Outside money is pouring into the campaign to recall first-term State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), who voted in favor of the hugely unpopular gas tax, giving Republicans a chance at breaking the Democrats’ supermarjority in the State Senate.
According to the Sacramento Bee, a significant portion of the money flowing into the recall coffers is coming from outside of the area, a majority of it from San Diego County.
The Bee reports (original links):
Of the more than $44,000 in contributions reported by the Reform California committee since early April, at least $29,000 has come from donors in San Diego County, where recall leader Carl DeMaio, a former city councilman and congressional candidate, hosts a radio show, according to a pair of filings by the committee in recent days.
Less than 10% — or roughly $2,000 — has come from within the 29th Senate District, which is centered on Chino Hills, and covers a vast suburban area at the juncture of three counties (Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino).
Between Reform California and the California Republican Party, filings show that over $400,000 has been spent to gather the more than 63,000 valid signatures required to qualify the recall.
The State GOP — which raised $19 million last year, in spite of not fielding a single serious contender for the open US Senate seat, and leaving the race between two Democrats — has raised tens of thousands of dollars in recent weeks, presumably on news of the recall.
Newman’s opponents are seeking retribution for a gas tax vote that is unpopular in the slightly Democrat-leaning state senate district. In addition, the California GOP is attempting to stage a comeback from what appears to be permanent minority status.
A recent opinion piece by longtime Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton argued that Newman is out of touch with the community he is supposed to represent:
Newman’s political problem is that, as longtime political analyst Tony Quinn notes: ‘It’s one thing for someone from San Francisco or Los Angeles to vote for a gas tax when their districts have lots of subsidized public transportation.
‘It’s another for someone whose voters must travel huge miles to work. Newman’s is a district with lots of commuters who are going to feel the tax hike. It really hits the suburbs heavily.’
Newman’s answer: “Every Californian who drives a car can see that the roads are in real need of repair. There simply is not sufficient money in the General Fund budget. You can’t do it without additional revenue. You either raise taxes or borrow the money.”
What Newman, who won his seat by less than 1%, is missing — and why the recall is gaining traction, and will likely become a proxy for the pent-up political rage on both sides — is that a many ordinary Californians who do not pay much attention to politics are paying attention to their pocketbooks.
Brown has already hosted a fundraiser to aid the embattled freshman senator.