Political Fix (19 March, 2020)

Post-mortem: 2020 Primary

The only person surprised by March 3rd’s Primary was candidate for State Assembly District 32 Todd Cotta. By election night he had only been campaigning for 60 days and said that anything he got would be gravy.

Well, he got more than gravy.

He ended up with almost 60% of the vote in Kings County, which is a reassuring sign considering Hanford is his hometown. Mr. Cotta, a Republican, had a worse showing in Kern County as that portion of the 32nd district is predominately Democrat, and so is the incumbent.

The final numbers were 56.3% of the vote for incumbent Rudy Salas and 43.5% for Mr. Cotta.

For the rest of the races, they unfolded pretty much as predicted.

Tulare County Board of Supervisor’s District 3

This race left one unanswered question. Candidate for District 3 Brad Maaske might still believe there is a silent majority.

And his loss did not prove that there isn’t.

In a facebook post he stated his loss was due to the fact that Republican voters did not show up.

“It turns out Catherine Doe was correct. My opponent got approximately 60% of the vote. Less than 30% of the registered Republicans in my district voted. If you like the status quo don’t participate. I am still here and fighting! This is just one battle. (For the record. If 50% voted and 70% chose me over a liberal decline to state… I win).”

The problem with Mr. Maaske’s logic is that Democrats have a much worse voter turnout than Republicans.

Second, just because someone is not a registered Republican does not make them a liberal. Just ask a Libertarian or the American Independent Party. Ms. Shuklian is registered an Independent and garnered support from many registered Republicans, as was evident with her endorsements.

Third, there is a limit to what even the religious right is going to put up with. The bottom line is that someone can’t get off of probation in September, file their paperwork in October, and expect to win – no matter how conservative.

Mr. Maaske might have been a bridge too far, even for the silent majority.

Since the election Mr. Maske has been critical of how California has handled the corona virus crisis and has disagreed with advice to close bars and restaurants.

“Destroy the economy for this but not the flu? (Alarmist say it will kill 600,000 plus in US if not controlled).”

A handful of people agree with Mr. Maaske, but with the possibility of Mr. Maaske as a potential leader, I think we dodged a bullet with the re-election of Ms. Shukian.

Tulare County Board of Supervisor District 1

The only remaining question left for District 1 is who will get candidate Robyn Stearns’ votes. Of the three people running for District 1, challenger Larry Micari and Incumbent Kuyler Crocker will proceed to a runoff in the November General Election.

Mr. Micari ended up with 46% of the vote to Mr. Crocker’s 37%.

By the next day Mr. Micari was already courting Ms. Stearns supporters.

Mr. Micari wrote,

“I hope to talk to Robyn very soon and I look forward to connecting with her supporters because when they voted for her yesterday, they joined my voters in sending a message that they wanted a change on the Board of Supervisors. As the two “change” candidates in this race, Robyn and I so far have combined to earn 63% of the vote, which is incredible. Voters on Tuesday sent a crystal clear message and I look forward to continuing on and bringing the change that residents are calling for. I look forward to getting to meet with Robyn and her supporters and I am excited about working with them over the coming months.”

Whether one agrees with Mr. Micari or not no one can argue with his work ethic.

Ms. Stearns has not announced publicly who she will endorse, if anyone, but she and her camp did express their extreme displeasure with Political Fix’ predictions and what they called a “biased” article.

Because her campaign was the least visible of the three candidates’, I predicted that Ms. Stearns would come in third with only 20% of the vote.

I was in fact wrong. Ms. Stearns only received 16% of the vote. So I will leave the post mortem of her campaign in her team’s capable hands.

Maybe my hypothesis was wrong. Maybe it wasn’t her campaign.

Democrats Tank in Assembly District 26, Congressional Districts 22 & 21

Even though challenger Drew Phelps announced his campaign for the Assembly seat held by Incumbent Devon Mathis a year ago at the Fred Davis Dinner, he only garnered 38.5% of the vote. His best showing was in Inyo County, where he received 47.7% of the vote.

His strong showing in Inyo was most likely a result of their anger at Mr. Mathis’ close relationship with the owner of Health Care Conglomerate Associates, Dr. Benny Benzeevi, who engaged in allegedly fraudulent financial activity with their hospital.

Mr. Phelps has made the focal point of his campaign Mr. Mathis’ complicity in the bankruptcy of Tulare’s Hospital.

Incumbent TJ Cox, Congressional District 21, also did surprisingly poorly in the primary against former Congress Member David Valadao.

Mr. Cox only garnered 38.5% of the vote even though he has been very active in Congress, passing bills, and has held many town halls in the 21st District. Both candidates have financial blemishes that cancel each other out, but Mr. Valadao is still very well liked and is a local.

