California Primary – Part 8: Union-Tribune Decrees A Republican-Only Primary – So, Here’s the Rest of The Story

by on June 1, 2010 · 7 comments

in California, Election

california devil fish old graphic

If you read Sunday’s edition of the Union-Tribune, you might have noticed a blurb on the front page promising coverage of the Senate and Gubernatorial candidates on page A5. If you’d bothered to actually turn to page five, you’d have only seen coverage of the Republican candidates. I’m guessing that the editors of the daily fishwrap made an “inadvertent” mistake here (as they have so often in the past) and simply forgot the Democratic, Independents and Other Party candidates. Here at the OBRag we’re at least mentioning ALL the candidates, so you don’t need to waste time waiting for the UT to run its “correction”.

california_politics_license_lgThe meme popular with political pundits these days is that the country is in the midst of a ‘throw out the bums’ upheaval that threatens incumbents everywhere. Given that the Democrats have a majority in Congress and in the Executive branch, GOP political consultants everywhere are smitten with the idea that that the coming elections are going their way in a big way.

US capitolThe US Senate seat currently held by Barbara Boxer is up for grabs this fall and California Republicans are frenetically fantasizing about making her seat theirs. In fact there are no less than five GOP candidates chomping at the bit for the opportunity to take her on. And the allure of this anti-incumbent supposition has also drawn two challengers in June’s primary from the Democratic side of the aisle, along with three American Independent Party candidates, two independents and one each for the Libertarian, Green and Peace and Freedom Parties. So, in case you’ve lost count here, that’s fifteen challengers running against Barbara Boxer.

Of course, if the tea party has its way, we won’t be voting for our Senators much longer. Seriously, they’re all excited about the idea of rolling back the Constitution to the days when Senators were picked by State Legislatures. So let’s take a gander at these wannabes and savor the craziness.

The Republican Candidates

The “purity purge” is on in Republican politics. They’re being gutted by the tea baggers, and trying to out-crazy them to survive. If you can watch this race and somehow detach yourself from the politics being pitched, it’s almost as entertaining as watching “American Idol” on mute with the sound track of “Hell’s Kitchen” running in the background. {Bleep}

carly fiorina“Carly” Fiorina

She’s so vain, she even thinks this race is about her. Fiorina has a clear political strategy: her own corporate takeover of the Tea Party. Even though she’s not their endorsed candidate, she’s been fighting hard to position herself as an angry outsider—not a onetime corporate insider. She warns that “the American Dream is in danger” due to “elitists” in charge of the government. And her videos, featuring sheep  with laser eyes and Barbara Boxer as a dirigible are clearly aimed at an audience that sees the world without nuance.

It used to be that the worst insult you could hurl at a Republican during the primaries was to call them a RINO (Republican In Name Only). In this year’s primary campaign the ante has been upped; Carly Fiorina’s handlers have coined the term FCINO (Fiscal Conservative In Name Only), hoping to appeal to the crowded right flank of the party.

And then there’s Carly’s history as a corporate executive. Somehow her troubled tenure at HP makes her a business leader who’ll reshape politics as we know it: Bribery scandal? Check. Massive layoffs? Check. Stock devaluation? Check. Accusations of mismanagement? Check? Golden parachute? Check.

Did somebody say Golden Parachute? Yup. That’s how she’s financing this campaign, to the tune of $3.6 million of her own money – with $1.1 million dedicated for the final push to the primary. She’s leading in the polls and has a henna tattoo of a moose on her forehead to remind us all that she’s Sarah Palin’s choice in this race. Oh, yeah, lest I forget, this whole voting thing is new to her. The Los Angeles Times research of public records indicates Fiorina has failed to vote in most elections. “Shame on me”, said Carly, rushing off to a pedicure.

TomCampbell2Tom Campbell

Next up we have the moderate republican in the race. Tom Campbell is a veteran, having bounced from the US House of Representatives to the State Senate and back again. Back in 2000 he tried to make the move over to US Senate, going up against Diane Feinstein and losing by over two million votes. Last July, he filed paperwork announcing his intention to run for Governor. He had money in the bank, political cred and thought he’d been around long enough that the party would bless his run.

