How many California lawmakers will choose their successors? – Times Herald

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Bulmare “Boomer” Vicente knew his company was far away.

The 26-year-old Democrat, who has no election experience and does not have much recognition of names, he decided against odds to oppose Democratic Assembly member Tom Daly, who has represented Anaheim in the legislature since 2012. Ballots across California are full of Candidates with little chance like Vicente. The state legislature does not.

But for Vicente, the complete improbability of his victory was important. His campaign, he said, was to “change the story” of what it means to be a legitimate political player in his hometown of Santa Ana. The message he hoped to convey: “You don’t really need to follow this conveyor belt.”

Then on March 10, a day before the deadline for candidates, they struck once or twice. Daly first announced he would not seek re-election. The phone exploded in Vicente. Suddenly, politicians across the constituency “looked” at his candidacy, he said.

But hours laterthe second hit hit: Delhi District Director Avellina Valencia, a member of the Anaheim City Council, entered the race with the support of his boss. The new alleged leader has entered the race just out of the “truffle”.

It is not uncommon for past executives to support their potential successors. It is also unusual for them to maintain candidates with whom they have personal and professional ties. The time of Daley’s withdrawal from the race and subsequent approval at the last minute is also a common maneuver – and perfectly legal.

But this year a large harvest of vacancies in both the Assembly and the Senate means that there are an extraordinary number of lawmakers who are leaving and doing their best to bequeath their seats to elected successors. This is a trend that underscores how small and closed the legislature can be.

Such behavior can cross the ethical line when a legislature “denies other candidates a fair attempt … essentially playing into the system,” said John Peliser, a senior fellow at the Markle Center for Applied Ethics at the University of Santa Clara.

Here are a few more examples from this year:

  • Democratic Senator Bob Herzberg has been relieved of his seat in the San Fernando Valley. When he runs for mayor of Los Angeles County, he throws his considerable political weight behind Daniel Herzberg. Communication: this name is not accidental. Two are a father and a son.
  • In late January, Democrat Autumn Burke left the assembly early to get a job at a lobbying firm. The next day she supported Robert Poulenc-Miles for a post in Inglewood. Communication: Poulenc Miles is Burke’s former district director.
  • Democratic MP Jackie Speer announced her resignation last November. A few weeks later, she supported San Mateo Assembly member Kevin Mallin to take her place. Communication: he worked as its district director, and Malin’s father was a close political ally of Speyer.

Unfair maneuvers or raising the most skilled?

Vicente called the last-minute switch in Anaheim’s chair a “political move” to “keep other people” from jumping.

Valencia, Daly’s choice in the race, disagrees. He said his boss told him he would not run for re-election just one day before the news was published, and encouraged him to run. The state law provides for a five-day extension of filing if the incumbent does not run, which has also given a lot of time to other interested candidates, he said.

“If you don’t know the 40 people in your area of ​​the Assembly to collect signatures in a day or two, then you probably shouldn’t run for the Assembly,” he said.

And although he ran with the support of the incumbent president, he said his resume is unlikely to be a typical candidate: the son of Mexican immigrants and the first person in his family to go to college, he said he was first encouraged to apply an application for a job in the legislature of a professor of political science in San Jose. The nine years he spent as a staff member, seven of them from the Daily, prepared him “to truly change the situation and get started”.

Employees often make the bench of potential fresh candidates, although sometimes the relationship between the incumbent and his or her designated replacement is less direct.

Consider Sydney State Senator Kamlagher, who is now running for a seat in Congress that will soon be vacated by fellow Democrat Karen Bass, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles.

Communication? In 2010, Holly Mitchell took Bass’s seat in the state assembly with Bass’s support. When, three years later, Mitchell made the leap from the Assembly to the State Senate, she approved Kamlagher, her former district director, to take her place. Last year, when Mitchell left the Senate to get a seat on the Los Angeles County Supervisory Board, Camlager again took her boss’s seat with her approval.

And who with her blessing took Kamlager’s place in the Assembly? Her former political adviser is Isaac Brian.

Like Daly, Assembly member Mark Stone, a Democrat from Santa Cruz, also waited for the last minute to tell the world that he would step aside at the end of that term. He immediately supported former Santa Cruz County clerk Gail Pelerin.

Stone’s office did not respond to a request for an interview. Pelerin, who planned to run in the 2024 election when Stone is abolished, said she was surprised no less than anyone when he called her at the deadline for candidates to report the news.

“I hope I’m in no hurry to really get to know the area, go out there and meet everyone – it’s just switched to high-speed transmission,” she said.

