George Boardman: While Dahle and Kiley battle it out, progressives invade north state
Observations from the center stripe: Left out edition
WHERE’S THE love?: The San Francisco Chronicle published a list of 52 California wineries worth visiting. Not one of them is in the foothills … COINCIDENCE? South county residents who get their internet service from SuddenLink have experienced apparently slower response times at a time the cable provider is pitching an upgrade … A BAY Area tech executive who apparently likes to waste money is backing an effort to have the vice president elected independent of the president … THE ANTI-vaxxers are pointing to an old “Brady Bunch” episode where all of the kids got the measles to promote their discredited position …
The special election to pick a successor to former state Senator Ted Gaines is less than a month away, but good luck finding a forum where you can take the measure of the two remaining candidates side-by-side.
The Nevada County League of Women Voters was hoping to host the two candidates, Assemblymen Brian Dahle and Kevin Kiley, at a candidate forum Wednesday, but Dahle declined, saying he had another event scheduled elsewhere in the county that night.
League of Women Voters representatives say they haven’t been able to get Dahle to commit to another date, apparently also an issue elsewhere in the first Senate district the winner will represent. Plumas County and Redding are also trying to pin down dates for him.
Josh Cook, Dahle’s campaign manager, said the candidate is fielding hundreds of requests and plans on attending forums before the election. “Do we intend to go to more of these candidate forums? Absolutely,” Cook told The Union. “We’re trying to go to as many of these as we can.”
Either they are taking their time making up their minds or they prefer to keep Dahle’s appearances a secret because his campaign website lists no events open to the public. Kiley’s website doesn’t list any events either, but he professes to find Dahle’s reticence undemocratic while Cook dismisses Kiley as a candidate looking for an issue.
Each Republican candidate carried his Assembly district in the primary, so the victor on June 4 will be the candidate who can attract votes in the other candidate’s district along with any Democrats who care to express a preference. Dahle tried to attract my vote recently with a flyer touting his work on behalf of Nevada County.
The mailer featured an endorsement from a former president of the Nevada County Professional Firefighters — not the actual organization or the current president. The firefighters are the local affiliate of the International Association of Firefighters, the outfit Donald Trump referred to as a “dues sucking union” after the national leadership endorsed Joe Biden for president. Still, you have to get your endorsements where you can.
Dahle and Kiley are each trying to convince voters he is the most conservative option, and appear to think there are votes to be gained by taking a strong position on illegal immigrants, not a major issue in the district and something a state senator can’t do anything about anyway.
Each claims the other is weak on the issue. Kiley has accused Dahle of supporting amnesty, referring to a vague state Assembly resolution that, in part, calls for a “logical and streamlined path to citizenship for individuals after they gain legal status.” Dahle counters that Kiley supported a bill to “help illegal immigrant convicted criminals stay in the U.S.”
Kiley says Dahle is running for the Senate seat “precisely because he’s been ineffective” in the Assembly. “I hope Brian does some soul-searching and figures out what got him into public service in the first place,” he added.
For his part, Dahle mocks Kiley for “claiming he was a cattle rancher despite the fact he lives in an apartment in Rocklin.” (Kiley does co-own a ranch.) “He has not been honest and I stand by my campaign publishing true things.”
If all of this leaves you disinclined to vote, take solace in the fact the outcome won’t mean much in Sacramento. Kiley and Dahle are fighting for the 10th Republican state Senate seat, a super minority in the state Legislature.
The only people who have a real stake in the outcome of the election are those who want to replace the winner in the state Assembly.
The Sunshine Movement, the same great folks who helped propel Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into the crosshairs of conservatives everywhere, has announced it is backing Audrey Denney’s encore effort to unseat Rep. Doug LaMalfa.
Denney is the first candidate for 2020 endorsed by the organization, described as a youth-led progressive grassroots movement pushing the Green New Deal, a sweeping national plan to zero-out emissions and provide clean energy and infrastructure jobs to millions.
“(Denney’s) spent her whole life working to help farmers and rural communities in the district put food on the table for their families and be part of the environmental solution,” said Varshini Prakash, a co-founder of the organization.
“Rep. LaMalfa’s constituents are dying because of climate change, yet he’s spent his career in Washington cozying up with the same oil and gas lobbyists who profit at the expense of his constituents’ lives.”
Denney and the Sunshine Movement apparently think there are votes to be gained by linking LaMalfa to the wildfires that created so much devastation in the 1st congressional district, one of the most conservative areas in ultra blue California.
“In 2018, 93 lives were lost in the Carr and Camp fires,” Denney said at a Chico event announcing the endorsement. “I’m running for Congress because we need a representative who is only beholden to their constituents, not to corporate interests and political gamesmanship.”
Denney said she will reject contributions from fossil fuel companies and their executives — LaMalfa has received over $260,000 from those sources, according to the Center for Responsible Politics — and will support the New Green Deal if elected to Congress.
Denney was late entering the 2018 race against LaMalfa and had to contend with major surgery in the middle of her campaign. She lost by 9.8 percent of the vote, but carried Nevada and Butte counties.
That’s the closest race LaMalfa has had since he first ran for the seat in 2012 — he won previous elections by an average of 18 percent — and progressives think he is ripe for an upset. But 10 percent is a landslide win in any political dictionary and the Sunshine Movement will have a hard time establishing a progressive beachhead in the North State.
George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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