There were few surprises with Friday's (almost) close of filing for the June campaigns. Perhaps the most significant, in terms of its potential effect on the outcome, was the decision of Ventura real estate broker Al Goldberg to complete his filing in the 26th Congressional District. That means that Democrats, even after Moorpark Councilman David Pollock dropped out of the race on Thursday citing concerns that having too many candidates could doom the chances of a Democrat finishing first or second in the June 5 top-two primary, will still have four candidates on the ballot.
Goldberg, a conservative Democrat and an extraordinarily pleasant man, is not liklely to raise any money to mount a serious campaign. But he's been around Ventura for a long time and, being in the real estate business, has met a lot of folks. Just having his name on the ballot will complicate the electoral equation for other candidates: In 2000, when Goldberg ran in the Democratic primary against Michael Case, he picked up 8,786 votes, or 6.1 percent of the total.
Another minor suprise was the filing of Democrat Eileen MacEnery of Newbury Park in the 44th Assembly District. Just a couple days before the deadline, she was appealing to friends for help in coming up with the filing fee, but she obviously succeeded. In this case, it probably helps Democrats to have two candidates on the June 5 ballot. Since there is only one Republican, incumbent Jeff Gorell of Camarillo, and one other Democrat, Tom Mullens of Thousand Oaks, either MacEnery or Mullens is guaranteed of finishing in the top two. The experience of campaigning in the spring could help both raise their profile for what will likely be an uphill challenge against Gorell in the fall.
Some other developments of note:
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY -- In his now-abandoned campaign, Pollock says he was discouraged about learning the dreary facts of life of what it takes to wage a serious race for Congress. Under the supervision of campaign staff, and with a clock on him, he says he spent 8 to 10 hours a day on the telephone calling people for campaign contributions. And the worst part, he said, was knowing that even if he won that drill would never let up. "I was told that even if I won to expect to spend four hours a day for the next two years dialing for dollars."
O'CONNELL WEIGHS IN -- Former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, the former Ventura County legislator who has been the most successful Democratic politican to come out of the county in the last 30 years, has largely stayed out of primaries. He didn't endorse a candidate, for instance, in the tough Das Williams vs. Susan Jordan Assembly primary two years ago.
But O'Connell has come out strongly in support of Assemblywoman Julia Brownley in the 26th Congressional District primary. The two worked closely together in Sacramento when Brownley was chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee during the last two years of O'Connell's tenure as state school superintendent. "She'll be great," O'Connell told me last week. "She's a good fit for that congressional district."
BEST $300 CAMPAIGN EXPENSE EVER: Simi Valley podiatrist Lee Rogers, the Democratic Party-endorsed candidate in the 25th Congressional District,
attended a charity auction for the College of the Canyons last week at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. One of the auction items was lunch for four with Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of Santa Clarita, the Republican incumbent in the race. Rogers purchased the lunch for $300.
He says he intends to bring along three reporters as his guests. "I would like to sit with the congressman and have a cordial discussion about the challenges that face the communities in the 25th district and the United States," he said in a press release.
One suspects he's already gotten at least $300 worth of publicity about the purchase -- and the best part is the money goes to a good cause, the college's educational foundation.
A PARTISAN SNUB FOR MALDONADO: The Santa Barbara County Republican Party voted over the weekend to endorse actor Chris Mitchum of Santa Barbara in the 24th Congressional District, a setback for former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria.
Maldonado is hardly a favorite of GOP activists because of his 2009 vote in the state Senate in favor of temporary tax increases, his moderate position on illegal immigration and his authorship of the top-two primary system, among other reasons. Because of all that, he was never going to get the GOP endorsement, but he must have been hoping for a "no endorsement" position, given that whatever his ideological failings may be, even the staunchest conservative Republican activists might recognize that he could be the party's strongest candidate in November against Democratic incumbent Lois Capps of Santa Barbara.
The state party board, however, did not follow the Santa Barbara County recommendation. It decided over the weekend to make no endorsement.
Capps's campaign was quick to make hay of the county GOP's decision. "If he cannot even win the endorsement of his own county party, how will he compete with Rep. Lois Capps in November?" asked Capps' spokesman Jeff Millman in an email sent to reporters last night.