Chuck Reed, the Democrat major of San Jose who built a national reputation as a champion of pension reform, has backed Republican Pete Peterson in the race for California Secretary of State in November.
“As our chief elections officer, the Secretary of State must lead the office in a nonpartisan way,” Reed said, in a statement distributed by the Peterson campaign. “There has been too much politics inserted into our initiative process in recent years; I know Pete will defend the ballot box for all Californians regardless of party.”
Peterson has, remarkably, has led the race against State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) until recently, falling behind in recent polls. Thus far, Padilla has run a low-key campaign, his only remarkable public moment coming with the recent passage of the statewide ban on plastic bags that he had sponsored in Sacramento.
Padilla is counting on the massive Democrat advantage in voter registration and fundraising to put him over the top. Peterson, by contrast, is casting himself as a non-partisan outsider, as well as an experienced reformer. He has been active for several years in efforts to boost civic participation throughout the state in his capacity as executive director of the Davenport Institute at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy.
Reed has been forced to confront many of the same political forces that Padilla is counting on for victory. He has been opposed in his efforts to reform San Jose’s pension system, whose payouts were formerly so expensive that the city was being forced to cut back on essential public services. In Peterson, Reed has found a natural ally despite party differences. In Reed, Peterson has found a rare and timely endorsement across the aisle.
I’m very honored to earn Mayor Reed’s endorsement–a reformer who has worked tirelessly in a non-partisan way to make government more transparent and accountable to its citizens,” Peterson said in a statement.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak