If today would have been a Monday, tomorrow would be Election Day....
THE DEMOCRAT STANDING FOR STRICKLAND: A "my friend Julia" fundraising email from former President Bill Clinton went out this morning, seeking last-minute online contributions to support Democrat Julia Brownley in Ventura County's 26th Congressional District race.
And that got me to thinking. Republican Tony Strickland is running a "real people" campaign in which he mostly features ordinary folks providing testimonials for him. Brownley, on the other hand, is touting a lot of political endorsements, including that of Clinton. There is one exception, however: Strickland has been featuring former Democratic Assemblywoman Nicole Parra of Bakersfield in much of his campaign material, citing her support as evidence that he is someone who can reach across the aisle.
If you've seen that, and you're like 99 percent of Ventura County voters, you may have wondered, "Who is this woman?"
Here's a little background. Parra was a Democratic member of the Assembly for six years back in the early 2000s. She was last heard from, politically speaking, when she endorsed a Republican in the campaign to replace her after she was termed out. Most observers in Bakersfield attributed that decision to a long-running family feud between Parra's family and that of former state Sen. Dean Florez. The Parra family had held hard feelings ever since an ally of Florez defeated Nicole's father for Kern County supervisor. Parra's endorsement in the Assembly race may have evened the score somewhat, because the Democratic candidate that year was Florez' mother.
Strickland, by the way, hasn't always been a huge fan of Parra. Back in 2004, Strickland formed a political advocacy organization called the California Club for Growth. Its only major campaign activity that fall was to fund a $65,000 independent expenditure attack against -- that's right -- Nicole Parra.
PROP. 30 CAMPAIGN FINISHING WITH A FLURRY: With polls showing voter sentiment on Proposition 30 closely divided, hovering around the 50 percent mark, its supporters are staging quite a ground-game blitz in the final days of the campaign. Some examples:
-- Gov Jerry Brown today announced the launch of an online tool that allows registered voters anywhere in California to find their polling places and retrieve a map of how to get there. All they have to do is enter their address.
Brown is clearly cognizant of polling that shows which demographic groups are most likely to support Prop. 30 -- young voters and Latinos.
Consider what he wrote in an email promoting the tool: "It's optimized to work on smartphones and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. And we have it in both English and Spanish."
-- California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt will join local labor groups and other supporters in Ventura on Saturday to walk precincts. The walkers will organize at the IBEW Hall, 3994 E. Main St.
-- Religious leaders have formed an unusual coaltion to back Prop. 30. They released a statement this week saying:
"Even as our economy begins its slow rebound from economic turmoil, we know that many Californians, especially those in our congregations and communities, are still reeling from the effects of the recession. The looming possibility that our schools and essential programs and services will be diminished even further is unacceptable."
Among those who signed were Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis, Protestant ministers, Muslim imams and an Episcopalian bishop.
WHO ARE THE TOP SPECIAL INTERESTS IN SACRAMENTO?: The presence of Proposition 32 on the ballot, designed to severey reduce the political influence of labor unions, has triggered some natural discussion of who wields political muscle in Sacramento.
Yesterday, groups that employ lobbyists had to file financial reports covering the first three quarters of 2012. The editors at the Capitol Morning Report combed through them and came up with this list of the top 10 lobbying spenders:
1. Western States Petroleum Association -- $8.5 million
2. California Teachers Association -- $8.0 million
3. California State Council of Service Employees -- $7.9 million
4. California Chamber of Commerce -- $5.7 million
5. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan -- $5.3 million
6. Chevron -- $4.7 million
7. California Hospital Association -- $4.5 million
8. City of Vernon -- $4.2 million
9. California Manufacturers and Technology Association -- $4.0 million
10. Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- $3.9 million