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‘Recovering non-voter’ enters SOS race

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 at 2:33 pm in 2010 election.

Damon Dunn

Damon Dunn

Former NFL player and Stanford football star Damon Dunn cast his first vote ever in May.

But in the world of politics, where up is down and down is up, the wealthy, 33-year-old Irvine businessman says his status as a recovering non-voter makes him uniquely qualified to serve as the head of California’s election system.

He officially entered the 2010 Republican primary race today for California Secretary of State.

“There is no excuse; there is no justification,” he told me this afternoon via telephone. “But I have an explanation.”

Dunn was born in Texas to a 16-year-old teen-aged mother who handed him over to two sets of grandparents to raise. His father died when he was 3 years old. He grew up dirt poor. And his family never voted, a trait he emulated throughout his adult life.

“I am uniquely qualified to reach non-voters, particularly in the demographic of people who don’t vote,” said Dunn, an owner of an Irvine-based real estate firm. “I can empathize with them. They feel their votes don’t count. When was the last time (incumbent Secretary of State Debra) Bowen was in Watts or South Los Angeles or any inner-city community?”

Dunn is tackling his voting record at the same time two other major Republican candidates, Meg Whitman and Carla Fiorina, running for governor and U.S. senate respectively, are trying to combat their spotty appearances at the polls.

But it’s a big leap from casting a vote to winning statewide office. He will need money and lots of it. Despite his personal wealth, Dunn ruled out a self-financed campaign and says he is approaching donors up and down the state.

Dunn, an articulate speaker and licensed Baptist minister, says he will use the Secretary of State’s pulpit as a place to advocate for job-friendly state policies. In addition to elections and state archives, the SOS oversees the registration of all businesses in California.

“The Secretary of State can go to the industries who are leaving this state, talk to the CEOs and find out which tax policies  or regulations forced them out, then go back to the Legislature,” Dunn said.

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  • http://deleted Concordian

    Can’t the Republicans find someone who actually voted a few times?
    I know that their candidates have trouble finding voters also, but come on folks this is getting a little silly here.

  • Eric Morham

    I would n’t trust this guy as far I could through hi,
    Like Meg, he is looking for the next mountain to conquer to satisfy an inflated,bloated, self-centered ego.

  • Unknown

    As far as I can see Damon has been blessed to go through two amazing life changing situations in his life. He has seen both the life of a poverished young adult with no hope and has worked hard and turned himself into someone people can look up to and admire. We need more people like him in the Senate! Personally I am sick of these people who have had everything handed to them since day one, who never had to work hard and struggle before finding themselves. I think he has more wisdom and knowledge than most out there. And I believe he will conquer that next mountain because of his hard work and dedication and the hardships he has faced in life. He is admitting to having had made poor decisions in the past (not voting) but not due to lack of effort…. but because of lack of hope and lack of someone telling him he had a chance to make a difference. Open your eyes people! Damon Dunn a living example so many things! Good Luck to him! I will be cheering him on!

  • JC

    Let’s face it – if he didn’t have a lot of money and connections, the people managing his campaign wouldn’t have plucked him out of obscurity to run for an office he knows nothing about. There are a lot of people with great stories like Dunn’s. Difference is, they aren’t millionaires who can afford to pay campaign consultants monthly retainers to help them lose elections. Dunn would be better off buying gold coins from G. Gordon Liddy than wasting his money on this campaign. And he WILL waste his money – or his friends’ money.

  • Arne Simonsen

    I’d like to invite the folks who offer their talented critiques to apply their wisdom in a positive direction. Use your savvy and insight to offer good ideas. What should the next SOS do, whoever runs or wins.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    He should buy into the Raiders. If he can make them winners, he’s got a shot at governor.

  • Marlene

    Damon has proven he is more than capable through his business experience. He is a man with integrity and we need more men like him to be our leader. With regards to him not voting, my husband did not vote until he was 40 years old. He did not think his vote would make a difference, yet he was passionate about what was wrong with the government. I was able to convince him that every vote counts. Now as for Damon, he is smart for being open, honest, and now voting. He is making a difference by running for office.

  • Leslie

    KGO had Damon Dunn on the other day. I was very impressed with his articulate intelligence; he did not come across as a smooth talker. I will be watching his progress. Go Damon