Political notes, with two weeks remaining before candidate-filing deadline...
NATIONAL STAGE FOR LOCAL CANDIDATE -- Newbury Park Pastor Rob McCoy, a Republican running in the 44th Assembly District, is drawing national attention among evangelical Christians, many of whom hope his decision to engage in politics will inspire a trend among pastors across the country.
On Feb. 10, McCoy was the featured guest on the Christian radio broadcast "WallBuilders -- LIVE!," which runs on more than 100 stations around the nation. It is hosted by David Barton, founder of an organization called WallBuilders that promotes a Christian-based interpretation of American history. The radio broadcast describes its discussions as being "at the intersection of faith and politics," and promotes itself as presenting "information on God's hand in American history."
Barton has received national attention for asserting that President Barack Obama is both "anti-Biblical" and has given "preferential treatment" to Muslims and Muslim nations.
In introducing McCoy, Barton and his co-host Rick Green said they hoped his decision to run for the Legislature "could start a little prairie fire" among evangelical pastors.
McCoy said that is his hope as well, and said he intends to keep a journal throughout the campaign that could become a manual for others. "We're mobilizing the sleeping giant of evangelical churches, getting them to walk precincts," he said. "If this model works in California, it can work anywhere in the United States."
During the interview, McCoy disclosed that he has secured an endorsement from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and that Paul has promised to come to California to headline a fundraiser for McCoy's campaign.
A STEP UP FOR WILK -- Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway announced this week that Assemblyman Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita has been appointed chairman of the Assembly Republican Caucus.
Wilk, whose district includes Simi Valley, has been a loyal supporter of Conway and helped her to fend off a couple internal challenges to her leadership position.
CAMPAIGN KICKOFF-- 26th Congressional District Republican candidate Jeff Gorell will officially kick off his campaign with a lunchtime barbecue (noon to 1:30) Wednesday in Thousand Oaks. In addition to chicken and tri-tip, he's offering free bus transportation from Fillmore, Moorpark, Camarillo, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley and Ventura. For the bus trip, a RSVP is required. Presumably, 26th District Republicans from Ojai will have to drive themselves.
The event will be at the Veterans Memorial at Conejo Creek Park North, 1379 East Janss Road.
A CRUSADE FOR CAUSE -- Marcos Vargas, executive director of the Central Coast community-organizing group CAUSE, has announced his organization intends to embark on a "major multi-year effort to ensure an equal voice for our communities" by advocating for district-level elections in cities throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
In an email to supporters this week, Vargas said the decision was motivated by an action by the Santa Maria City Council to support a federal immigrant detention center in their community, despite what he called a public outcry against it that was "unheard of in recent history."
Step one in this effort will be an attempt to place a measure on the ballot this year in Santa Maria to establish district-level elections.
That city's action, Vargas said confirms what advocates for Latinos and low-income residents have long known -- the cities "throughout our region lack real representation from working-class neighborhoods and immigrant families."