Another of Don Perata’s legacies

I know this’ll seem like piling on in light of the story I had in today’s editions, but I seem to recall blogging here several times before that Don Perata’s aborted attempt to recall state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, would go down in history as having accomplished nothing save lining his Perata’s favorite political consultants’ pockets and giving Denham more street cred with California conservatives should he ever run for statewide office.

And, look here: Denham today officially announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor. From his news release:

denham.JPG“The status quo has failed. In order for California to be economically competitive in the 21st Century, and for our state government to operate efficiently and effectively, change is not an option, it is a requirement.

“As a Senator, I’ve fought to make key changes to the budget process so we can limit future budget stalemates. I’ve been a strong supporter of our schools and a staunch defender of funding for K-12 and higher education. I’ve consistently opposed tax increases as burdensome to California’s businesses and unfair to taxpayers when there is still so much wasteful spending by state government. And I’ve always sided with law enforcement and crime victims over criminal offenders.

“My priorities, my experience and my record are a perfect fit for the responsibilities of the Lt. Governor’s office.”

Ah, but wait for it… Scroll down to the release’s “background” section and you find:

In 2008, then-Senate President Pro-Tem Don Perata organized and funded a recall campaign against Denham for opposing passage of the unbalanced state budget. Denham won a stunning 76% of the vote and statewide attention for both his principled leadership against state deficit spending and his defeat of the Legislature’s most powerful member.

Now, Denham might well have run for lieutenant governor in 2010 no matter what — he seems like an ambitious guy. But Don Perata’s ill-conceived recall gave him statewide name recognition of the best kind: The David-who-defeated-Goliath kind, the martyr-who-lived-to-tell-the-tale kind, the kind that sometimes tips the scales in contested primaries.

Don Perata might’ve wanted to oust Denham, but he might end up being the best thing that ever happened to Denham’s political career.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Rewgolfer

    Perata got hooked on Sacramento special interest money, and this was his undoing. Over a period of time this money became like his personal piggy bank, he used this special interest money to hire his kids, his friends, and to live high on the hog like Rich yuppie. His final act as he termed out? He’s shifted 1.5 million of this special interest money into his legal defense fund. I think the fact that Perata has to have a a legal defense fund just says it all about him. While Perata is termed oout and looking for a new office to run for, he should take a class in ethics.

  • Personal gain for Perata

    Perata doesn’t care. The recall campaign was a way to funnel money to close associates who in turn take care of Don and family. And this sleaze contemplates a run of mayor of Oakland.

  • smoker

    With GOP registration running at a historic low of 31%, I don’t think that Republican candidates from rural districts who’s major achievement is not being recalled will generate much buzz.

    For Denham to get elected to statewide office, he ought to 1)star in a few blockbuster movies or 2)run a high tech company, make hundreds of millions and spend a bunch of it getting elected.

    Otherwise, he’s wasting alot of time on his vanity.