Compiled by Geisel
Note: While we have devoted ample space to local candidates this election season, we have not tackled the more regional and statewide races, so here’s a brave attempt. Space prohibited profiling every candidate running on the June 5 Primary Election ballot. We have used a mix of polling data, reader input and local campaign websites to spotlight a cross-section of the more viable candidates.
In California, we have three certainties: death, taxes and the presumed re-election of sitting U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who enjoyed double digit victories in 2000 and 2006. Feinstein, who turns 79 in June, has served in the U.S. Senate for 20 years. With support even among moderate conservatives, a recent SurveyUSA.com poll of the 24 candidates on the ballot found Feinstein drawing 51% of registered voters surveyed going into the June 5 primary.
Her leading GOP opponents so far are Dan Hughes and Elizabeth Emken, who are polling the highest so far at about 2% each, and right behind them Greg Conlon, who previously ran for state office.
There are 24 candidates for U.S. Senate on the ballot
Endorsed by the California Republican Party, Emken is running as a free market supporter, who is very pro 2nd Amendment and has stated she is for “traditional” marriage, opposes the Obama administration’s economic stimulus spending, supports a repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act (aka “Obamacare”) and a guest worker immigration program, but not any form of amnesty.
Hughes, who’s been endorsed by U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa, supports major tax and regulatory reforms needed to support business in particular, replacing Obamacare, e-Verify for workers to cut down on immigration, term limits for members of Congress, and is very pro-Israel.
Greg Conlon is banking on name recognition from his 2002 run for state treasurer. He pulled in more than one million votes in the primary and three million votes in the general election against then incumbent Phil Angelides. Conlon’s platform is largely economic, calling for tax incentives to spur job creations, solving the housing crisis, balancing the federal budget, more protection of U.S. interests around the world, and entitlement reforms for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Of the Democrats, Feinstein’s only significant competition could come from businesswoman and finance manager Diane Stewart, and computer scientist Dr. David Alex Levitt.
A scientist and political outsider, Levitt’s numbers have been surging lately, with pollsters pointing to his popular support of marijuana legalization and regulation, leaving Afghanistan immediately, and Medicare-for-All, among other policies that most Democrats and Republicans try to avoid even discussing, let alone supporting. According to his campaign manager, Sheila Harden, he appeals to both younger and older progressives, who aren’t satisfied with Feinstein’s performance, and want an alternative Democrat on the ballot in November, in which the top two primary finishers will face off, regardless of party affiliation.
Stewart said she favors decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level. She attributes steep cuts in state schools funding in part to what she calls “the failure of the federal government to extend emergency fiscal aid to states.” Stewart blames rising gas prices on a mix of the auto industry’s heavy promotion of big SUVs, the oil companies for shutting out alternative means of fuel, and “the government for taking so long to persuade the other two industries that we need more accommodating vehicles such as hybrid cars.” She’s also pro-choice and pro-same sex marriage.
Interestingly, 30% of registered voters in the SurveyUSA.com poll declared themselves “undecided.”
There are 13 candidates for the new 8th Congressional District, in which Mono and Inyo counties find themselves after being redistricted out of the 25th District, including 10 Republicans, 2 Democrats and a non-partisan.
For the Democrats, law office manager Jackie Conaway was defeated overall by Congressman Buck McKeon in 2008 and 2010, when both squared off in the last two 25th District elections, but she did pull 49% of the San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono portions of what is now the current 8th District.
In her platform, Conaway said she and her attorney husband have been working to litigate against automated red light cameras, and that she’s been active in water and air quality issues. She also wants the government “out of bedrooms, relationships and doctors’ offices,” equal pay for equal work regardless of sex, job creation by requiring federal contractors to base operations in the U.S., supports the Affordable Care Act, and wants to protect and fully fund Medicare, Social Security, Veterans Administration benefits and the National Park Service.
High school counselor John Pinkerton supports “our service men and women, not foreign entanglements,” promoting public education entrepreneurship and mentorship programs, and more research and development opportunities, developing welfare to work programs, rebuilding and maintenance of roads, bridges, rails & ports, promoting regional business access to federal contracts, tax cuts for small businesses, and expanding access to lending for job creation.
On the GOP side, Yucca Valley Town Councilman and decorated Marine Corps Colonel Paul Cook won the endorsement of former governor Pete Wilson. Cook’s platform calls for support of the military (he opposes defense cuts) and veterans, fundamental tax reform, such as a fair, flat tax, and no new taxes, spending reforms and ultimately a balanced budget, and shoring up Social Security and Medicare.
