Even as the polar vortex is putting much of the country in a deep freeze, in California election season is heating up....
OVER THE TOP? Judging from emails I've seen, some Democrats in Ventura County may be overreacting to questions about Thousand Oaks City Councilwoman Jacqui Irwin's commitment to the party, which I discussed in my previous blog post.
For starters, the one progressive Democrat in the region who arguably has the greatest reason to be bitter over Irwin's previous political endorsements -- Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson -- said she personally carries no grudge over the fact that Irwin endorsed her opponent, Republican Tony Strickland, in the 2008 Senate race that she eventually lost by just 857 votes.
When I spoke with Jackson yesterday, she called Irwin an "interesting" candidate, and noted that the two had recently spoken and had what Jackson called "a meaningful conversation." And as for that endorsement?
"From my perspective, 2008 was a long time ago, and we have to move on," Jackson said.
In addition, those Democrats who are throwing stones should also keep in mind that Irwin has never wavered from her Democratic voter registration, even though it might have been politically advantageous to do so. She has successfully run for council three times in a city in which Republicans have a 10 percentage-point advantage in voter registration, 42 percent to 32 percent. In contrast, Supervisor Linda Parks changed her registration from Democratic to Republican before first running for the council in Thousand Oaks (and, of course, later switched to "no party preference" before running in 2012 congressional primary).
Finally, it should be noted that in June -- at a time when it did not seem likely there would be any opportunity for her to run for Assembly because it still appeared that incumbent Jeff Gorell would be running for re-election -- Irwin attended a fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley and contributed $200 to her re-election campaign.
GROW ELECT ENTERS THE RACE: A statewide Republican organization that seeks to build support for GOP candidates among Latino voters by supporting Republican Latino candidates at the local level has thrown its weight behind Port Hueneme City Councilwoman Sylvia Munoz Schnopp in the 44th Assembly District race. The organization is called GROW Elect.
The group, headed by former George W. Bush White House aide Ruben Barrales, recorded some notable successes in municipal races around the state last fall. It also supported Schnopp in her City Council re-election campaign in 2012.
A COUP FOR SCOTT WILK: Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who represents Simi Valley, received a plum assignment this week when Assembly Speaker John Perez named him to the Government Organization Committee.
That committee considers all legislation affecting the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industries. As such, it is often called a "juice" committee because interests in those industries are typically generous with campaign contributions, and they tend to want to stay in the good graces of members of the G.O. Committee.