Why Swearengin’s finish in controller’s race is deceptive

Why Swearengin’s finish in controller’s race is deceptive

swearenginThe fact that Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin finished first in the state controller’s primary and that another Republican — David Evans — was running a strong third surprised just about all California GOPers and may lead them to unrealistic confidence about her chances in November.

Evans was a novice, unknown, unimpressive, unfunded candidate. Check out his primitive website. In statewide races Tuesday, GOP candidates usually got about 42-48 percent of the vote. If Swearengin gets 24.4 percent of the vote and Evans gets 21.6 percent — which is where things stood overnight Wednesday — that’s an amazingly negative comment on her. She only gets a little more of the GOP-inclined vote than a total naif.

Hey, California media, when will you notice that state GOPers are treating Swearengin like another Central CA Republican named Abel Maldonado?

This is no surprise. I offer the details here. The key fact driving this GOP distaste is that when it was politically convenient for her, she tried to subvert direct democracy so as to ram through unpopular fee increases. (They were for water utility rates, which are in an arguably different category than most fees, but still …)

This drove many people in Fresno insane. (And even annoyed the liberal Fresno Bee editorial page.)

As one of the many libertarians and conservatives who see direct democracy as our only hope in California, it appalls me — even if I get that water rates are different.

So when John Perez thumps Swearengin 56%-44% in November, I won’t shed a tear.


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  1. John Seiler
    John Seiler 5 June, 2014, 10:48

    And Controller Perez will skew state finances to help his union buddies.

    Reply this comment
  2. Steve Mehlman
    Steve Mehlman 5 June, 2014, 11:53

    “As one of the many libertarians and conservatives who see direct democracy as our only hope in California…”

    In order to succeed in a direct democracy, you need to attract the votes of a majority of the voters. The majority of voters in California (or most any place els , for that matter) are NOT Tea Party and so-called “evangelical” Republicans. So why to people think they can continue to put forth candidates like Tim Donnelly and expect to win?

    Reply this comment
  3. Chris Reed
    Chris Reed Author 5 June, 2014, 16:41

    Steve, California voters have strongly endorsed ballot measures limiting taxes and fee hikes; scrapping bilingual education mandates; imposing tough new crime laws; and other laws that would never come out of Sacramento.

    Because legislative districting is based on population, not voter turnout, we have a Legislature that is much more liberal than the population. Check out the average vote totals for elected Democrats vs. elected Republicans and you’ll see what I’m taking about.

    So, yes, I think direct democracy is the best hope for libertarians and conservatives to effect major change in California, and there’s evidence to back that up.

    (Even though as a libertarian, I can’t stand all the tough-on-crime laws that fill up prisons with non-threatening old people and make sexual offenders more likely to commit new crimes.)

    Reply this comment

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