California Secretary of State Debra Bowen was the common target of four candidates for her office in the 2014 elections as they debated Wednesday at the Sacramento Press Club, the Sacramento Bee reports. Bowen pushed back, the Bee notes, in an email from her spokeswoman: “We understand that it’s part of politics to run against the incumbent even though there is no incumbent in the race,” she said on behalf of the term-limited Bowen.
It is easy to understand why Bowen has come under fire. A recent Pew study placed the state 49th out of 51 (including the District of Columbia) in election administration. And as Republican frontrunner Pete Peterson recently pointed out in an interview with Breitbart News, the state’s businesses have no idea what the Secretary of State’s office does with the $800 minimum franchise tax they are required to pay to her office.
Indicted Democrat State Sen. Leland Yee remains on the ballot, while fellow Democrat State Sen. Alex Padilla is a distant second to Peterson in recent polls.
Padilla, the Bee notes, tried to tarnish Peterson by association with GOP efforts at voter ID in other states–which Democrats claim is racist, though such laws are favored by minorities and have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Associated Press also notes that the candidates sparred over campaign finance reform. While all agreed that they want transparency, Padilla urged restrictions on fundraising by lawmakers in the last 100 days before an election, in keeping with his recent bill in the state legislature.
Recently, several Democrats have been indicted for allegedly tying fundraising to specific pieces of legislation up for debate in Sacramento.
Outside, Green Party candidate David Curtis reportedly protested his exclusion.
Photo: AP – from left: Derek Cressman (D), Alex Padilla (D), Pete Peterson (R), Dan Schnur (I)