Less than 20 days 'til Election Day, candidates and their supporters are getting cranky, and more than 6,000 people in Ventura County (about 4 percent of permanent mail-ballot voters) have already turned in their ballots. So lots to write about today in a three-dot blog post...
WHAT MAKES A DEMOCRAT A DEMOCRAT? -- A couple of weeks ago in an interview, 19th Senate District candidate Jason Hodge told me he'd been a Democrat "all my life," and I quoted him as saying so. County Democratic Central Committee vice-chairman David Atkins checked out the claim at the county registrar of voters' office and asserts it's untrue.
In fact, Hodge was from 2002 until 2008 registered as "decline to state" a party affiliation.
Hodge acknowledged that today -- but asserted that doesn't mean he hasn't always been a Democrat in his heart. For example, he said that in primary elections he has always requested a Democratic ballot. A person can be a Democrat, he said, but the voter registration cards give a people an option whether to state or decline to publicly state their party orientation. He chose to decline, he said.
That may be the case. But when you're a candidate and you tell a reporter that you've always been a Democrat, nearly everyone who reads that quote is going to interpret it that you've always been a registered Democrat. It was misleading at best.
SPLITTING THE FIELD? -- With three candidates challenging incumbent First District Supervisor Steve Bennett of Ventura, it is likely that they're fighting among themselves for second place -- but also likely that, combined, they will keep Bennett under the 50 percent-plus one threshold he would need to win re-election outright on June 5.
But, as my colleague Kathleen Wilson notes, opponents of Bennett appear to have some trouble coalescing behind a single challenger. "In a bit of surprise, Christy Weir has won the endorsement of a key business group for the only contested seat on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors," Wilson writes. "The Ventura Chamber of Commerce's political action committee gave the moderate Ventura councilwoman the nod over pro-business candidates Neal Andrews and Bob Roper .
"Roper, the retired county fire chief, has the endorsement of the Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, a 300-member group at odds with Bennett's environmental views."
AN UPSIDE-DOWN WEBSITE -- Opponents of independent congressional candidate Linda Parks (although they don't identify themselves) have created a new website -- lindaparksrepublican.com to further spread the word to Ventura County voters that Parks was a Republican for 16 years before re-registering as an independent just before becoming a candidate for the U.S. House. The wallpaper on the site features the GOP's elephant logo, upside-down.
The site includes an image of Parks' 1996 voter-registration card in which she changed political affiliation from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. Above the card, the text reads:
"In case there was any doubt, here's a copy of Linda Parks' Republican voter registration form, proving her Republican registration for sixteen years, from the Newt Gingrich era, through the Bush-Cheney-Rove-Palin era, all the way to today's Romney-Boehner era.
"Note that she used this form to switch from Democrat to Republican in 1996. Which raises the question: what was it about Newt Gingrich and his values that Linda Parks found so much more appealing than Bill Clinton?"
ONE MORE FORUM -- Likely the last chance to hear at least some of the 26th Congressional District candidates will be tomorrow evening (Friday) from 5 to 7 at the Thousand Oaks City Council Chambers. The forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Parks is scheduled to be there, and Democrats Julia Brownley, Jess Herrera, David Cruz Thayne and Albert Goldberg are expected to attend, but Republican Tony Strickland will not be.
OUTSIDE MONEY KEEPS FLOWING -- Another independent expenditure committee, this one called WOMEN VOTE! is making its presence felt in the 26th Congressional District contest. The group today reported a $26,000 mailer it has sent in support of Brownley.