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Octogenarian Senate candidate scales mountain

Ain’t no mountain high enough for this 83-year-old U.S. Senate candidate and ex-Marine.

True to his promise, Republican candidate Don Krampe of Murrieta last week scaled Mount Whitney — the lower 48′s highest summit — to call attention to his campaign. Mount Whitney rises 14,505 feet; the campsite from which he made his ascent last Wednesday, May 23, is at about 10,000 feet. He returned from the 22-mile hike last Friday, May 25.

It’s safe to say that none of the other 22 candidates challenging U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in next week’s primary went to such great lengths – um, heights.

“We are running a grassroots campaign with a very small budget, this was the best way I could think of to get publicity for our campaign,” said Krampe. “The people in Washington are irresponsible with the taxpayers’ money and are in the pockets of lobbyists. When I get there, I will not sell out to special interest groups. My plan is to spend just one term in office and then come back home.”

Krampe said his priorities are balancing the budget, removing burdens on small businesses and securing the border.

And he said that although he’s in fine shape, the hike would’ve been more fun at age 40 or 50. Only Krampe and one other Senate candidate — Atherton Republican Greg Conlon, 79 — are older than Feinstein, 78.

Posted on Friday, June 1st, 2012
Under: 2012 U.S. Senate election, Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate | 4 Comments »

Ex-Marine to climb Mt. Whitney for Senate bid

Some have likened waging a campaign against U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein to scaling a mountain, but one of her 23 challengers this year has chosen to take that literally.

Donald KrampeDonald Krampe, a Republican from Murrieta, plans to climb Mt. Whitney – the lower 48’s highest summit – next week in order to call attention to his campaign.

And that’s no small feat for most people, much less for an 83-year-old like Krampe.

“The climb is on – I’m leaving here on the 22nd for Lone Pine and will start the climb on the 23rd,” Krampe said Friday, noting he’ll bear a banner noting his campaign website, the mountain’s elevation, and the slogan, “Don Krampe tops summit and stomps D. Feinstein’s TV blitz.”

“I’m just doing what I was taught in the Marine Corps,” said the veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars – thinking outside the box when faced with daunting odds. “I needed to do something to get some kind of name recognition because I don’t have the kind of money to throw into TV ads.”

For the sake of Bay Area voters – of whom he used to be one, while working for the Mt. Diablo YMCA and later for the U.S. Treasury in San Francisco – Krampe notes that Mt. Diablo rises 3,864 feet above sea level while Mt. Whitney’s latest measure is 14,505 feet. (However, the campsite from which he’ll make his ascent is at about 10,000 feet.)

Other numbers to consider: Only Krampe and one other Senate candidate are older than Feinstein, 78; the other is Atherton Republican Greg Conlon, 79.

“I have to tell you that’s one of the cleverest things I’ve ever seen,” admitted Bill Carrick, Feinstein’s campaign consultant. “If he’s in good enough shape to do it, that’s fabulous.”

Mt. Whitney“Having done Mt. Whitney myself, I know it’s gorgeous, beautiful and very tough, particularly when you get up at the higher elevations, it’s very steep. I hope he has a good group of people going with him and they’re well-prepared.”

Krampe offered assurances that he’s in good shape and has had a pre-emptive medical checkup: “Everything is A-OK.”

Krampe said he’s running for the Senate because most people he talks to are fed up with Washington’s acrimony and special interests, and Feinstein isn’t doing enough to create jobs and grow the economy.

His website says he would seek federal funding for improvements to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach so they can process more freight, and develop a plan for local governments to host job fairs. He wants to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, and reallocate money from the war to domestic priorities such as highways, education and enforcement of laws against illegal immigration; on the latter issue, he says he favors a path to citizenship for those already here but opposes giving college grants to children of illegal immigrants.

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2012
Under: 2012 U.S. Senate election, Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate | 3 Comments »

Git up off yer duff and register to vote

This Monday, May 21, is the last day to register to vote in the June 5 primary election.

To be eligible to register, a person must be a U.S. Citizen; at least 18 years old on Election Day; not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction; and not deemed by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and to vote. Also, registered voters must re-register whenever they have moved to a new address, changed their name, or want to change political party affiliation.

