With less than 20 days remaining before E-Day, the political establishment has hit the frantic button. Lots of news to report today on recent developments...
RETURN OF THE CARTOON KINGS: Those crazy cartoonists in Washington, D.C., -- the ones who apparently believe that voters in Ventura County just can't get enough of insulting, simplistic political messages -- are at it again.
The most recent example comes from the House Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC that has now dropped just short of $1 million into the 26th Congressional District campaign, both in the spring primary and now in the fall general election. The latest cut-and-paste job features the heads of Tony and Audra Strickland pasted on the bodies of a couple dressed in 1930s-era garb above a line of text that calls them "the most famous political bandits since Bonnie and Clyde."
The flip side of the mailer reviews a lot of accurate, but old, news: The fact that the Stricklands paid each other out of their campaign funds for political consulting and fundraising. The mailer says, "It should be criminal -- Tony Strickland and his wife used campaign finance loopholes to funnel nearly $100,000 into their pockets."
It's true. They did it, and it was ethically questionable, but legal, at the time. Strickland, either because he realized such charges were politically damaging or because he genuinely reassessed the situation and concluded it was wrong, actually authored a bill in the Legislature to make such transactions in fact criminal. The bill is now law in California, and the practice is banned.
It is not illegal at the federal level, however, and it might be interesting to watch to see whether, if Strickland wins in the 26th Congressional District next month, he decides to resume putting his wife on his campaign payroll.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SUPER PAC: A new group called the "Jobs Opportunity and Freedom PAC" has entered into the 26th District fray. It spent $19,000 on a mailer this week, designed by the Sacramento area political consulting firm Gilliard Blanning, attacking Democrat Julia Brownley for having voted to go forward with the high-speed rail project approved by California voters.
The group obviously just received some late money from somebody to pay for the mailer, as it reported having only $16,000 on hand at the end of September. The consulting firm works with many of the most conservative elected officials in California.
A SENATE 'TRAILBLAZER': The statewide Republican group organized by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy to mimic his federal "Young Guns" program has announced that 27th Senate District GOP candidate Todd Zink is the first Senate candidate in the state to receive its "Trailblazer" designation.
DON'T INVITE RUSH LIMBAUGH: Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who was thrust into the national headlines last year when she showed up before a congressional committee considering the issue of health insurance coverage mandates for contraceptive coverage, will attend a debate-watching fundraiser Monday evening in Ojai.
The event, which will take place during the third and final presidential debate, will raise money for Brownley's campaign.
Fluke's attempt to testify became big national news after ultra-conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh referred to her as a "slut," suggesting the only reason women want contraceptive care to be covered under their insurance plans is to give them a license to have unlimited sex.
SING ALONG WITH THE PROPS: The nonpartisan California Voter Foundation has released one of the highlights of every campaign season -- its "Proposition Song," designed to provide a handy way to remember what each of the 11 Nov. 6 ballot propositions is all about.