Enter the big bucks candidates, Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman. So he fled the Governors’ race. Through the modern miracles of polling and consultants, Campbell moved over to the race for Barbara Boxer’s seat. Now, through the not-so-modern miracles of tons of money and a nasty whispering campaign that portrays him as anti-Semitic, he’s getting chewed up in the polls. It’s too bad, really. Here’s guy who started campaigning in an unusually polite way, who’s has been described as “as principled and ethical a guy as you could imagine” and now he’s being portrayed as a monster. It’s nice, how the GOP eats its children, don’t ya think?

One other thing that you should know: Campbell is known for doing a terrific impersonation of Elvis.

Tim Kalemkarian

Now we get to the entertaining part of the GOP slate. Mr. Kalemkarian is a perennial candidate, who has alternated between running for US Senate and the Presidency. He is best remembered for kicking off his 2000 campaign for the top spot by marching back and forth across the street from Monica Lewinsky’s parents’ home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles wearing a sandwich board. He has no web site or distinguishing political stances other that an avid follower (himself, maybe?) who trolls the comments sections of political blogs leaving comments about how qualified Kalemkarian is for office.

chuck-devore-dorkChuck DeVore

Here’s the tea party’s blessed candidate, who’s holding his conservative purity credentials high for everyone to see. DeVore resigned his position as Chief Republican Whip on February 14, 2009 in protest of a $12 billion per year tax increase agreed to by Republican leadership as part of last year’s budget battle in Sacramento. This act of martyrdom has gained him support in this race from such notables as conservative hero Sen. Jim DeMint and a majority of California’s elected Republican officials.

DeVore’s candidacy is also notable for its running legal battles with musician/producer Don Henley (formerly of the Eagles) after his campaign posted two parodies of two songs, “After the Hope of November is Gone” (after “The Boys of Summer”) and “All She Wants to Do is Tax” (after “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”) on YouTube in April 2009. At this point the videos are destined for the cache bins of history, as Henley has prevailed in court.

Al_RamirezAl Ramirez

Ex-marine and ex-Texan, smilin’ Al Ramirez really, really wants Republicans to know that he’s not one of them illegal alien types. He tells you right way on his web site that he’s an “all-American” with six generations of “all-American” ancestors backing him up. Sorry, Al. Your face is brown. And even though the GOP’s current purity campaign has “nothing to do with race”, you’ll be finishing dead last in the race.

The Democratic Candidates

Are they the party of the status quo? It’s as though the Bush years never happened. Somehow this recession, which took years worth of deregulation, lack of oversight and ponzi schemes to create should have been “fixed” by now, according to the naysayers, not all of whom are republicans. Will they be spurned by the voters this fall? Has the phrase “liberal” been redefined by the right as a pejorative adjective? Has the party’s indecisiveness contributed to its woes?

california_senate_boxerBarbara Boxer

She’s raised over $16 million. She’s won her last ten contests, despite being counted out many times. And she has the rock solid support of the Democratic establishment. So why is Barbara Boxer running for her life this time around? If there is a face in California politics that embodies the anti-incumbent fervor (at least as Republicans conceive of it), it’s Senator-don’t-you-call-her-ma’am Boxer. Despite having two opponents, she’s riding above the fray during primary season and saving her mojo and money for the general election.

brian quintanaBrian Quintana

He has dubbed himself as Boxer’s first serious primary challenger since 1992, based, we guess, on his many connections in Tinseltown. After all, he is a “Hollywood producer”, sharing the credits for the as yet unreleased film in the Superman series to be titled “Superman, Man of Steel.” His website says that Quintana plans to capitalize on the anti-incumbent wave that has ousted “countless” national leaders from office.