Voter registration cards are available at county elections offices (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz); U.S. Post Offices; and the Department of Motor Vehicles, or online from the Secretary of State’s office. They must be signed and submitted in person or by mail; a mailed registration card postmarked Monday will satisfy the deadline.

There is one exception to the deadline: Under new state law, people who obtain their U.S. citizenship after today can register and vote right up until the polls close on June 5.

Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 presidential election, 2012 primary election, 2012 State Senate election, 2012 U.S. Senate election, voter registration | 1 Comment »

FEC nixes DiFi’s post-embezzlement pitch

The Federal Election Commission ruled yesterday that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose campaign lost millions to embezzlement by treasurer Kinde Durkee, can try to go back and collect new contributions from donors whose checks were never cashed.

Dianne FeinsteinBut the FEC ruled Feinstein, D-Calif., can’t take new contributions from donors whose money Durkee pocketed. Overall, Feinstein campaign consultant Bill Carrick said today, that leaves the senator with almost no recourse.

First California Bank hasn’t released records from the Durkee-managed accounts, he said, so the campaign has no “capacity to figure out right now what money was deposited and what money wasn’t deposited.” Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood; Loretta Sanchez, D-Anaheim; and Susan Davis, D-San Diego – also Durkee clients – are in the same boat, Carrick said.

“It’s disappointing, definitely,” Carrick said. “People intended their money to be used for the Feinstein senate campaign, they did not intend for it to be embezzled by Kinde Durkee.”

Durkee pleaded guilty in March to mail fraud, but is unlikely to be able to make full restitution to Feinstein and the other pols she bilked. Feinstein lent her campaign $5 million in the embezzlement’s wake, and although she has 23 challengers in next month’s primary election, none have held a candle to her in the polls – though the scandal has provided some rhetorical fodder.

Elizabeth Emken“Once again, the FEC has refused to allow Dianne Feinstein a free pass. Her refusal to accept any responsibility for the gross mismanagement that resulted in the embezzlement of millions of dollars in campaign donations shows an appalling lack of accountability to the people of California,” Elizabeth Emken of Danville, the state GOP’s endorsed candidate, said in a statement issued this morning. “It’s yet another reason why the average voter feels that Washington elites like Dianne Feinstein are out of touch, and a recent poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans would vote to completely replace Congress. Incumbents like Senator Feinstein are being put on notice in 2012—the voters are saying it’s time to go.”

“That shows an appalling lack of judgment in trying to describe the situation,” Carrick responded. “I guess she doesn’t think anyone was victimized by someone who embezzled in the neighborhood of $10 million… It’s a pretty reckless statement.”

But not all Republican candidates share Emken’s view. Oceanside businessman Dan Hughes said today that although it might hurt his own candidacy, “I believe that the people/contributors whose funds were stolen before Senator Feinstein spent them should be able to re-contribute.

Dan Hughes“As much as I disagree with Senator Feinstein on policy, in this case she was the victim of a crime and she should not be made to suffer twice,” Hughes said. “Should she have had better controls in place? Absolutely yes, and the voters can decide if she is responsible enough to continue on as their senator.”

Meanwhile, Hughes and other candidates face an uphill battle getting support and exposure for their campaigns. Hughes yesterday shopped around a story that he “got Darrell Issa‘s support over the weekend;” today he sent a statement from Issa, R-Vista, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, calling Hughes “a leader in business and in our community who has my highest respect.”

But that “support” isn’t wholehearted, it seems. Asked whether Issa’s words amounted to an endorsement or just a “statement of respect,” John Franklin – Issa’s political director – replied today that it’s the latter.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita; Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River; and Rep. John Campbell, R-Irvine, have endorsed Emken.

And then there’s candidate Orly Taitz, the Republican dentist/lawyer from Laguna Niguel who has helped lead the fight to question President Obama’s citizenship. She released this video recently:

Is that suit of armor the “demon sheep” of 2012? And if so, is that a sad commentary on this year’s race? You be the judge.

Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Under: 2012 U.S. Senate election, Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

County GOP chair blasts ‘surfing rabbi’s’ tirade

The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles and Progressive Christians Uniting want Republican Party leaders to repudiate a candidate who at a Bay Area gathering this month proudly proclaimed, “I am an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9/11.”

