah Keane on January 23, 2006
At 2pm pst today Congressman John Doolittle will speak out on the Abramoff Congressional bribe scandal on KFBK 1530. It is a prerecorded interview with Tom Sullivan, which Doolittle had the opportunity to approve before being broadcast. Doolittle has been mum on the subject and unlike many other Republicans he has refused to return contributions from Abramoff so it should be interesting to hear what he has to say.

You can listen to it here.
Willie Brown and Karen Hanretty -- Oil and Water
by Tom Ross on January 17, 2006
I'm cross posting this blog with the flashreport because I think it ties in nicely with our focus on podcasts.

I came across Willie Brown's podcast website today. The top interview on the site is Willie trading barbs with GOP spinner extraordinaire Karen Hanretty.  This is a "must listen" discussion because I'm not sure who has a quicker wit.

Further down the page, Da Mayor conducts another quality interview with John Herrington -- the former Secretary of Energy under Ronald Reagan.  Herrington was also chairman of the California Republican Party in the early 1990s.

I'm subscribing to this podcast via iTunes -- Willie is pure entertainment.
A Great Article on Race Politics
by John Peschong on January 16, 2006

Reflecting on equality on this Martin Luther King holiday, I found this article by Peter Kirsanow from the June 2005 National Review .  Political campaigns are won by building coalitions and bringing new people into the process and empowering them.  Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean appears to believe that if you can't pass his narrow litmus test you have no home in the democrat party.  So much for the politics of equality.


The “White Christian” party.
By Peter Kirsanow

During a discussion with minority leaders and journalists on Monday, Howard Dean declared that Republicans are “a pretty monolithic party. They all believe the same. They all look the same. It’s pretty much a white Christian party.” He further stated that “the Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people” and Democrats are “more welcoming to different folks, because that’s the type of people we are.” Dean continued to defend his remarks as recently as Thursday.

Dean’s comments clearly suggest that the GOP is, if not hostile to a demographic broader than white Christians, at least cool toward including non-whites and non-Christians in the party. If Dean truly believes these statements, then he needs to both review his history texts and spend some time on current events.


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