By Scott Lay, Publisher of the Nooner, a California Political Newsletter
RECALL: On Friday, I wrote about the effort of gun rights supporters to recall a sampling of legislators who voted for legislation regulating access to guns and ammunition. I further wrote that the proponents erred in selecting five Democrat legislators who are all Latino, providing ample, uh, ammunition, against the effort. None of the targets were authors of the bills cited as the most infringing.
Three of the five were elected in low-turnout special elections this year, meaning the quantity of signatures necessary to qualify a recall are far lower than for legislators elected in the November 2012 election. The fourth, Sharon Quirk-Silva, is the number two target of Republicans next year, and the fifth is Speaker John Perez, who proponents said they were targeting just to annoy him. I don’t believe the impetus of the recall efforts was racist, although if I am a Republican strategist, I would go out of my way to appear not racist. After all, Darrell Steinberg carried the most sweeping of the gun bills, but is not a target.
Let’s talk about the money. There are no contribution limits for either the proponents of the recall nor the officeholder who is subject of a recall effort. However, candidates running to replace the officeholder, if recalled, are subject to the $4,100 limit applicable to Senate and Assembly races between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014
. As with all state races, there are no limits to the amounts political parties may contribute to candidates.
Here’s what makes this interesting. The “freedom from limits” to those subject to recall applies during both the qualification and, if qualified, the actual recall election. Thus, as soon as Sharon Quirk-Silva receives the formal notice of intent to recall, she may accept unlimited funds from those interested in keeping her in office.
While ABC union would be limited to giving her $8,200 next year ($4,100 each for top-two primary and general), the same union can give her $1 million this year. And, Quirk-Silva could spend all of that money up until the recall petitition fails to qualify or, if it does, until the recall election date. At that point, any amount left up to $8,200 can be transferred to the campaign for next year (even if the recall was successful).
Going into next year, Democrats have 55 seats, one above the two-thirds majority. To keep two thirds, they need to hold one of two vulnerable (AD65 or AD36), or pick up one of the challenging but possible Lean Republicans–AD40, AD44 or AD60.
Lorena Gonzalez will not be recalled in AD80. Remember, no Republican even ran in the special earlier this year.
If I was a strategist that cared most about taking away the Democrats’ two-thirds majority, the last thing I would want to do is buoy Sharon Quirk-Silva this year and load her guns for next year any earlier. After all the hard work and success in his short term as CAGOP chair, Jim Brulte can not be a happy camper about this strategy.