That’s Rabbi Nachum Shifren – the “surfing rabbi” from Santa Monica who’s among the 23 candidates challenging U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the upcoming primary election – speaking at a May 3 candidates’ forum cosponsored by the San Mateo County Republican Party and the MyLiberty Tea Party group.

“There should be no place for hate speech of any kind in our nation’s political discourse. Whenever one faith or ethnicity is targeted by hate, it is our duty as Americans to challenge that hatred and to instead promote mutual understanding and tolerance,” the Muslim, Christian and Jewish organizations said in a joint statement issued Monday. “We urge GOP leaders in California and nationwide to repudiate this candidate’s hate speech and to encourage greater respect for diversity within party ranks.”

San Mateo County Republican Party Chairman Chuck McDougald agreed Tuesday.

“That’s absurd, it’s ridiculous – the guy is way out of line and he does not represent the mainstream Republican Party,” said McDougald, who said he didn’t attend the May 3 forum because he was out of town. “Anyone who espouses hatred, we don’t have room for them in our party.”

McDougald said all 24 Senate candidates including Feinstein were invited to the event, but only a handful attended, including Shifren.

I’ve emailed and left a voice mail for MyLiberty’s director, but haven’t heard back from him yet.

UPDATE @ 3:07 P.M.: “I will tell you categorically I do not agree with his statement – as an individual I don’t think that’s an appropriate perspective to have,” MyLiberty director Leonard Stone said this afternoon.

In fact, he said, he’d sort of tuned Shifren out after the rabbi told another candidate his military service didn’t really count because he’d flown airplanes and never was in harm’s way on the ground.

“We had a variety of candidates and I would not suggest I agree with all those candidates by any stretch of the imagination, but every one of those candidates got polite applause at the end of their presentation,” Stone said. “We wanted them to say what they had to say, to let the public who came to the meeting see them in the way they wanted to portray themselves. … It really wasn’t a night for making judgments.”

“Speech can get messy, and people who say things have to live with it,” he said. “Everybody should speak their mind and let the chips fall where they fall.”

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Under: 2012 U.S. Senate election, Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Feinstein whups competitors in fundraising

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein outraised her next-closest electoral competitor 18-to-1 in 2012′s first quarter, displaying substantial fundraising muscle in the wake of an embezzlement scandal that had depleted her coffers.

Meanwhile, Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken of Danville loaned her own campaign $200,000 – something a spokesman in November had said she wouldn’t do.

Dianne FeinsteinFeinstein, D-Calif., rasied $1,128,573.48 and spent $447,458.03 in the first quarter, and had $7,279,096.15 cash on hand with $5,289,997.89 in outstanding debts as of March 31. Of that debt, $5 million is what she personally loaned her campaign last year as the extent of former treasurer Kindee Durkee’s embezzlement became clear.

Emken raised $61,482.01, loaned her campaign $200,000 and spent $42,920.08 in the first quarter of 2012, and had $252,003.57 cash on hand as of March 31 with outstanding debts of $317,911.77 (including her loan). Emken rolled out a finance committee roster in January, was endorsed by the California Republican Party in March, and several weeks ago made a fundraising trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Also, the separate Emken 2012 Victory Committee received its only contribution – $10,000 – on March 31, the last day of the quarter, from Charles Munger Jr., the Palo Alto physicist who bankrolled California’s recent redistricting reforms and is son of billionaire Warren Buffett’s investment partner.

Another Republican candidate, Dan Hughes of Oceanside, raised $39,164.15 and spent $123,619.62 in the first quarter, and had $16,212.64 cash on hand with $50,000 in outstanding debt – a loan he made to the campaign late last year – as of March 31.

(UPDATE @ 2 P.M. WEDNESDAY: Hughes this morning told me he’ll contribute another $150,000 to his own campaign to match Emken. “I will not be bullied out of this race as she is not the right candidate to represent us,” he said.)

Another 21 candidates are in the race, but none of them have showed significant fundraising activity.

