Occupation on ballot makes a difference with voters

Updated April 2, 12:05pm: Assemblywoman Beth Gaines may call herself a small business owner on the ballot per Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny’s ruling today.

By Jim Sanders, Sacramento Bee

What are the most high-stakes, second-guessed, agonized-over words since “I do?”

For California politicians, it’s the three-word description that voters will read in the polling booth before making up their minds.

“It’s valuable real estate in a campaign,” said Paul Mitchell, a Democratic strategist.

Tension over ballot titles played out last week in Sacramento when lawsuits were filed challenging the designations of Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, and San Joaquin County congressional candidate Jose Hernandez, a Democrat.

Hernandez, who rode in the shuttle Discovery three years ago, won use of “astronaut/scientist/engineer.” Although Hernandez left NASA in January 2011, a judge said it was not misleading to voters.

Gaines’ use of “small business owner” will be decided today. Her opponent thinks it doesn’t reflect the state lawmaker’s primary occupation.

The stakes are high. In a fast-paced society where not all Californians are familiar with political candidates, voters may side with the person whose occupation impresses them most – or offends them least.

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Comments (3)
  1. Tahoeadvocate says - Posted: April 2, 2012

    Anyone running for a 2nd or higher term should be required to list their occupation as “career politician”.

  2. TheTruth says - Posted: April 2, 2012

    Beth Gaines and her husband Ted should both list their occupations as “Scammer” or “Grifter”. Remember Ted is the one who easily won both the State Assembly and Senate elections two years ago. He should not have run for Assembly, as it was his intention to take the Senate job, and he knew in this district he would easily win both. However, if he had run for only the Senate, his wife would have had to run for the Assembly on the same ballot. By running for both, he made it easier for his wife to later get his assembly seat. It forestalled accusations of nepotism, and it freed him to later transfer campaign funds to his wife and and lean on his supporters to give money to her.

    Their strategy cost the State of California the expense of two special elections – about one million dollars – that it took for her to get her seat. Just so the Gaineses could collect two paychecks from the State.

    The Gaines believe that the state is spending too much money supporting California’s poor and working poor. They apparently believe that the state can afford an extra million dollars for to pay for their game.

    Let’s vote both scammers out of office.

  3. Alex Campbell says - Posted: April 3, 2012

    The Truth

    Wow, Quite a story, it is obvious that you have the facts.
    Did Ted Gains ever reside SLT