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Denham may have looked like an easy target. The Republican from Merced County won two close races in a district dominated by Democrats, which runs from Madera to Modesto and West to Monterey County.
Perata called it off, because he says, the recall had angered Republicans he has to work with on getting a state budget passed. In Sacramento, Perata said, "Frankly, conducting a recall when you are supposed to sit down and negotiate with your Republican counterparts seemed to be a luxury we can't afford. The reasons I started it haven't changed but the circumstances have."
Perata blamed Denham for blocking the passage of a state budget last year. But now, Perata says the time for bickering is over. He says this year's budget stalemate is threatening to bankrupt the state. Denham is glad Perata is throwing in the towel, saying, "This certainly is welcome news. This whole recall has been an abuse of power, an abuse of process."
It's a view shared by Political Science Professor Richard Unruh of Fresno Pacific University. He notes recalls are supposed to be for voters who are unhappy with an elected official. Not for political rivals. He says, "It was never intended for one party in the legislature to try to in effect eliminate some of its opposition members from the legislature so it can have its way. That's really what Perata was trying to do."
Unruh believes Perata did the right thing by stopping, but adds, "He should never have inspired it in the first place."
The trouble for Denham is that the recall is still on the June ballot. Despite Perata's claim he's stopping the effort; it will be up to the voters to decide. So Jeff Denham has to keep fighting to keep his job. He says, "I'm gonna continue to campaign. Go door to door. We still have our TV ads. We're going to counter the attacks he continues to push on us."
Perata says no deals were made in exchange for his decision to drop the recall effort. He says his motivation was a warning from the state treasurer who told him unless a budget is passed by July, the state will be out of money.
Do you think the recall effort was a mistake to begin with? Or should Perata have continued the effort? Click here to post your opinion in the ABC30.com Discussion Forum.