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Don Rogers: He’s a Dem; wait, no, …

This guy, Steve Baird, must think himself awfully clever. Or maybe he’s just seriously confused.

We wouldn’t know. He hasn’t returned a call since telling the press up and down the giant state Senate District 1 that he’d dropped out of the March 26 special election.

You remember this one: The longtime Republican, a big state of Jefferson advocate no less, decides to run as a Democrat just long enough for the ballots and guides to get printed. Then mischief ensues.

He doesn’t have to tell county elections offices because according to state law, basically once a primary candidate, always a candidate. You can’t withdraw, only declare if elected you will not serve. Or somesuch.

But, of course, you can run on a ridiculous message. You can make a joke of your campaign. Hey, it’s a free country, right? He wouldn’t be the first.

As evidence, Baird’s top 10 campaign initiatives included such beauts as these, found at mykvetch.com/ca-senate/:

Guaranteed minimum universal income of $50,000 for all.

Voting rights for everyone living in California.

“Late-term abortions up to and including the 25th year.”

Tee. Hee. What a prankster!

Other initiatives were Progressive staples such as support for free college and free health care, along with increased government through more state senators and other elected representatives.

There was this weird one for a Democrat: a call to impeach state Supreme Court justices for the temerity to deny a ballot initiative in 2018 proposing to divide California into three states.

And finally vague references to forest management, fire prevention and water storage. Like someone’s against these things?

As a presumably more serious Republican contender for the same seat in 2016, his views might be considered a little more party line: global warming as false science, and the whole secede from the state thing, big especially with Tea Party types.

Republican Ted Gaines dispatched Baird and the Democrat candidate easily in 2016. I’m not sure a Democrat has ever won an election in this northeastern chunk of the state, certainly not going back to 1992.

Baird switched parties in 2017 and then ran, for a time, among six candidates in the special election last month to replace Gaines, who had won election to the state Board of Equalization.

Besides Baird’s goofball platform, there was the almost expected 11th hour flier from some mystery PAC called the Taxfighters for Brian Dahle that touted Dahle as the Republican choice and — hmmm — Baird as the clear choice for Democrats. The flier included his positions concerning free college, free health care, everyone who lives here votes, wink, wink.

Earnest Democrats who knew better naturally were furious, and Dahle expressed confusion about those mysterious PACs acting beyond his control, golly gee, what a shame, darn. This is an old story by now, ever since the highest court in the land ruled that PACs are people too.

The result gave Baird enough votes to knock the real Democrat out of the runoff election in June. Dahle and Kevin Kiley, both Republicans, advance to the runoff election in June.

But Silke Pfleuger of Truckee would have — should have — advanced to the runoff if even half the votes cast for the apparently fake Democrat, Baird, had gone to her.

So I guess it turns out to be a shrewd ploy, cause for Baird to slap himself furiously on his own back and to put a little pep in his step. Way to go. He exposed 10,000 really dumb Democratic voters in the district who didn’t do a lick of homework. Lots of Republican jokes in that one for years to come.

I just wonder about the point of it all. It’s not like state Senate District 1 lies in any danger of going to a Democrat. Absent all this mischief, the GOP still keeps a stronghold since forever. The district has never failed to vote Republican for state senator, governor or president in at least 30 years.

What does Baird, an IT guy with Sacramento County, get out of this besides some puzzlement among Republican partisans and mostly the GOP embarrassed by him? He can’t possibly ever be taken seriously again. Kind of a sad consequence, actually, for someone that caught up.

The guy’s rendered himself a joke among friends, a pariah among his supposed new party, though I doubt he knows enough Democrats to care.

Maybe it’s all about the book. Maybe he thought this might help sales of “MyKvetch: True Confessions of a Democratic Politician.”

Of course, the logical question to that would be: How would he know? Anyway, I’m not buying it, any of it.

Don Rogers is the publisher of The Union, the Sierra Sun in Truckee and the Lake Wildwood Independent. He can be reached at drogers@theunion.com or 530-477-4299.


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