The Corner

GOP Hope for Statewide Office . . . in California? (Yes!)

My longtime friendly correspondent Peter Stevens, a solid conservative who is an attorney and former executive aide to three Republican U.S. House members from California, writes me this note, which is worth reprinting (with his permission) in its entirety:

Greetings, Quin, from Reagan Country!

Just a quick note to inform you of a down-ballot, statewide, conservative candidate in California who may overcome the liberal tide and gain office on a platform of lower business taxes plus efficient, streamlined, and modernized government.

He is 47-year-old Pete Peterson (www.petesos.com); he heads the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership, a Pepperdine University think tank specializing in assisting local governments with transparency and technology; and he is running as a Republican for Secretary of State, which oversees elections, maintains related information databases, and registers in-state businesses.

In the California open primary system, where the top two candidates advance to the General Election regardless of party, Peterson obtained 29.7% of the June primary vote behind term-limited Democrat State Senator Alex Padilla’s 30.2%. A September statewide Field Poll of likely voters, with a sampling error of +/– 4.8%, showed Padilla at 43%, Peterson at 36%, and 21% undecided – clearly the best opportunity for the GOP statewide. Though 52% of those polled were unable to form an opinion of Peterson, this will change for the better now that nine-out-of-ten of the largest newspapers in the state have given him their editorial page endorsement – including the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times.

Peterson campaigns on reducing the annual LLC fee from an outrageous $800 (with the next highest similar fee being in the low $300 range in Delaware) to $100, making the state web site for business registration user-friendly, allocating the annual LLC fee to Secretary of State operations rather than allowing the statewide general fund to siphon it, upgrading election technology (using available federal funds that have heretofore been eschewed) in each of the 58 counties, and crafting a statewide voter database to effectuate accuracy and accountability.

Peterson has pledged to run for re-election as Secretary of State in four years if elected in November. His goal is to revamp one of the worst run departments in the state rather than initiate a political career. His opponent will make no such pledge, and openly talks about his interest in representing California in the United States Senate.

Peterson – who is bright, engaging, and down-to-earth – told supporters in Pasadena last week that he is far more qualified for and dedicated to the office than his opponent. Competence and commitment are allowing a conservative to compete in the bluest of states. The Gipper would be proud!

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