Campaign updates with five days left...
-- OUTSIDE SPENDING TOPS $1 MILLION: A $176,000 television ad buy reported yesterday by the House Majority PAC has put the total amount of outside spending in Ventura County's 26th Congressional District primary over $1 million -- $1,057,008, to be precise. That amount places the district fifth nationwide in that category, based on calculations by the Center for Responsive Politics.
In addition to the Democratic super PAC, which has now spent $712,000 on behalf of Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, the other major players have been.the League of Conservation Voters ($191,000), and Women Vote! ($100,000).
-- AN ICE CREAM PERSPECTIVE: Independent candidate Linda Parks, who has been the target of much of that outside advertising, has been collecting all the mailers against her and posting them on the wall of her campaign office. By her count, as of yesterday, there had been 32.
Parks, whose kickoff television commercial ended with her telling viewers that her favorite flavor of ice cream is Rocky Road, drew an ice-cream analogy to the volume of mail. "That's one more than Baskin Robbins has flavors," she said. "Including Rocky Road."
-- MISSING FROM THE SENATE: Yesterday, on one of the busiest days of the year on the California Senate floor, Sen. Tony Strickland, the Republican candidate in the 26th District, was absent.
Senate officials said Strickland informed them he would not be attending because of unspecified "personal business." Senators can be officially excused from floor sessions only if they are ill or engaged in other legislative business.
Tomorrow is the deadline for each house in the Legislature to pass bills that originated in their house, so scores of bills are being voted on every day this week. As a member of the minority party, Strickland's votes are generally not crucual because most controversial legislation either succeeds or fails on the basis of whether 21 votes from majority Democrats can be mustered.
Still, there were a few close measures in which votes of Republicans were critical. Among them was a bill by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, that would require nurses and other hospital personnel to either get an annual flu vaccine or wear masks whenever they are in patient care areas. The bill was opposed by the California Nurses Association, and many Democratic lawmakers either voted no or abstained. It passed 23-9, largely as the result of 13 affirmative votes from GOP senators.
Strickland was on the floor on Tuesday and is expected to return today.