Ryan McEachron, an insurance executive and current Mayor of Victorville, opposes cutting defense budgets and closing military installations, supports easing regulations and tax burdens for working Americans, job creators and small businesses, favors repeal of Obamacare, revamping the tax code, a balanced budget amendment, a comprehensive energy plan that increases domestic production of all forms of energy, and decreases dependence on foreign oil, supports “practical” solutions for the environment that integrate “the human element,” global competition and job growth, local input on public land management and defending Israel’s relationship with the U.S.
Gregg Imus, a custom homebuilder, was formerly Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for Assemblyman Tim Donnelly. Co-founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense of California, he and his wife started and ran the “True Love Waits” program in Lake Arrowhead. Imus, a Ron Paul-style Constitutionalist, is for scrapping the Federal Reserve monetary system, a flat tax, no capital gains or death taxes, securing the Southern border, deporting illegal aliens, and changing the 14th Amendment to allow citizenship only to children of both citizens and legal immigrants. He is, however, against what he calls “spying on innocent Americans through unconstitutional power grabs like the Patriot Act.” He’s received endorsements from several Tea Party-type groups.
District 5, which after redistricting in 2011 now includes Mono County, could come down to a battle between two of the six candidates running.
Republican businessman Rico Oller supports easing regulations and tax incentives for employers to spur job creation, no new taxes, imposing a strict cap on state spending and use revenues above the cap to pay off debt or to refund to taxpayers, wants performance reviews to ferret out waste, fraud and corruption, will push to prohibit pension spiking and prevent people from retiring at higher salaries than they made while working and prohibit pay raises for state employees who earn more than $150,000 a year. Oller believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. He authored the repeal of SB 60, which would have given illegal immigrants the right to driver’s licenses, wants to end taxpayer subsidized college tuition for illegal immigrants, hold the federal government accountable for $750 million annual cost to the state for incarceration of illegal immigrant criminals, supports deporting illegal immigrants who are convicted criminals and checking the immigration status of suspected criminals. Oller wrote Senate Bill 382 requiring notifying of law enforcement and neighborhoods when sex offenders are placed in residential group homes, and defending 2nd Amendment rights.
Substitute teacher Marc Boyd could well be the most viable Democrat for the seat. Boyd said in his platform that if voters approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative package in November, he would support legislation to repeal the $150 Rural Fire Fee. He also supports state funds to cover the additional expenses to counties for AB 109 prison realignment, and Gov. Brown’s tax hike initiatives on the November ballot. Boyd is also a supporter of the California High Speed Rail effort and SB 810, the California Universal Healthcare Act, a single-payer plan that would be paid for through expenditures already being made. The major difference is that insurance companies will be required to lower their overhead expenses to 5% versus the current average of 25%. Boyd is for so-called “feed-in tariffs” that allow homeowners the opportunity to sell excess solar power to electric utility companies to make up a $200 million budget shortfall in the California Solar Initiative. He’s against unlimited, undisclosed campaign funding, supporting AB 1648, the California Disclose Act.
Props 28 and 29
Proposition 28: Limits Legislators’ Terms In Office, Constitutional Amendment. Seeks to change Proposition 140, approved in 1990. Lowers term limits from 14 years to 12 years in either the Assembly or Senate. Changes would NOT apply to any legislator already in office at the time that the initiative goes into effect. Sponsors: Los Angeles AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce put this on the ballot. Pro: The courts have opened up a loophole allowing politicians to serve up to nearly 17 years by filling partial term vacancies that don’t get counted as part of their limit. Prop. 28 closes that loophole by imposing a strict limit based on the number of years served in the Legislature, not on the number of terms. Con: Prop. 28 allows politicians to be in the California State Assembly for 12 years, not the 6 year maximum permitted under current law.
Proposition 29: Tax On Cigarettes For Cancer Research. Increases California’s current cigarette tax (87 cents per pack) by $1. Additional tax revenue will be used to fund cancer research, smoking reduction programs and tobacco law enforcement.
Pro: “The $1 cigarette tax increase will help so many people quit smoking that they’ll spend a billion dollars less a year on cigarettes. And $800 million of that billion which is now being sent out of state to Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and other tobacco interests will stay here in California creating almost $2 billion in new economic activity and 12,000 new jobs.” -Stanton A. Glantz, Professor of Medicine, UC San Francisco.
Con: Taxpayer advocates say the additional revenue will mostly be used to expand an already bloated bureaucracy and do nothing to help the state out of its financial mess. The federal government already spends $6 billion a year on cancer research and any research on a serious disease like cancer should be coordinated at the national level rather than a patchwork of research done at the state level, and they maintain there are no guarantees that research money will be spent in the U.S., much less in California.