Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hertle Mailer: Bill Wong Speaks, CA GOP Responds

After receiving reports about a Michaela Hertle mailer in the East Bays State Senate race, I fired off a question to the Asian-American Small Business PAC Political Director Bill Wong:

What is going on? Why are you promoting a candidate who is not running actively for the seat?

Bill Wong
Bill Wong

Mr. Wong  responded to my email with four points:

1st, I've never been a supporter of Top Two.  Even though I am a Democrat, I don't think top two elections allow voters to have a discussion about the issues in the manner that multipartisan elections provides.

Well, even Democrats are no longer sold on the Top-Two Jungle Primary instituted by Prop 14. At least Wong was honest enough to come forward and acknowledge his affiliation as well as his frustration with the 2011 electoral "reforms" which aren't.

Still, why is a Democratic operative and his PAC helping out a Republican candidate?
2nd, Hertle's name is still on the ballot and she is electable.  She said she didn't think she had the funds to be successful...you should ask her if she'd decline the seat if she won...there are still more Republicans and Independents combined in this seat than there are Democrats...in a low turnout special election like this, a Republican can make it.
A Democrat admits what I had believed from the outset: a Republican is electable in SD-7. Once again, my frustration with former candidate Meuser knows no bounds. It is a sad commentary that Democrats have more faith in Republican chances than some Republican partisans in the region. Note that I write "some" for there are many like me who were gung-ho supporters of one or two Republicans contesting the special election, even engendering another Miller Effect of GOP v. GOP in the general election run-off.

3rd, there are over 40,000 Asian Pacific Islander voters in this district.  The Asian American Small Business PAC is trying to make API voters relevant in political discussions...ICYMI, most press coverage talks about politics in white, black and brown terms.  Our effort in this district forces candidates to spend more time on API voters...and brings API voters/politics into the forefront...would you have written a story about the Asian American Small Business PAC otherwise?  If not for this effort, would Glazer have otherwise trotted out his embarrassingly anemic support from APIs in defense of his candidacy?
Republicans have been noticing, and they have been reaching out and respecting the Asian vote, while Democratic partisans have pandering to unions are their expense. Shawn Steel worked closed with his wife Michelle, who was elected to the OC Board of Supervisors. Ling Ling Chang and Young Kim have also joined the state Assembly as Republicans.
There would be an Asian-American Republican governor in Rhode Island, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, if not for a perennial third-party spoiler who had no chance of winning, yet stole votes away from conservative leaning, anti-Big Government politicos in the state. In 2014, Republicans nationwide won 50% of the Asian vote. Earlier last year, Sacramento lawmakers' attempting to reintroduce racial discrimination into college education with SB 5 last year, and Asian threats to break away from the Democratic Party, Asian-American voters are starting to realize that the Democratic Party simply does not have their best interests at heart anymore.
George Yang
George Yang, a Menlo Park Republican who did remarkably well in the Bay Area during his primary run for Lieutenant Governor, issued the following statement:
Asian American Small Business PAC abandons the Democratic Party in California. Asian American Small Business PAC, based in Sacramento, has just come out in support of the lone Republican in the Race for State Senate District 7 over 3 other Democratic contenders, including a sitting Assemblymember. AASBPAC had previously only supported Democratic candidates for Office. In their mail supporting Ms. Hertle, AASBPAC blame the Democratic Party for the Gridlock in Sacramento and fault them for being too close to special interest groups.

The Democratic Party thought that the SD-7 special election was going to be a walk in Candlestick Park. That certainty has turned into an impossibility, and with three weeks to go, and more confusion and distortion abounding, plus this deceptive  mailer, Democratic elements in the East Bay may find this election a pyrrhic victory at best, or another embarrassing defeat at worst.
Sue Caro
Sue Caro, former Alameda County Party chairman tweeted the following to me about this mailer and the race:
Sue Caro@SueCaro1 14 hours ago
- Arthur this union backed front group opposes Glazer
So, unions are infusing millions into a small PAC to drive away conservative-leaning votes from Glazer? A local partisan also informed me that this special election will bring out only high-information voters who are well-aware of the dynamics at play in this district. Independents are still a large, gray section of SD-7, but more likely than not they will not vote at all.
This race has become anyone's fight at this point, and I still have lingering hopes, despite my lack of intimate knowledge of the district, that Ms. Hertle may find herself in a Top-Two run-off despite her decision not to run.
Democrat Bill Wong then shared with me one more point in his email:

 4th, AASB PAC has supported Republicans in the past...Alan Nakanishi, Michelle Park Steel, Young Kim, Janet Nguyen, and Ling Ling Chang.  One of my board members served as deputy mayor to Richard Riordon - a Republican.
Is this true? I have found no information to confirm this allegation at all. California Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel, who worked closely with Asian-American candidates in Southern California, had heard no information about this PAC helping Republican candidates in the past. Steel confirms that the AASBPAC is very likely a front group, with no legitimacy.
California Republican Party Vice Chairman Harmeet Dhillon is asking for information about the Hertle Mailer, including copies of the piece, since the AASBPAC is using the Republican Elephant logo without permission.
Whatever is going on, Democratic operatives are lingering in the background, and the explanations from local partisans as well as state party leaders indicate that a one-party Democratic party machine is falling apart under its own chicanery.


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