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Donnelly issues ‘Willie Horton ad’ vs. Jerry Brown

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly on Monday released what he calls his “Willie Horton” ad against Gov. Jerry Brown, blaming the incumbent for prison realignment that set free a convict who then raped and murdered his own grandmother.

The “ad” is actually a two-and-a-half minute online video, not a paid broadcast ad. And, upon viewing, it almost seems like more of an ad for Jennifer Kerns – whom Donnelly has just promoted from communications director to campaign manager.

In the video and in his news release, Donnelly – an Assemblyman from Twin Peaks – makes hay of the fact that he’s hired one of the first Republican female campaign managers to run a gubernatorial race in a large state, and then says talk of a GOP “war on women” was “conjured up by ‘consultants’ inside the Beltway.”

“If there IS such a thing as a War on Women, Donnelly says it’s being waged by Governor Jerry Brown as he releases violent criminals onto the street to prey upon women in California, at the same time he has stripped women of their 2nd Amendment rights by signing the strictest gun control laws in the nation,” the news release says. “The video shows footage of the criminal that some say will be Governor Brown’s ‘Willie Horton’ in this race – a convicted criminal who was released from prison, only to rape and murder his own grandmother. The inmate was released after the passage of California Assembly Bill (AB) 109, Governor Brown’s so-called realignment program aimed to save money and reduce overcrowding in prisons.”

The convict at issue, Jerome DeAvila, is accused of slaying his grandmother in Stockton a few days after he was released early from San Joaquin County Jail, where he’d been serving 30 days for failing to register as a sex offender.

Willie Horton was serving a life sentence for murder in Massachusetts when he was allowed out of prison as part of a weekend furlough program, fled, and eventually committed assault, armed robbery and rape. He was featured in attack ads against 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, who had been governor of Massachusetts when Horton got out; Dukakis hadn’t started the furlough program, but had supported it.

UPDATE @ 2:07 P.M.: I asked Gov. Brown’s office to comment on this, and staffers there passed me along to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – which quickly disputed the ad’s core claim.

“There has never been one inmate released early from prison due to realignment – not one,” said CDCR Assistant Secretary Deborah Hoffman.

The 25,000-inmate reduction in the state’s prison population since realignment was put into effect is due to attrition, not early releases, CDCR contends. Parole violators now go to county jails instead of to prisons, and those jails institute their own policies to deal with their populations.

In DeAvila’s case, he was in and out of San Joaquin County’s custody about a dozen times in the year preceding his alleged murder of his grandmother, for parole violations including failing to meet with his parole officer, failure to register, use of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, and public drunkenness.

“We take absconding from parole very seriously,” Hoffman said. “Realignment provides counties with the funding and tools needed to manage offenders at the local level. Parole violators can be held in county jail for up to 180 days and we know sheriffs take their responsibility seriously and are making difficult decisions every day.”

San Joaquin County got $7.6 million in 2012 and $15.2 million in 2013 to implement realignment, but has struggled with jail overcrowding since long before realignment ever came along.

UPDATE @ 2:40 P.M.: Dan Newman, a political spokesman for Brown, just responded that he’s “rarely at a loss for words, or willing to pass on an opportunity to criticize an opponent, but… um… wow. It rivals Demon Sheep and Herman Cain’s smoking mustache guy in the genre of classic weird political videos, but left me a bit confused about who the candidate is and what state she’s running in.”

Posted on Monday, January 6th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Tim Donnelly | 8 Comments »

Tim Donnelly aids woman choking on food

Assemblyman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly rushed to the aid of a woman who was choking, performing the Heimlich maneuver to help her dislodge the obstruction and breathe easy.

The video was uploaded Thursday; Donnelly campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns wasn’t immediately available for comment on where and when it was shot.

While not ensuring this woman’s health, Donnelly was busy Thursday jabbing at Gov. Jerry Brown for California’s unemployment rate and the health insurance cancellation notices some have received as the nation’s new insurance law is implemented.

“This is a system that was pushed by the Democrat Party, supported by the Governor, and signed into law by Jerry Brown himself,” Donnelly said in a news release. “With one million Californians set to lose their health insurance, the question now is, ‘What will Jerry Brown do to protect Californians’ right to choose their healthcare plan?’”

Health insurers are discontinuing individual-market policies that don’t meet the standards set forth in the nation’s new law. Those receiving such notices are being offered new policies by their insurers, but also can go to the Covered California website to shop around for the best deal and to determine whether they’re eligible for subsidies.

UPDATE @ 5:18 P.M.: Donnelly just replied to my tweet with some info about the woman in the video.
Donnelly tweet

UPDATE @ 5:43 P.M.: Kerns says the video was shot last Friday, Nov. 8, at the California Federation of Republican Women Southern Division’s convention in Ontario, Calif., where Donnelly keynoted a dinner. She didn’t upload the video until Thursday because she wanted to get permission from the woman – Adrienna Schabert, 50, of West Sacramento.

Kerns said Schabert was at the convention staffing a sales table for Damsel in Defense, which offers tastefully decorated stun guns, pepper spray and other self-defense items and accessories.

UPDATE @ 5:59 P.M.: Schabert said she began choking while Donnelly was talking to women at the table behind her. “All I could think about was my two boys” – her youngest, 16, is disabled, and her older son is graduating high school, she said. “I was really that scared, I thought I wasn’t going to be here.”