Elizabeth EmkenEmken, 49, took a loss the last time she loaned money to one of her campaigns. She ran in the June 2010 GOP primary for what was then the 11th Congressional District seat, finishing fourth in a field of four; the nominee was David Harmer, who then lost the general election to incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton. Campaign finance reports showed Emken had loaned her primary campaign $300,000 – 54 percent of her campaign’s $556,000 in total receipts – but only ever got back $100,000 of that. Another $408,000 went to operating expenses, and the final $48,000 – which had been contributed for use in the general election – was refunded to those who gave it. That campaign committee shut down in September 2010.

“Elizabeth is not planning to self-finance this campaign. We’re focused on building a broad foundation of support,” Tim Clark, Emken’s then-spokesman, said in late November, adding that Emken has “tremendous appeal among California voters” and that he had “no doubt that Elizabeth will have the resources necessary to get her message out.”

Mark Standriff, Emken’s current campaign spokesman, said Tuesday that “things have changed significantly.”

“Elizabeth has become the endorsed party candidate and the standard bearer for fiscal conservatives in California, and there’s tremendous energy and excitement for her,” he said, noting she has more fundraising events scheduled in the next few weeks. “There’s going to be an ongoing aggressive effort to fundraise from now until Nov. 6.”

He said Emken’s loan to her campaign was a means of maintaining the momentum she’s been building. “I’d rather be Elizabeth Emken explaining how she turned pennies into millions than be Dianne Feinstein and have to explain how she turned millions into pennies,” he said, an apparent reference to the Durkee embezzlement scandal.

Standriff said the Emken 2012 Victory Committee to which Munger contributed is a joint effort with the California Republican Party.

“As soon as Elizabeth became the official party-endorsed ‘de facto nominee,’ we went to the party and worked out this joint fundraising agreement so they can go out and raise federal money for the campaign through the party,” he said. “We appreciate everybody’s support from large donors all the way down to volunteers who are giving their time and energy to the campaign.”

This June will be California’s first U.S. Senate subject to the “top-two” primary system, in which voters of all parties can choose from among candidates of all parties, with the top two vote-getters – regardless of what party they belong to – advancing to November’s general election.

Feinstein, 78, had a personal net worth of up to $93.7 million in 2010, making her the 7th-richest member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Under: 2012 U.S. Senate election, campaign finance, Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate | 3 Comments »

Judge poised to nix attack on ‘top-two’ primary

California can proceed with its new “top-two” primary system, an East Bay judge tentatively ruled today, sustaining the state’s objection to a lawsuit filed by a group of minor parties and their voters.

In his tentative ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Appel said the arguments made in the lawsuit filed last fall are the same ones that failed to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court that Washington’s version of the law should be overturned.

A hearing on the tentative ruling is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Oakland.

The lawsuit, filed in November on behalf of the Green Party of Alameda County, the Libertarian Party of California, the Peace and Freedom Party of California and eight minor-party voters, argues Prop. 14 “effectively denies voters their fundamental right of choice by precluding small party candidates from the general election ballot,” thus violating the First and 14th amendments.

The general election is “the moment when the highest number of voters are engaged in the electoral process,” the suit says, and so the new law severely burdens voters’, candidates’ and parties’ rights without any compelling or even significant state interest.

But Appel wrote Monday that unless the plaintiffs can amend their complaint in the next few weeks to present new arguments, the system will stand.

Appel said the first part of the lawsuit seems to be a “facial challenge” to Prop. 14 – challenging the general framework – rather than an “as applied” challenge that questions some manner in which the new law is being implemented in a discriminatory or unreasonable way.

But the 9th Circuit earlier this year “considered and rejected the same broad challenge” that the plaintiffs are making in this case, the judge wrote. “Among other things, the Court held that ‘because [the law] gives major- and minor-party candidates equal access to the primary and general election ballots, it does not give the “established parties a decided advantage over any new parties struggling for existence.”’”

Arguing that participation in the general election isn’t equivalent to participation in the primary election; that general-election ballot access is essential for minor parties seeking to qualify in future elections; and that California doesn’t have sufficient regulatory interests to impose this new system “are legal assertions that are inconsistent” with the 9th Circuit’s ruling in the Washington case, Appel wrote.

And Appel wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 held that a statute like Washington’s – and now, like Prop. 14 – that allows an open primary in which candidates identify themselves on the ballot by a self-designated party preference doesn’t unconstitutionally interfere with a political party’s rights of association or speech.

