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John Dutra endorses Whitman; Burton scoffs

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 at 10:31 am in 2010 governor's race, Meg Whitman.

Former Assemblyman John Dutra of Fremont is heading up a Democratic and independent voters’ coalition in support of Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, her campaign announced this morning.

John DutraDutra, 75, represented the 20th Assembly District from 1998 through 2004 as a Democrat; he since has re-registered without any party affiliation.

“Meg Whitman is the only proven job creator in this race. While representing the eastern part of the Silicon Valley, I watched Meg take eBay from a start-up with 30 employees to a Fortune 500 company of 15,000. Only she possesses the leadership and management skills to stand up to the status quo in Sacramento and turn our state around,” Dutra said in Whitman’s news release. “As a small businessman, I know she will be the best governor for all Californians, regardless of party registration, who believe our state can again offer a friendly environment in which to do business and a wonderful place for families and communities to thrive.”

Whitman said she’s grateful to have Dutra’s endorsement and is “counting on his leadership to continue our successful outreach to Democratic and decline-to-state voters in the closing days. On the campaign trail, I meet Democrats and independent voters daily who support my vision for creating jobs, making government work for all of us and fixing our schools. Given the Democrats’ registration edge and the growing number of decline-to-state voters in California, I fully recognize that we need the support of these voters to declare victory on November 2.”

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton laughed when he heard the news.

“Good for him,” Burton said. “John’s a nice guy, but if that’s the best she can do, her campaign is in more trouble than I think it is.”

“As I recall he ran third in a Democratic primary,” Burton added, referring to Dutra’s unsuccessful bid for the 10th State Senate District in 2006; he finished behind Ellen Corbett, who went on to win the seat, and former Assemblyman Johan Klehs. “The only people that know John either served with him or are in his district, and in his district he ran third … when he had the most money, so I have no idea what John’s doing or thinking now, but it’s a free country.”

The only other Bay Area leader of Whitman’s Democratic and independent voters coalition is former BART Director Erlene DeMarcus, 62, of Pleasanton; she’s a registered Democrat.

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