If the Democratic Party wants to hold on to this long-time Republican seat, it is going to have to pull off the same successful ground game as in 2018.

In the 22nd Congressional District, even though Incumbent Devin Nunes has been roundly roasted for not meeting with his constituents and filing a billion dollars worth of personal damages suits, Tuesday was a good night for him.

The front runner amongst the Democrats, Phil Arballo, only garnered in an anemic 25% of the vote. The combined vote for the three Democrat candidates was 41% to Mr. Nunes’ 56%, showing once again the district is staunchly Republican and will be very hard for the Democrats to flip.


Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13.

That is the reason why some high-rise buildings do not have a 13th floor, or why 13 dinner guests is an undesirable number–considering Judas was the 13th to arrive for the Last Supper,

But is Triskaidekaphobia the reason why Proposition 13, the $15 billion school bond, suffered a resounding loss on Primary night?

No. It’s because Californians are sick of increasing taxes hidden in bond measures.

A “yes” vote would have authorized $15 billion in general obligation bonds for school and college facilities, including $9 billion for preschool and K-12 schools, $4 billion for universities, and $2 billion for community colleges.

Even though $12 million was raised by Prop. 13 proponents and was met with virtually no opposition, it didn’t even come close. The ballot measure lost 46.5% to 53.5%. The measure only needed a simple majority to win.

This was the first statewide education-related bond issue that voters rejected since 1994. Between 1994 and 2020, voters approved six bond measures for school facilities—Proposition 203 (1996), Proposition 1A (1998), Proposition 47 (2002), Proposition 55 (2004), Proposition 1D (2006), and Proposition 51 (2016).

Columnist Dan Waters wrote, “Advocates of more spending, borrowing and taxes may be learning that even in blue California, there are limits.”

What’s Next?

What’s coming up on the 2020 November ballot? City council races–and Tulare will see some doozies.

Tulare Mayor Jose Sigala of District 1, Carlton Jones of District 3, and Greg Nunley of District 5 are all up for re-election, so fasten your seat belts.

Mr. Nunley already has a challenger, Patrick Isherwood, who got quite a reception when we posted his press release on Facebook. I am sure there will be many more challengers to follow.

Visalia City Council has enjoyed a generally peaceful few years, so fewer fireworks are anticipated for its races. Mayor Bob Link’s District 1 seat is up for grabs as he has said he plans on stepping down at the end of his term. Brett Taylor has announced his candidacy for the seat.

Council Member Phil Cox in District 2 is up for re-election but as yet no one has announced they will run in opposition.

I did get calls from two constituents who said they are mighty tired of seeing old White men on the dais and would like to see some diversity.

In reality, old White men are in the minority. So it’s the electorate’s fault that there is no diversity. People need to step up to the plate and run for office if they are dissatisfied.

Porterville is actually having its first by-district elections for Districts 3, 4, and 5 after recently switching from at-large elections.

Members of the Porterville City Council were elected in Districts 1 and 2 in November 2018. Members of the city council will be elected in Districts 3, 4, and 5 beginning in November 2020.

Pulling back the curtain

Soon after the Primary, two people called and asked if I was going to investigate them if they ran for office.

I asked, “Do you have a record?”

I won’t say how they responded because they might be on the ballot. But neither of them had anything in their past that was out of the ordinary.

If a candidate has one or two of the following–a bankruptcy, DUI, evictions, divorce, a lawsuit, a 5150, kids with criminal records–that’s just called life. If you have all or most of the above in your past, that’s called not qualified to run for office.

If someone cannot make appropriate decisions about their own life then they are not qualified to make decisions about other people’s lives, no matter how repentant.

3 thoughts on “Political Fix (19 March, 2020)

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  1. Nobody is perfect. I liked Masske because I saw his signs about the homeless and I hoped he’d win and im a Democrat. Visalia has the same people on the city council and keep electing the same people in law enforcement and the town has gone to pot. It’s getting into it to fund law enforcement to fight gans & crime which is stupid .

  2. PS Visalia didn’t need district election. They need term limits. Look how many years: Bob Link, Greg Collins and Phil Cox have been on the council. And, Bourdeax, Whittman & Wiley sheriff and Tim Ward & Phil Cline DA. A new guy let a black or Hispanic can’t win because of the good ole boy network. It’s not right because these are not the the only people that should run things and it’s not a democracy. We put term limits on the president and it should be for every office.

    • For some it is really about “the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know”. Also there aren’t too many folks who desire to use their personal time and treasures to run for an office and putting in the time once elected. That said, I do agree with you about term limits being needed …..if only it was doable.

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