As she stood up and gestured that she needed help, “Mr. Donnelly just grabbed me and boom, did the Heimlich maneuver, and that piece of dinner roll just popped right out,” she said. “He was so calm, his whole demeanor – he didn’t panic, he just reacted.”

Schabert said she’s considering volunteering for Donnelly’s campaign.

Posted on Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Under: Tim Donnelly | 6 Comments »

Poll: Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval rating rises

Gov. Jerry Brown has a higher approval rating than at any time since he took office in 2011, according to a new University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll.

The poll found 55 percent of registered voters approve of the job Brown is doing as governor; that’s up from 49 percent in September 2012 and 50 percent in June of this year. This latest poll shows 33 percent disapprove.

The poll of 1,503 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Republican polling firm American Viewpoint; the full sample has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats like Brown best – 78 percent approval to 11 percent disapproval – but independents like him solidly as well, 68 percent to 22 percent. Republicans disapprove heavily: 68 percent, while only 22 percent approve.

Brown has tremendous support among minority voters – 67 percent to 9 percent among black voters, 65 percent to 17 percent among Asian-American voters, and 61 percent to 20 percent among Latino voters – while the white vote is somewhat more split, 51 percent approval to 41 percent disapproval.

Even so, 49 percent of all voters surveyed said California is pretty seriously on the wrong track, while 37 percent said things in the state are going in the right direction. Unhappiness with the state’s direction is highest among Republicans (79 percent), while 59 percent of nonpartisan voters say it’s on the wrong track and only 27 percent of Democrats feel that way.

“It’s impressive that Brown’s approval has increased at a time when perception of politicians are generally at historic lows,” said Drew Lieberman, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. “The government shutdown tends to reflect on all politicians at all levels, but I think Governor Brown has built some insulation from that. This data shows Brown with a strong foundation and a solid core, but also with some work left to do.”

Indeed, the poll shows that even though Brown’s favorability continues to rise, it’s too early for voters to pronounce his re-election chances a slam dunk. Only 32 percent said they would pick him again for the job, while 37 percent said they would elect someone else.

Lots more, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 11th, 2013
Under: Abel Maldonado, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Tim Donnelly | No Comments »

Tim Donnelly: Make California sexy for business

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, officially launched his 2014 gubernatorial campaign today in Southern California, though really he’s been on the trail for a few months already.

He also posted this rather enjoyable web video today:

Best quotes:

“We need to make California the sexiest place to do business, because right now thing sexy to me in the State of California is my wife.”

Son: “I’m a way better shot than my dad, and I don’t take guns on planes.”
Donnelly: “Did you just say that?”

“I’m tired of the media being jerks.”

“I’m not white… I’m a fleshy pinkish tone.”

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, the more centrist Republican in the race so far, released his first (and somewhat less light-hearted)web video today, too:

Posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Abel Maldonado, Assembly, Tim Donnelly | 1 Comment »

Tim Donnelly’s ‘Path to Victory’ ignores obstacles

Conservative Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s gubernatorial campaign floated a memo Thursday outlining a “path to victory” in which incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown and moderate Republican challenger Abel Maldonado cancel each other out.

Tim DonnellyThe memo by Donnelly spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns insists Brown will have a tough record to run on, given that about 2 million Californians remain unemployed and the state now tops the nation in poverty.

“Meanwhile, after suffering a mass exodus of his campaign staff, liberal republican Abel Maldonado has been attempting to re-fashion himself as a pro-tax, pro-gay marriage, pro-illegal immigration supporter – positions which are largely out-of-step with the mainstream of the Republican Party,” the memo said. “Tim Donnelly, on the other hand, has clearly defined where he stands on the issues and hasn’t wavered in those positions.”

And next year will be California’s first gubernatorial election subject to the new top-two primary system, in which candidates of all parties compete in the same primary and the top two vote-getters advance to November’s general election regardless of party.

“With very little marketplace differentiation between presumed candidate Jerry Brown and Abel Maldonado, it clears a path for Tim Donnelly to claim his place among the top two finishers,” the memo said. “Why would a Republican vote for Abel Maldonado, when his positions aren’t that divergent from Jerry Brown’s?”

I’m not sure I buy that. But even if Donnelly were to finish in the top two, it’s hard to see how he could prevail in a general election against Brown or even against Maldonado.

California’s electorate as of February was 44 percent Democrats, 29 percent Republicans and 21 percent nonpartisan, so any statewide candidate needs to reach far, far beyond the GOP base in order to win. Donnelly is a staunch gun-rights advocate, abortion-choice opponent and former Minuteman anti-immigration activist, and it’s hard to imagine him forming a strong bipartisan coalition. Deep-red conservatism, while still popular in certain legislative districts, simply isn’t what the statewide electorate now embraces.

And Brown’s popularity remains relatively strong. The Field Poll in February found Brown’s approval rating at 57 percent, the highest point of his current term and the most approval a governor has seen since Arnold Schwarzenegger at the end of 2007 (though he finished his term in 2010 with a paltry 23 percent approval rating. The Public Policy Institute of California in September pegged Brown’s approval rating at 49 percent among likely voters.

California earlier this year was outpacing the nation in job creation, with payroll growth of around 2 percent; in the year from August 2012 to 2013, however, the state has added jobs at a rate of only about 1.5 percent. The state’s unemployment rate in August was 8.9 percent, compared to 7.3 percent nationwide.

Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Abel Maldonado, Jerry Brown, Tim Donnelly | No Comments »