Perhaps he should hold off on ordering the champagne. Proposed Superman films have a long and sordid history of not actually getting made. And his campaign has gained no traction.

mickey kausMickey Kaus

His candidacy is a fine example what happens when pundits start actually believing the crap they spew. Kaus is best known as the contrarian commenter/blogger associated with Slate, the Washington Post’s foray into internet journalism. To hear the Mick tell it, he’s got Barbara Boxer on the ropes, and the knockout blow is a comin’ any minute now. It didn’t quite happen at the debate where Boxer—who declined the invitation—was portrayed by a giant cardboard box. The handful of people that showed up to cheer Kaus on declined to declare the race over. He, too, might want to hold off on the big bucks for the victory party.

The Other Parties

American Independent Candidates

Some people think that many of the party’s California members are actually voters who confused “Independent” with “Decline to State” when they registered to vote. In any case the party split into factions last year, and each side is running candidates. And then, just to keep things interesting, there is this Iranian “political analyst” who’s also thrown his hat into the race. Here they are.

Don Grundmann,

Chiropractor; Ultra-Conservative Activist and 2006 candidate

Grundman wants to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

edward noonan aipEdward C. Noonan,

Computer store owner

Al Salehi,

Political Analyst

Green Party

duane roberts greenDuane Roberts,

Community Organizer

Libertarian Party

gail lightfoot libertarianGail Lightfoot,

Ex-State Party Chair; Retired Nurse

Peace and Freedom


Marsha Feinland,

Retired Teacher

Independent Candidates

Jerry Leon Carroll,

Frequent Candidate

Peter Putnam

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace June 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Hey Doug- It’s a dirty job and the U-T won’t do it (?) so somebody has to. Thanks for breaking it down for us in your inimitable style with the accompanying substance.

And thanks for pointing out that the Republican/Tea Party effort to repeal the 17th amendment, which gives us the right to directly elect senators- as opposed to appointment by state legislatures. How do you spell c-r-a-z-y? Are we supposed to party like it’s 1910?


mr fresh June 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

from the la times: campbell waves the white flag


mr fresh June 1, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Capitulating to his dwindling campaign treasury, Republican Senate candidate Tom Campbell pulled his television advertising Tuesday and in the closing days of the primary race will rely on Internet appeals and telephone calls to make his case to GOP voters.


doug porter June 2, 2010 at 8:29 am

A great piece at Daily Kos about the elections. Money Quote:
The conventional wisdom among the pundits and chattering class is that the political upheaval we’re seeing is either about Democrats or it’s about incumbents. But if you look at the patterns of who’s doing well and who’s not, a different theme emerges: politicians who put corporate interests above populist ones are in deep trouble.

For a long time, the mainstream media has equated corporatism with centrism – as though prioritizing the livelihoods of thousands of Gulf fishermen above BP’s marginal profits is somehow extreme. As though protecting BP (or Goldman Sachs or Aetna) from the consequences of their actions while everyone else pays for them is somehow a “moderate” stance.


Marilyn Steber June 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Thanks, but now for something completely different:
From the Smirking Chimp website, an article by Bill Berkowitz in brief:
The movement, called Better Courts Now, is supporting four San Diego Superior Court candidates that have the backing of “pastors, gun enthusiasts and opponents of abortion and same-sex marriages,” the Associated Press recently reported.
This came out as I was sealing my ballot I have no idea which judges are supported by this group. Boo hoo


annagrace June 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm

“Four incumbent judges face competition from candidates endorsed by the organization [Better Courts Now], founded three years ago by now-deceased Pastor Don Hamer of Zion Christian Fellowship Church in Spring Valley and backed by a network of other pastors and leaders of groups that oppose gay marriage and abortion. Its aim is to unify what it calls the ‘moral vote.'”

Therese are the folks who think it is “moral” to vote against gay rights and women’s reproductive choice: Give ’em a no vote and a raspberry…
Office No 14 Craig Candalore
Office No21 Bill Trask
Office No 27 Harold Coleman
Office no 34 Larry Jake Kinkaid


Frank Gormlie June 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

Okay, here is an experience that in itself is an argument AGAINST mailing yur ballot in early.


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