Damon Dunn named Hoover Institution fellow

Damon DunnDamon Dunn, the pro football player turned businessman who was last year’s Republican nominee for secretary of state, has been named a visiting fellow in the Hoover Institution, the internationally renowned think tank at Stanford University.

Dunn, 34, of Irvine, will hold an appointment through Aug. 31, 2012. Hoover Institution fellows take part in “assembling and disseminating ideas directed at positive policy formation in economic, political, and social changes in societies, at home and abroad,” Dunn’s news release said; a Hoover Institution spokesperson confirmed his appointment.

“I am proud and honored to be named a visiting fellow in the Hoover Institution at Stanford,” Dunn said in his release. “I look forward to working with pre-eminent leaders in public policy as we help the Golden State regain some of its luster.”


Dunn leads Bowen in fundraising for Sec’y of State

Campaign finance reports are due today, and incumbent Secretary of State Debra Bowen filed her report saying she raised more than $60,000 and spent more than $12,600 from May 23 through June 30, leaving her with more than $113,000 cash on hand at mid-year. She’s lagging behind Republican nominee for Secretary of State Damon Dunn, a former NFL player turned businessman, who reported raising more than $126,500 and spending more than $81,000 during this period, leaving him with cash on hand of almost $176,600.

In other statewide races, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s re-election committee reported having a mammoth $8.52 million cash on hand as of June 30, even after having spent more than a million in the first half of this year (including almost $258,000 from May 23 through June 30); that spending includes the more than $676,000 his committee has given to his wife’s campaign as she seeks a seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, Republican nominee for state Treasurer Mimi Walters, the state Senator from Laguna Niguel, reported raising $36,455 and spending $26,505.42 from May 23 through June 30, leaving her with cash on hand of almost $350,000.

Incumbent state Controller John Chiang’s re-election campaign reported raising $125,000 and spending more than $31,000 from May 23 to June 30, leaving almost $1.28 million cash on hand at midyear. Republican state Controller nominee Tony Strickland, the state Senator from Moorpark, reported raising $173,000 and spending almost $38,000 during this period, leaving him with almost $309,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

Still awaiting full readouts on the races for attorney general, lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner…


Upcoming political events: Pelosi, Newsom, Dunn

Nancy Pelosi Fresh from her win on health-care reform, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, will address the Commonwealth Club of California at noon on Tuesday, April 6 in the Peacock Court of the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, at 1 Nob Hill in San Francisco. She’s expected to explain the financial ramifications of the new law and describe how it will affect the future of American health care. Tickets are available online at a cost of $20 for club members, $35 for non-members and $7 for students with valid ID, or for premium seating in the first few rows, $45 for members and $65 for non-members.

San Francisco Mayor and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom will chat with Commonwealth Club of California President & CEO Gloria Duffy at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 7 in the club’s offices on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco. Tickets are available online at a cost of $15 for club members and $25 for non-members, or for premium seating in the first few rows, $30 for members and $45 for non-members. Newsom today announced his endorsement by the California Teachers Association; on Friday he’d announced endorsements from Bay Area Assemblymembers Mary Hayashi, Jerry Hill, Jared Huffman, Ira Ruskin and Sandré Swanson.

Arthur RosenfeldRenowned physicist and energy efficiency expert Arthur Rosenfeld will speak on efficiency and conservation at the Lamorinda Democratic Club’s meeting on at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in the Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way. Rosenfeld began his physics career at Cal and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the 1950s and chose to focus on energy conservation after the 1973 Arab oil embargo. In 1975 he founded the Center for Building Science for development of energy-efficiency standards and technologies; from 1994 to 1999 he served as Senior Adviser for the U. S. Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and now, after 10 years on the California Energy Commission, he’s returning to the Berkeley Lab to continue working on energy efficiency projects. “The Rosenfeld” was recently proposed as the name for “electricity savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours per year,” the amount needed to replace the annual generation of a 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant. Tickets to this event cost $5 per person but are free for students with valid ID.

Damon DunnThe Alameda County Republican Party will host a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, with GOP Secretary of State candidate Damon Dunn as the guest of honor from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at a home in Piedmont; tickets cost $50, and reservations and directions are available by calling 510-665-7886. All Republican candidates for governor, state and local offices have been invited; California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and Bay Area Regional Vice Chairman Morgan Kelley will attend.

(UPDATE @ 4:13 P.M. TUESDAY: The Alameda County GOP’s Jeff Wald tells me tickets for the event with Dunn are available online.)

The Northern California American Political Items Collectors show returns to Berkeley from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 10 in the Finnish Brotherhood Hall at 1970 Chestnut St. Thousands of new and vintage political buttons, posters and ephemera will be on sale from a variety of dealers; free appraisals are available. Admission costs $3, but is free for children or students with valid ID.


A few upcoming political events

House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Fremont, who’s stuck in Washington for negotiations on the health-care reform legislation, has replaced his monthly town-hall meetings scheduled for Saturday with a telephone town hall at noon Saturday instead. The call-in number is 1-800-475-8427, and the passcode is “Stark;” constituents can listen to brief comments from Stark and then get in a queue to ask their questions.