Michael Siegel, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said Monday he’s disappointed that Appel deferred to a 9th Circuit ruling that the plaintiffs have argued was in error. “Big picture, this is something that needs to get sorted out at a higher level, either at the California Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court,” Siegel said.

Siegel acknowledged that even if he were to convince Appel at tomorrow’s hearing to completely reverse this tentative ruling, “nothing could be done in terms of the June election, but something could be done for November” – that is, if the court struck down the top-two system, it could let minor parties hold conventions this summer or fall to nominate candidates for addition to the general-election ballot.

But given Appel’s tentative ruling, Siegel said, “practically speaking, what’s really at stake now is 2014.”

UPDATE @ 4:06 P.M. TUESDAY: Appel heard arguments on his tentative ruling this morning and took the case under submission; he’ll probably file a permanent order – most likely along the lines of his tentative ruling – in the next few days. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 10.

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 primary election, 2012 State Senate election, 2012 U.S. Senate election | 14 Comments »

State GOP endorses Emken for U.S. Senate

The California Republican Party today endorsed Elizabeth Emken of Danville over several other GOP contenders to unseat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Elizabeth Emken“This was a humbling experience and a tremendous honor to receive the unanimous support of the board,” she said Monday. “I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead, as well as working in partnership with the CRP as we head toward victory together.”

As many as half a dozen other Republicans are in the race against Feinstein, including Oceanside businessman Dan Hughes and Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez.

Chris Mann, Ramirez’ campaign manager, said his camp is “disappointed that the Board of the California Republican Party voted to support a candidate we believe cannot be successful against Feinstein. Fortunately this race will be decided by the voters, not the GOP establishment.” He said Ramirez is best-positioned to appeal to Latinos and independents, which will be crucial blocs in order to beat Feinstein.

The party in the past hasn’t made primary election endorsements, but state’s new “top-two” primary system necessitated a change. In this system, all voters choose from among all candidates regardless of party, and the top two vote getters advance to November’s general election – even if they’re of the same party.

State GOP leaders met yesterday in Burbank to consider how county committees had judged races all over the state, and then voted on decisions of their own. A list of endorsements in races all over the state was released Monday morning.

“As the Party prepares to be a vigorous contender in California’s first top two primary, we seek to promote the most competitive candidates in the field this primary season,” state GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said in a news release. “As Chairman, I am very pleased with the level of thoughtful participation from around the state. It was an encouraging prelude to an invigorated Party getting ready for this important election year.”

Absent from the endorsement list was the 3rd Congressional District, where three Republicans are vying to unseat Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann has been named a “Young Gun” by the National Republican Congressional Committee, but neither she nor either of the other two Republicans in that race – Eugene Ray and Rick Tubbs – got a nod today from the state party.

Ricky Gill, another NRCC “Young Gun” in Northern California, did get the state party’s endorsement in his bid to unseat Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, in the 9th Congressional District; Republican John McDonald also is in that race.

Gill said Monday he’s “proud to have earned the endorsement of the California Republican Party and of all three county parties in the 9th Congressional District. I also know, however, that our task is just beginning, and I’ll keep working hard to ensure our Valley and Delta communities send a truly local voice to Congress in 2012.”

The party also made no endorsements in the 18th Assembly District, where Republican Rhonda Weber is running, or in the 20th District, where Republican Luis Reynoso is running. However, Mike Hudson did get the state party’s endorsement in the 11th Assembly District, and Al Philips got it in the 16th Assembly District.

Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 State Senate election, 2012 U.S. Senate election, Dianne Feinstein, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Republican Party, Republican politics, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 2 Comments »

Emken names team to bankroll her run vs. DiFi

Republican candidate Elizabeth Emken of Danville today rolled out the finance committee members she hopes will help her raise the wherewithal to take on U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein this year.

“Last week, Elizabeth kicked off her campaign and received very enthusiastic support from around California. Since then, we’ve put together some of the state’s most successful Republican fundraising professionals to form her finance team,” Emken campaign manager Jeff Corless said in a news release. “Feinstein’s weakness has landed her on the national target list, and Elizabeth Emken’s finance team shows we’re very serious about raising the funding needed to contest this seat. We’re looking forward to a vigorous campaign in the coming months.”

