Special election one week away
June 15, 2010
The special election to fill the state Senate seat of Abel Maldonado is now one week away and the environment, thanks to the British Petroleum oil spill, is dominating the race between Democrat John Laird and Republican Sam Blakeslee [Mercury News]
According to financial statements, Laird has raised $930,000, much of it from the Democratic Party and labor unions, while Blakeslee has raised $637,000, with contributions from oil, insurance and other corporations.
Blakeslee has also benefitted from $771,000 spent on his behalf by organizations funded by Chevron, British Petroleum, Shell and Exxon, along with pharmaceutical, chemical and other industrial firms.
Democrats hold a 41 percent to 35 percent edge of Republicans in the Senate district, which covers five counties from Santa Maria to San Jose. Political analysts suggest that a low turnout election favors Republicans, so both sides are mounting massive get-out-the vote drives.
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups have endorsed Laird, the former mayor of Santa Cruz, saying that he has earned 100 out of 100 on their legislative score cards. Blakeslee, on the other hand, has a score of 25.
Democrats are trying to paint Blakeslee as a former oil executive who openly supported offshore oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara. Blakeslee defends his position by noting that several environmental also endorsed that specific project.
For his part, Blakeslee is accusing Laird of being too willing to raise taxes at a time when spending needs to be curtailed ro solve the budget crisis.