Opinion

In Senate race, five is a crowd; 34 is a dog pile

Jack Ohman was struck by Donald Trump’s claim that placing Harriet Tubman on the $20 was political correctness.
Jack Ohman was struck by Donald Trump’s claim that placing Harriet Tubman on the $20 was political correctness.

The Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Board invites you to sign up for our new opinion politics newsletter, The Take, delivered to your inbox five mornings a week.

We start with the race within the U.S. Senate race, the Proposition 30 income tax extension, David Daleiden, and Proposition 8 promoter Andy Pugno’s new race. Plus, our recommendations in the race for Assembly District 4, putting out a welcome mat for presidential candidates, a coal play by Sen. Rand Paul, and more.

Take Five and then some: Five U.S. Senate candidates showed up in Stockton for a Monday night showdown at the University of the Pacific, where there’s an institute named for the late jazz virtuoso Dave Brubeck, an alumnus. Some relevant numbers:

Thirty-four U.S. Senate candidates have placed their names on the June ballot, including seven Democrats, 12 Republicans, and 15 minor party or no-party preference candidates. In other words, there is great opportunity for mischief and voter confusion.

Attorney General Kamala Harris, seeking to place at the top of the heap, amassed $4.9 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter of 2016. Rep. Loretta Sanchez had $2.3 million, including a $300,000 personal loan. Her latest campaign finance report shows she used money she has raised to repay herself $100,000. We’re not sure that reflects a vote of confidence.

Wild cards: The presidential primary will increase turnout, particularly on the Republican side. Duf Sundheim, a former California Republican Party chairman, had $57,222 in the bank, boosted by a $150,000 personal loan. Tom Del Beccaro, another former California GOP chairman, had $77,946, with $74,465 in debt. Republican Ron Unz, responsible for the 1998 initiative restricting bilingual education, has not filed a campaign finance report. Chatter continues about an independent campaign from business and moderate interests.

Take a number: $300,000

Republican attorney Andy Pugno has dumped $300,000 into his Pugno for Assembly committee, including $200,000 last week. Pugno is one of 11 candidates running for the seat left by termed-out Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, including eight Republicans. Pugno was an architect of Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that sought to ban same-sex marriage, and later helped argue to uphold the measure in the courts. He ran for the Assembly in 2010. The Bee did not endorse him then.

Our take

Shawn Hubler: David Daleiden’s abortion war stories don’t include the collateral fallout.

Editorial: Sacramento City Manager John Shirey’s final spending plan is far more pleasant than his first, in the bad old days.

Endorsement: We recommend Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry or Davis Mayor Dan Wolk to replace Bill Dodd in the Assembly district that includes some or all of Yolo, Napa, Lake and Sonoma counties.

Editorial: Public employee unions are pushing for a “temporary” 12-year extension to the extra income tax on rich people. The Bee urges voters to insist on modest reforms.

Their take

The (San Jose) Mercury News’ editorial board offers Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich helpful pointers on campaigning in California, such as “no need to mention the Bible in every other sentence.”

The L.A. Times explains the huge oil industry money backing Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown’s race, and labor and environmentalist money for her opponent, Eloise Gomez Reyes. It’s all about SB 350, the bill that sought to reduce petroleum use by half. Brown balked.

The Kansas City Star editorializes that Kansas again faces a deep deficit brought about by falling tax receipts because of Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to dole out unfair tax breaks. “Brownback is completely oblivious to the harm his 2012 tax cuts have caused for Kansas.”

The Lexington Herald-Ledger notes Sen. Rand Paul, one of the many former Republican presidential candidates, tried to toss a lifeline to coal regions as part of the energy legislation debate. “Paul’s plan better reflects his libertarian philosophy than realities on the ground,” The Herald Ledger says. Jerry Brown would never consider coal as an option, but has his own issues, facing hard questions about cap and trade.

Second take

Bill Whalen, among The Bee’s regular columnists, looks at the final weeks of the presidential primary; we’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Marcos Breton says Darrell Steinberg’s $1.4 million state war chest in the Sacramento mayor’s race is unfair. Rules are rules, and Steinberg is following them.

Paul Krugman on the 8 a.m. call.

And finally ...

We will join colleagues from other California McClatchy papers in Fresno on Tuesday for an endorsement interview with Loretta Sanchez. We’ll tell you all about that later.

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