Here’s the team:

    Joanne Davis, finance director – Davis most recently served as chief financial officer for Carly Fiorina’s unsuccessful bid to unseat Barbara Boxer in 2010; earlier, she raised tens of millions for candidates and causes including President George W. Bush, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, the Republican National Committee, the California Republican Party, gubernatorial candidates Bill Simon and Richard Riordan, then-Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    Charissa Abbay-Gonzales, Los Angeles/Central Coast regional finance director – Abbay-Gonzales is president of On Target Fundraising and Events, with past clients including the gubernatorial campaigns of Meg Whitman, Richard Riordan and Bill Simon.
    Jennifer Fitzgerald, Orange County regional finance director – Fitzgerald is the founder and CEO of CL7 Communications, Inc., a political communications and fundraising firm, with past clients including Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meg Whitman’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. John Campbell, Rep. Ed Royce and the California Women’s Leadership Association.
    Jean Freelove, San Diego regional finance director – Freelove has been San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ fundraising adviser for seven years and also has raised money for various state lawmakers, city councilmembers and county supervisors. She was part of Carly Fiorina’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign and now assists the National Republican Senatorial Committee and House Speaker John Boehner with San Diego-area fundraising.

I haven’t yet seen Emken’s year-end FEC report, for which the filing deadline is later today, but her camp advises me not to expect much because she was in exploratory mode until just last week; today’s finance-team rollout marks the start of her concerted fundraising effort. Then again, Emken already had formed a campaign committee, hired staffers and launched a website at the end of November, writing on the GOP information clearinghouse FlashReport.org that she’s “running for U.S. Senate because my children need me to.”

Spokesman Tim Clark told me in November that Emken – who lost $200,000 of her own money on her June 2010 House GOP primary bid, in which she finished fourth in a field of four – isn’t planning to self-finance this campaign. Since then, Mark Standriff – formerly the state GOP’s spokesman – has taken over Emken’s campaign communications.

Emken isn’t the only Republican candidate in the race: Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez rolled out his exploratory committee just last week. Ramirez got about 2 percent of the vote in the 2010 GOP primary seeking the nomination to unseat Boxer – a very distant fourth behind Carly Fiorina, Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore – but told the Los Angeles Times last week that he now has more experience and better relationships with state party leaders.

Feinstein, 78, won a 1992 special election to the U.S. Senate and then was re-elected in 1994, 2000 and 2006, but her poll numbers portend a somewhat tougher fight in 2012. And although Feinstein’s campaign reported a $9.2 million bankroll as of Sept. 30, some or even most of that money may have been embezzled by Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, who was arrested in September by the FBI.

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Under: 2012 U.S. Senate election, campaign finance, Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate | 4 Comments »

Emken self-funded in 2010, but won’t vs. DiFi

Elizabeth Emken, the Danville Republican who yesterday announced her bid to challenge U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein next year, must be hoping this campaign will be a better financial bet than her last one.

Emken, 48, ran in the June 2010 GOP primary for what was then the 11th Congressional District seat. She came in fourth in a field of four; the nominee was David Harmer, who then lost the general election to incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Campaign finance reports show Emken had loaned her primary campaign $300,000 – 54 percent of her campaign’s $556,000 in total receipts – but only ever got back $100,000 of that. Another $408,000 went to operating expenses, and the final $48,000 – which had been contributed for use in the general election – was refunded to those who gave it. That campaign committee shut down in September 2010.

Feinstein, 78, is worth about $69 million, making her the 12th-richest member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Though her $9.2 million campaign nest egg might’ve been decimated by the embezzlement of now-disgraced campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, there’s little doubt that she can both afford to ante up a lot from her own pocket and raise a great deal from others at the drop of a hat.

“Elizabeth is not planning to self-finance this campaign. We’re focused on building a broad foundation of support,” Tim Clark, Emken’s campaign spokesman, said this afternoon.

“Elizabeth has tremendous appeal among California voters, particularly among those who want a more efficient, more effective government, and a thriving job market,” he said. “Feinstein has had 20 years to show Californians what she can do. Her votes have contributed to the inexcusable government debt and the excessive regulatory climate that is now a drag on our economy. Californians are ready for change. I have no doubt that Elizabeth will have the resources necessary to get her message out.”

Posted on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Under: 2012 U.S. Senate election, Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »