Capitol Alert

One campaign rides through Death Valley; Democrats endorse props; a debate over debates

Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Meuser kicks off bike tour in Martinez on July 9. He will ride for more than 5,000 miles and visit all 58 counties by Aug. 23. Photo courtesy of Meuser's campaign.
Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Meuser kicks off bike tour in Martinez on July 9. He will ride for more than 5,000 miles and visit all 58 counties by Aug. 23. Photo courtesy of Meuser's campaign.

At this point in the election year, most candidates are calling donors and knocking on doors.

But one candidate is going to extraordinary lengths to get his message to voters, biking 5,000 miles across the state and visiting all 58 counties. And yes, he will inexplicably be going through Death Valley.

While Mark Meuser, the Republican challenging Alex Padilla for secretary of state, trailed substantially in the June primary, he refuses to lose without a fight.

“I’m doing something out of the box. I’m trying something different,” Meuser said. “If I didn’t want to win this election, I could stay at home and Padilla could win it. I’m riding my bike 5,000 miles because I’m going to get my message out there.”

Meuser’s message is simple: He’s worried about election security and the integrity of the vote in future races. He insists the secretary of state’s website is not up to par, needs greater encryption and would benefit from a new leader.

Padilla is looking to safeguard future elections by upgrading county voting systems through $134 million in funds in this year’s budget. The budget also provides $3 million for the creation of the Office of Elections Cybersecurity and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management. Padilla recently told The Bee the funding “couldn’t come quick enough.”

Meuser kicked off his bike tour July 9 in Martinez with more than just the wind at his back. He brought his campaign bus.

Why a bus and a bike?

“The bus is for sleeping,” he said.

DEBATING THE DEBATES

Like many candidates this month, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and Republican challenger Andrew Grant are debating —about their debates.

Grant’s campaign released a statement Monday saying the Republican is challenging Bera to five debates. Grant told The Bee that Bera has “ignored me up until today.” Grant added, “I don’t think he wants to debate. He doesn’t want to have these conversations.”

In response, a spokesman for Bera’s campaign said there will be at least one debate. The spokesman fell short on offering specifics. “Congressman Bera has always participated in debates,” said a statement from Will Van Nuys, Bera’s campaign manager. “We look forward to working out the logistics to do the same this year, and are excited for the exchange of ideas.”

WHAT DID DEMS DO BESIDES SNUB FEINSTEIN?

From Taryn Luna:

The executive board of the California Democratic Party met this weekend in Oakland, where they backed Kevin De Leon over Dianne Feinstein in the U.S. Senate race. But they also took positions on ballot measures and state legislation:

In a news release, the party outlined its full list of endorsements. An overview of the initiatives is available here.

PROPS SUPPORTED: #1, #2, #4, #7, #8, #10, #12

PROPS OPPOSED: #5, #6, #9, #11

NO POSITION: #3

INFLUENCER OF THE DAY

From ‘secure our borders’ to ‘resist Trump’: California Influencers speak out on illegal immigration

“California lawmakers’ top priority on immigration should be to strongly urge their congressional colleagues to pass immigration reform that effectively secures the borders, protects Dreamers, provides a streamlined and effective worker program for both agriculture and technology, and provides a clear, affordable, legal way for undocumented individuals to achieve legal status and ultimately citizenship. The blaming, excuses, and stagnation on both sides needs to stop; it’s way past time for reasonable solutions to move forward.”

— Kristin Olsen, former minority leader in the California Assembly, and Stanislaus County Supervisor

MUST-READ: California Democrats endorse de León for US Senate race, snubbing Feinstein

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