Pelerin disagreed with the view that Stone’s latest announcement gave her a leg up, giving other potential contenders so little time to start her campaign. “There are no legal requirements for someone to announce before that,” she said. “I just got a call that last day. So I’m not sure it gave me a big advantage. “

California politics: a family affair

Of the many cases of incumbent intervention this election season, only a few have raised so many eyebrows Daniel Herzberg’s application to take a seat in the San Fernando Valley released by the parents. As Speaker of the Assembly and leader of the majority in the Senate, few have proven themselves as well in the legislature and the State Democratic Party as Herzberg Sr.

Since launching his own campaign, Daniel Herzberg, DoubleTree Inn’s business development manager in South Bay, has raised four times more money than three of his opponents combined, with maximum contributions from unions, health groups, tribal governments and other Democratic coffers. legislators. The company has also received some of the state’s most coveted approvals, including members of Congress, 24 current senators, the California Federation of Labor and the California Democratic Party.

State Senator Bob Herzberg and his son Daniel in the Senate Hall during the swearing-in ceremonies in 2014. (Photo: Lori Shelley / California Senate)

This has led some critics to cry about nepotism.

There is an opinion that “he is riding in his father’s cloak,” said Sean Rivas, chairman of the San Fernando Valley Democratic Party. An umbrella organization of democratic clubs across the valley, the organization supported Herzberg’s main rival in the race, Caroline Menjivar.

“The feeling that the race was supposed to be the ‘coronation of the father of the son’ just pushed people away,” Rivas said.

Daniel Herzberg says that while his resume may not be the resume of a typical candidate, it gives him valuable perspective. An exemplary president of the U.S. Senate Club in college, he said that after graduation he put aside his identity as a political botanist when he got a job at a hotel, waited at tables, washed dishes and cleaned toilets. He eventually made his way to developing business leaders for Hilton, but he points to these humble beginnings as a force.

“The experience I bring as a minimum wage worker, as a millennial tenant, I mean, these things are important,” Herzberg said in an interview with CalMatters on Wednesday. “I believe we need to start rethinking what we mean by‘ qualified ’. I think some of the smartest minds in United States politics come out of the minimum wage … I don’t think every politician should have a resume with numbers. “

The world of hospitality has also prepared him well for the election campaign, he said: “If you are taught in the Marriott world to make 100 cold calls and expect mass rejections, the world of political fundraising and politics is not so scary. ”

On a podcast last October Senator Herzberg also foresaw part of the criticism of his son’s company.

“There is an argument against heritage – it’s like, ‘Oh, who do you think you are?'” He said. “But as long as you are humble, kind, a good listener, thoughtful and attached to people, these are the factors that are important.”

He added: “If you are running for office and critics” knock out enemies from you – it takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of courage to make the leap. ”

Family trees are often rooted in the California legislature. Of the 120 current members of the Assembly and Senate, 13 – just over 10% – are related to current or former members by blood or marriage.

This includes Auckland Assembly member Mia Bonta, who won the snap election in 2021 to take the place of her husband Rob after he was appointed by the Attorney General and not against being re-elected this year. The list also includes another Democrat, San Diego Assembly member Aquila Weber, who took the place of his mother Shirley after she named Secretary of Stateas well as Senator Susan Rubio and Assembly member Blanco Rubio, Democrat sisters from the San Gabriel Valley.

Burke, an Inglewood Democrat who backed Pullen Miles because she recently left the legislature, is not on the list. Burke’s mother, Yvonne, was the first black woman to attend the California Assembly. Prior to her election in 2014, Autumn ran a business consulting firm and had no election experience.

But Menhivar said family ties in the San Fernando race are different. “We have examples of people who are related running for office, when employees are running for office, but they have experience, they have qualifications,” she said.

Herzberg advertises his experience of volunteering in Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and internships with Congressman and then-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. He has worked in hotels since 2016 and the last four years at DoubleTree in Carson, about a 40-minute drive south of the district.

“I do not underestimate the experience of my opponent in the field of hospitality or anything like that, neither in form nor in form,” said Menjivar. “But it’s not even in society.”

Veteran Marine Mendjivar spent the height of the pandemic representing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Corsetti’s administration in the Eastern Valley before getting a job at the non-profit MEND anti-poverty organization based in the Room. But, like Herzberg, she has no electoral experience.

It’s, in itself, great in the race to represent about one million people.

“If someone with more election experience and better name recognition … had entered the race earlier, it would probably have mattered,” said Shanna Inglesby, who sits with Rivas on the San Fernando Valley Democratic Party.

But after Herzberg threw his hat on the race last August, no one did.

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