Endorsements, Elephants, and the Election

California voters go to the polls in less than two months for the November 4th General Election.
Brace yourself... here come all those promises, campaign commercials, and political signs on every corner.

Here are a few election observations and stories as the campaigns really start to heat up...and hopefully, our weather starts to cool off in Central California.

Item: In Sacramento, I covered the first and what promises to be... the only Gubernatorial debate between Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari.

The two candidates' rapid-fire responses to panelists' questions kept reporters in the media room on their toes and listening closely for any gaffes from Brown or Kashkari.

Each candidate may have stretched the truth here and there, but no major mistakes.

Kashkari seemed well-prepared and held his own against the most seasoned politician in California.

Governor Brown still leads Kashkari in recent polls by double digits.

Item: At the top of the debate, Kashkari answered a question about his lack of recognition from voters...a question that included Fresno Mayor and State Controller Candidate Ashley Swearengin's statement about not deciding yet *who* she would vote for in the Governor's race.

Kashkari replied that he thought Swearengin would make a terrific Controller and he endorsed the entire GOP ticket.

Swearengin still hasn't committed to either Brown or Kashkari.

Item: Speaking of Swearengin and Kashkari... neither of them has been endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

An endorsement from the Jarvis group is usually sought after by most conservatives running for public office.

According to HJTA Spokesman Kris Vosburgh, Swearengin and Kashkari didn't get the endorsements because they haven't applied for it.

Swearengin's opponent, Betty Yee, also didn't apply.

I asked Vosburgh if Swearengin would get the endorsement if she did apply for it.

He said it wouldn't be an automatic endorsement because Swearengin has a checkered history when it comes to taxpayers.

He wouldn't elaborate.

The HJTA has made no endorsement in the Governor's race.

Item: The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is also recommending a vote against Proposition 1...the $7.5 billion dollar water bond.

Vosburgh said the organization has a history of not endorsing bond measures.

He added the watchdog group understands the need behind the water bond, but the bonds put the State of California too far in debt with a greater percentage of the General Fund obligated to paying off that debt.

Item: Congressman David Valadao will retain his seat in the U.S. House if the results of a recent and exclusive Action News Poll hold true.

The poll conducted by Survey USA shows the Republican leading his Democratic challenger, Amanda Renteria, 56% to 37%.

According to Survey USA, Valadao leads among seniors (2-to-1), men (by 25pts), and women (by 14pts).

Renteria leads in younger voters (2-to-1), but the candidates split the Latino vote: Renteria 47%, Valadao 46%.

Likely voters in the poll favor Valadao to better reflect their views on the water crisis, immigration, and unemployment, and they find him more trustworthy.

Item: The drought is taking a toll on landscaping throughout Central California.

As if the brown lawns weren't enough... now comes election season with political signs springing up like bad weeds.

At least some of that signage can still make us smile: nice to see "Nosey the Elephant" out promoting Measure Z again...and no, that is not an endorsement for the ballot measure.
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