Republican candidate for Secretary of State Damon Dunn will be give the Martin Luther King Jr. Day sermon at San Mateo’s Pilgrim Baptist Church, at 217 N. Grant St., at 11 a.m. this Sunday, Jan. 17. Dunn — a former NFL player turned real-estate businessman from Irvine — remains unopposed in the GOP primary; he’s challenging Democratic incumbent Debra Bowen.

Cal public policy professor Robert Reich, a former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Obama transition advisor, will share his take on the 2010 economic outlook for California, the United States and the rest of the world at the Commonwealth Club of California’s annual installment of the Walter E. Hoadley Economic Forecast on Friday, Jan. 22 in the Grand Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St. in San Francisco; lunch starts at 11:45 a.m., the program at 12:30 p.m. This is open only to club members, who can bring one paying nonmember guest; tickets (including lunch) are available online at a cost of $65 for members and $80 for nonmembers.

Eliot SpitzerDisgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer – once known as the “Sheriff of Wall Street” for his pursuit of white-collar crime and securities fraud during his time as a state prosecutor and Attorney General, before his gubernatorial downfall in a prostitution scandal – will speak on banking-industry reform at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the Commonwealth Club of California’s offices on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco. Tickets are available online at a cost of $12 for club members, $18 for nonmembers and $7 for students with valid ID.

The San Ramon Valley Republican Women will host a forum for the six GOP primary candidates competing in the 11th Congressional District, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Dr. in Danville. It’ll be moderated by former Bush Administration Labor Department official, 2008 15th Assembly District primary candidate and Lincoln Club of Northern California Vice President Judy Lloyd. Tickets cost $23; reservations are available until Jan. 22 by contacting Leta Rockwell at 925-838-2908 or rockwellsnuggery@comcast.net.

Also, Lloyd says she’s co-hosting a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Thursday, Jan. 28 in San Francisco, at which former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be among the honored guests… more details on that as I get ‘em…


Campaign finance: Insurance, self-funding, Jerry

Three days before Californians for Fair Auto Insurance Rates announced it had collected and was submitting more than enough petition signatures to put the “Continuous Coverage Auto Insurance Discount Act” on next November’s ballot, insurance giant Mercury General Corp. – the measure’s sole benefactor – put another $1 million into it Friday, bringing its total ante so far to $3.5 million. Proponents claim the measure would make “continuous coverage discounts” portable so motorists can change insurance companies without losing their accrued time, something most other states already allow. Opponents say the measure would let insurers penalize people who’ve missed just one payment, or who decided not to drive for a time and let their insurance lapse during that period.

Former NFL player turned Southern California businessman Damon Dunn on Monday put $19,932.11 into his own campaign for Secretary of State. He’s the only declared Republican candidate so far, itching to take on incumbent Democrat Debra Bowen next November.

Down south, former Assemblyman Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, last week self-funded his campaign for the 40th Senate District seat to the tune of $100,000. He’s opposed in next June’s Democratic primary by current Assemblywoman Mary Salas, D-Chula Vista, for the seat from which state Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, will be term-limited out at next year’s end.

And on the gubernatorial front, the past week’s fundraising was practically all Jerry, all the time, heavy with corporate and casino contributions. Among the bigger-ticket offerings:

    $10,000 from Newport Equity Partners LLC of Las Vegas
    $10,000 from Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens
    $10,000 from Macy’s Corporate Services in Cincinnati
    $10,000 from KB Home in Los Angeles

A sit-down with Damon Dunn

I met with Damon Dunn, the professional athlete-turned-businessman-turned Republican candidate for Secretary of State, this morning at Tully’s Coffee in downtown Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza — but caffeine is the last thing he needed.

Damon DunnDunn, 33, is a live wire, a mile-a-minute speaker drawing on his energy as a former NFL player and perhaps on the cadences of his experience as an ordained Baptist minister to explain why he’s the right choice to be California’s chief elections officer despite not only never having held an elected position before, but also never having voted in an election until this May.

In short, he said the election should be just as much about life experience, authenticity and leadership as about one’s history in office and the voting booth.

Dunn said he wants the job in part because his status as a “recovering non-voter” with a “unique posture and demographic” gives him an edge in reaching out to people – especially minorities – and convincing them to register and vote.

He also said the Secretary of State – and all statewide elected officials – should take a more activist role in improving California’s business climate in furtherance of job creation he said. As custodian of corporate records, the Secretary of State is in a particularly effective position to analyze data and make recommendations to the Legislature on tweaking tax and regulatory policy to recruit and retain business. “If you want to get more out of that office … I can do that.”

Faith is a big part of his life and he describes himself as conservative on social issues, but he said he’ll not make hot-button issues such as abortion and gay marriage a part of his campaign. Too many people on both sides of the aisle have done so rather than making strong cases for how they’ll do the jobs they seek, he said.

For now he’s the only Republican who has declared candidacy for this office, but if his refusal to stump on social issues causes problems for him with parts of the GOP’s base and a struggle in the primary election, so be it, Dunn said.

“If people don’t want leadership, if they want ideologues, then that’s OK … but I’m a prinicipled guy,” he said. “I’m going to continue to run a solutions-oriented campaign.”

More after the jump…
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